Saturday, March 25, 2023

Wenger on cryotherapy’s ‘smoke and mirrors’

Arsene Wenger has questioned some of the developments in injury treatment and prevention, suggesting that more impartial evidence is required to see if it’s truly effective.

He says that a muscle tear still takes the same amount of time to heal – unless a player is given some extra help via injections, or more under-the-counter methods that certain clubs are suspected to employ.

With a hectic week coming up, the Arsenal manager will have to manage his squad carefully between games, but sounds unconvinced about some of the latest technologies, warning that the evidence of their efficacy is often linked to the people who have a vested interest in them.

“The players will have warm-downs, they have all that, everybody does nowadays,” he said.

“Treatment with the physios, massage, cryotherapy – all the stuff where nobody knows whether it is efficient or not.

“No one knows because you have a lot of science. If you read the science, some have proved it works and some have proved it doesn’t work. The ones that prove it works are usually sponsored by the guys who say that it does.

“Is it smoke and mirrors? Yes. Because at the end of the day, since I’ve been in the job, we have improved a lot the medical treatment. A lot. But, still, if you have a muscle problem, it takes 21 days. It took 21 days 30 years ago.

“We have to respect nature and nobody could make miracles unless they doped the players sometimes. That means they inject players for a big game and the guy plays with an injury, with anti-pain.”

Nevertheless, the manager’s scepticism has not prevented the club from investing, and earlier in the summer they installed a new cryotherapy chamber at the training ground that can fit up to 8 players at a time who can undergo treatments at temperatures as low as -160°C for durations of between 3 and 5 minutes.

It may well be a case that new treatments don’t make muscles heal any more quickly, but instead lessen the frequency of those kind of injuries. Which is a positive thing, especially at a club with an injury record like Arsenal’s.

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Big sheezy

Hell with all the injuries we have, why dont we have a voodoo priest on staff? Couldn’t hurt.


And an exorcist…just in case we have an infestation by Sp#ds spirits. ..


Yeah, and a shaman, who makes magic mushroom ceremonies for the players after we get embarrassing losses!


Just ask Asterix for his magic potion….


We already have a lasagne-maker for “special orders”

Dale Cooper

From the little I’ve read into cryotherapy, it’s no different from having ice baths, but I guess it’s a lot more convenient if you can afford it.


It’s about recovery from muscle fatigue, nothing at all to do with recovery from muscle tears and strains… That’s why it’s had no impact on injury recovery time, I have to assume Wenger knows this however.


I’ve long thought the mind and the body are linked.
If the mind is stressed? then the body stresses.
The secret is to di stress the mind to take the strain off the body.
I have no scientific proof of this…
And I’m more than likely just a crazy person ?


From what you state, then I would assume that Arsene will have broken every accountable bone in his body considering the stress he is under every minute of the day.

Gunner girl

I don’t understand why he would undermine treatments that the club have greatly invested in and that his players use. It was only the other day that Bellerin was saying how amazing the cryotherapy chambers are and how modern sports science/physio is helping the players maintain a high level of fitness. For Wenger to undermine this is irresponsible imo. Mental approach has a lot to do with recovery from injuries and these sort of statements could have a negative impact on the players. Obviously I’m overreacting but Wenger has said a few things lately in public that I question. Like… Read more »


When did Wenger say that? About PSG I mean…


I didn’t read it that way at all. In fact, I had to read between the lines to understand that he is hinting a good amount of doping involved and they are aided by the corporate sponsors. Arsene says the injury takes 30 days to heal if its related to muscle this year, the same when compared to 20 years ago. But don’t be surprised to see one POGBA being used earlier than expected when things don’t click on the red side of Manchester. Or am I the only one reading it with a potential example in mind. Gosh, these… Read more »

A different George

A couple of strikers have come back from muscle injuries much quicker than expected in recent years. Vardy and Harry Kane. I think only once each, so doesn’t prove anything. But, if it keeps happening in a particular club, you would have to wonder. (In fairness, Dembele’s recurring problems–just like an Arsenal player–are evidence to the contrary.)

Bould\'s Eyeliner

Doesn’t prove anything as some people are just more robust and more fragile–however, maybe he’s pointing out that it’s telling that most star players make it out quicker? ‘Statistically relevant’ would be my understanding of the perspective of an economics major.

Faisal Narrage

This is the problem sometimes when Wenger speaks.
Does who don’t know, take his words as gospel and run with it. The idea that if someone heals quickly is purely due to doping can be applied to Giroud.

Wenger also once called Creatine Monohydrate a steroid. Let’s not take everything he says as gospel truth, shall we?

Crash Fistfight

It was probably a decision given the green light by Gazidis.

Crash Fistfight

Sorry, I forgot we got a spawny draw against Chelsea. Arsene’s a genius who’s going to win us the league now.


You know Wenger, he likes to talk.


