Actor Daniel Craig reportedly went for it to get in shape to play James Bond in the 2012 movie Skyfall. It is also believed to be the secret to Demi Moore's youthful skin.
An aesthetic body treatment that freezes your skin to 0 deg C is now available here. It claims to make skin look younger and helps with sports recovery.
But doctors in Singapore pooh-pooh the treatment, saying there is not enough science behind it. While they say it is probably safe, they warn of possible skin damage if safety precautions are not taken.
The treatment, called whole body cryotherapy, has been available here since last October. It is offered at Absolute Zero run by the Only Group of companies, and two aesthetics centres it owns.
The treatment involves cooling one's skin to 0 deg C for two to three minutes by blasting the skin with icy air (up to -190 deg C) in a "cryochamber".
It is administered by non-medical staff and a single session, which lasts up to three minutes, costs $188.
Mr Adren How, 39, chief executive of the Only Group, says it helps collagen production, weight loss, muscle and joint repairs and improves one's mood.
The aesthetics group, which was set up in 2005, went into whole body cryotherapy because it wanted to bring in a treatment catering to sports recovery as well as aesthetics and wellness.
Body cryotherapy treatment originates from Japan. In 1978, Dr T. Yamauchi, a rheumatologist in Japan, started using short-duration freezing treatments on his rheumatoid arthritis patients for pain management.
At least one spa here, The Porcelain Face Spa, started offering cryotherapy facials last year. The treatment consists of chilling the skin surface to -10 deg C using a cryoprobe, supposedly to restore firmness and radiance to fatigued skin.
But five doctors told Life! there is not enough scientific research to prove freezing the skin has any benefits.
Dr Lynn Chiam, 37, a dermatologist at the Children and Adult Skin Hair Laser Clinic at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, says some studies from Italy claim whole body cryotherapy helps one recover from musculoskeletal injuries, but the other benefits are not fully established.
Dr Aaron Pang, 33, director of the Sainte Chapelle Medical And Dental Aesthetic Clinic at Marina Square, feels that applying an ice-pack or immersing part of the body in cold water may offer similar benefit towards sports recovery.