What Is Cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy is essentially the process of using cold temperatures for their health benefits. This form of therapy has been used in different ways since the 1700s to decrease pain and muscle spasms, improve recovery, slow cell aging and improve health.

 

Athletes have been soaking in cold tubs and ice baths for decades, but recent innovation now allows for whole body cryotherapy (WBC) in a specialized chamber using liquid nitrogen and is the form most often referred to in modern references to Cryotherapy.

 

This type of cold therapy was invented in the 1970s in Japan, and has only come to the US and other countries in the last decade. It has gained widespread popularity with athletes and those with certain chronic illnesses.

Faster Recovery from Exercise

This claim seems to be well supported, both anecdotally and in studies. Athletes have known for hundreds of years that ice seems to help speed recovery and WBC is a fast way to get the benefits of cold to the entire body.

 

Some studies show that WBC is effective against delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in athletes.

 

Many athletes and celebrities from Kobe Bryant, to Jessica Alba and even basketball players from the Dallas Mavericks claim to have noticed benefits from cryotherapy, and the rapidly growing popularity of these “Cold Saunas” indicates that many others might notice the same results. 

WHOLE BODY CRYOTHERAPY

After a session of cryotherapy, it takes a lot of energy to reheat the body. During a three-minute treatment, you burn approximately 500 to 800 calories. The procedure releases endorphins into the bloodstream, triggering mood increase after a session. The endorphins interact with pain receptors, reducing pain perception. Cortisol levels are reduced, and you feel happier! Routine cryotherapy treatments can help rejuvenate the collagen matrix, improving skin’s resilience and reducing the appearance of cellulite and fatty deposits at the skin’s surface. When done routinely, cryotherapy sessions can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and diminish cellulite completely. The result is healthier skin with a more youthful appearance. Cryotherapy reduces inflammation throughout the body, so that healing can occur in more than one area at a time. New research has revealed that it may also be the missing link to treating chronic inflammation! Many athletes use cryotherapy because the treatment can help them recover from their activity. Since joint and muscle strength is increased, athletes can train sooner.

LOCALIZED CRYOTHERAPY

In a five to ten-minute session of Localized Cryotherapy a pressurized stream of nitrogen vapor is directed onto the affected body part creating a powerful icing response. A Localized Cryotherapy session lasting only 5 to 10 minutes has benefits that exceed hours of traditional icing. The blood vessels constrict, immediately decreasing inflammation and swelling in the affected area by rapidly flushing the tissue of fluid and waste.   As the body begins to warm, the area is flooded with regenerative blood flow. This allows for a greater range of motion in the targeted area as well. Localized cryotherapy can be applied directly to areas of the shingles rash in order to reduce pain and inflammation in the affected area.  Localized cryotherapy can also be used to reduce the appearance of scars, acne, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. Almost any part of the body can be treated externally with the localized cryotherapy treatment. Some of the most common treated areas include the neck, upper back, lower back, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, ankle and heel for plantar fasciitis. Localized Cryotherapy is frequently paired with Whole Body Cryotherapy to relieve problem areas from both the “outside-in” as well as the “inside-out.”