Arsene’s comment that it is same as 30yrs ago just doesn’t make sense. it is similar to how he has this reality distortion around himself when he does not like or agree with something same as Director of football role. he is very much stuck in last century.

Don Cazorleone

Guy speaks absolute truth in line with everything we know about scientific literature.
People disagree because it’s Wenger.

Faisal Narrage

What scientific literature?

Bould\'s Eyeliner “Cryotherapy: Bottom Line Research is still emerging about this type of cold therapy. While the benefits of cold therapy and cold thermogenesis are well-supported, we don’t seem to know yet how WBC compares or if it has the same long-term benefits, though the anecdotal evidence and initial studies are promising. Like most things in life, WBC carries risks if done incorrectly, but may have many benefits if done correctly.” Some research linked at the bottom of the CASUAL article. Which casually puts out the accurate judgment that while it seems worth investing in cryotherapy, there is no hard, bottom… Read more »

Bould\'s Eyeliner


Smoke and Mirrors

Ex-Priest Tobin

He really is set in his ways. Definitely well past it and time to be moved on.

A different George

Read the comments! Isn’t it obvious his statement was not about distrust of new methods? He was strongly implying that some teams use illicit means so players can “heal” faster.


You need to read this article again

Me So Hornsey

I think this is another indirect dig at other clubs he suspects have been doping their players.

He made a similar low-key comment directed at Leicester the season they won the league.


Yup, precisely what I thought. And he may be spot on since I trust him on this aspect as he has been for a long while in football.

But we gotta live with the reality similar to the reality of financial doping by City United and Chelsea.
Tackle it with signing lesser injury prone players will be a start.


We have always had top of the range facilities. So after seeing countless muscle injuries to his own players, and those facilities having marginal effects on shortening injury layoffs, it is only natural to question the ethics of others. If teams are able to cheat financially, with transfers dealings, and on the pitch in front of cameras, then why wouldn’t the medical teams?

It is all a result of lack of proper regulation from the top. The guys at the top are making so much money they are “forgetting” to regulate the sport.

Faisal Narrage

But this is once again Wenger pointing blame at everyone else except himself. As a sports scientist (or ex sports scientist), I can tell you the primary factor for muscular non-contact injuries is generally training load and volume. One of Wenger’s biggest criticisms has been that he rarely rotates his players, and thus they end up with injuries. It’s no coincidences that the likes of Ramsey, Jack, Vermalean, Kos and Fabregas particular injuries all started after a heavy season of prolonged play without rotation (cept Rambo, but his injuries generally follow a prolonged period of use) the season prior? Any… Read more »


Rarely rotates?

If he rotates which he has and we drop points (which we’ve done), the same old boring critics will go on about how he needs to play a settled team and how he doesn’t know his best 11 (arguably true at some times…particularly recently)

If he settles on a team selection that has clicked into gear and decides not to mess with it so they can build up some familiarity, he is accused of not rotating enough.

Utter nonsense.


Mourinho has to be one of the coaches who rotates his team the least, yet he doesn’t seem to suffer as much with player’s injuries.

Modern footballers play an average of 40+ games a year, the very top ones play 60 or more.

Training, balanced diet and lifestyle have more of an input i think.


What other non-contact muscular injuries are there if it isn’t in heavy training and volume?


We need robots.

David Hillier\'s luggage

I’m sure the bigger headline will come from this quote: “We have to respect nature and nobody could make miracles unless they doped the players sometimes.”

Crash Fistfight

I bet Arsene thinks pasteurised milk is a miracle.


For a club with a terrible record of muscle injuries you’d think that the manager would be open to new ideas which might improve things. But, of course, Wenger knows far more than anybody else.

I suppose this happens when you get very old.


err..he’s tried new methodology most recently with this Shad Forsythe fellow from America and their new fangled ways.


Placebos have been shown consistently to be effective under some circumstances, so perhaps here too?


Cold shock proteins.

Chris Kiwomya

I though we’d had a cryotherapy chamber for year, where else is Wenger keeping the transfer kitty!

Crash Fistfight

You’re thinking of Calum Chambers (simple mistake to make). Cryotherapy is his younger brother. Plays centre back but could he potentially play DM.

Faisal Narrage

“That means they inject players for a big game and the guy plays with an injury, with anti-pain.”

You mean like how we topped up Koscielny with Cortisol injections to get him through his Achilles tendonysis when you decided to enter the season with just 3 CBs, forcing us to overplay him and is now a direct connection to his current chronic Achilles issue?


A bit of experience and wisdom with age is no bad thing. Even if you don’t agree it challenges the consensus to demonstrate it’s validity.

nick a

Cryotherapy is mainly used to treat high levels of inflammation quickly. It’s not used to repair torn muscles. I assume the players near or in the “red zone” could benefit from this therapy. Wenger saying the science isn’t proven is kind of like saying using ice packs to treat a swollen muscle isn’t proven….

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