Cryotherapy is the local or general use of low temperatures in medical therapy. The term “cryotherapy” comes from the Greek cryo meaning cold, and therapy meaning treatment. Cryotherapy has been used as early as the seventeenth century.
In whole body cryotherapy the body is exposed to ultra-low temperatures (-200 to -240 F). The client is placed in a cryogenic sauna/chamber for a short duration of 1.5-3 minutes which lowers the client’s skin surface temperature significantly and stimulates receptors. Whole body cryotherapy was first utilized in Japan in 1978 to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Studies conducted over the last two decades in Europe have established it as a powerful treatment for inflammatory disorders and injuries.
Professional athletes have discovered whole body cryotherapy as a powerful treatment to decrease recovery time and increase athletic performance. Although whole body cryotherapy originated in Japan, it was a group of Polish scientists who took the idea and made it the physical therapy it is today. The Olympic rehabilitation center in Spala, Poland opened in May 2000 and has been used as a training and injury rehabilitation center for many athletes.
Whole body CryoTherapy exposes a person’s skin to temperatures of -150 to -170 degrees Celsius (-238 to -274 degrees Fahrenheit) for a short time (3 minutes or less). At this extreme temperature, the body activates several mechanisms that have significant long-term benefits, including:
The outer skin is briefly ‘frozen’, activating increased production of collagen in deeper layers of the skin. The skin regains elasticity and becomes smoother and even-toned, significantly improving conditions such as cellulite and skin aging. Skin vessels and capillaries undergo severe vasoconstriction (to keep the core temperature from dropping), followed by vasodilation after the procedure. Toxins and other stored deposits are flushed out of the layers of the skin and blood perfusion is improved after several treatments. The anti-inflammatory properties of cryotherapy are also used to treat chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis and dermatitis.
The extreme cold exposure causes the body to turn up its metabolic rate in order to produce heat. This effect lasts for 5-8 hours after the procedure, causing the body to ‘burn’ 500-800 Kcal over the hours following the procedure. After several procedures, the increase in metabolic rate tends to last longer between treatments. Another ‘survival reaction’ to the extreme temperatures is the release of endorphins (hormones) that have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, and improve mood disorders. Cryotherapy has been studied for the successful treatment of medication resistant depression disorders. Patients also tend to experience a noticeable increase in libido, leading to the use of crytherapy for ED and other sexual disorders.
The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of cryotherapy can drastically improve joint disorders such as rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Athletes use whole body cryotherapy to recover from injuries and soreness and improve their performance.
Cryotherapy can improve the function of the immune system and has been known to decrease stress levels.
Check out this video below from the Dr. Oz Show to get an idea of Cryotherapy and its benefits. Also, look over the list of benefits below.
Benefits of Cryotherapy
An essential part of any training program, CryoTherapy speeds up your body’s natural healing process, increases recovery and performance.
Whether training as a professional, collegiate, recreational or high school athlete or just an active individual who prioritizes taking physical care of your body, recovery is an important part of training. Phases of increasing your body’s ability to do work and to perform include overload, adaptation and recovery.
Analgesic properties help manage musculoskeletal pain.
The body’s response to CryoTherapy includes production of endorphins and a decreased sense of pain. An effective and completely natural and non-invasive pain therapy, CryoTherapy can be customized to your needs, your goals and your pain issues.
Anti-inflammatory properties decrease soreness in a post-workout state as well as provide pain relief.
Inflammation is cell and tissue response to insult and injury. Chemical signals released by damaged cells result in dilation of blood vessels, swelling, accumulation of white blood cells and warming of tissue. CryoTherapy constricts the blood vessels and also elicits the ‘fight or flight’ response that not only decreases inflammation but also affects your body’s perception of symptomatic pain.
Recommended pre-workout for increased energy, vitality and a boosted metabolic rate.
Because CryoTherapy increases metabolism, promotes energy and an overall feeling of health and vitality, this recovery therapy is not limited to post-stress implementation. CryoTherapy before a workout or a race/game can increase performance as well as recovery afterwards.
BEAUTY + ANTI-AGING
Improves skin tone and smoothness, increases skin elasticity, effective treatment of cellulite.
The skin is briefly chilled and reacts with an increased production of collagen. Increased elasticity and a slowing down of peripheral metabolism and cell-breakdown complement CryoTherapy’s anti-aging benefits.
ENERGY + MOOD
Enhances mood and creates more energy.
The body’s “feel-good” hormones are produced as part of the response to hyper cool temperatures in CryoTherapy. A euphoric feeling in the hours after the procedure are not uncommon and have helped many with symptoms of depression and other mood disorders.
Extreme cold temperatures cause the body to turn up its metabolic rate in order to produce heat, burning more calories following the procedure.
The body will passively burn, on average, between 500-800kcal in the hours following the CryoTherapy procedure. This can be a powerful training partner in weight-loss efforts as well as goal maintenance.
Improves function of the immune system and decreases stress.
When coupled with an active lifestyle and sound nutrition, CryoTherapy enhances immunity to common illness and susceptibility to viruses by promoting a strength and resistance. CryoTherapy decreases stress in the physical as well as mental state.
(source: Cryohealthcare, LLC)