Although cryotherapy has been around for quite a while, it has only recently reached mainstream attention. This is because celebrities have started to extol its virtues, especially sports stars who say that it helps to boost their recovery time after exercise. So, what is cryotherapy? Who can it help and what does it involve?
What is Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy has been growing as a trend in wellness centers and spas thanks to its popularity with celebrities and athletes. Those who have this therapy enjoy faster recovery times after working out and believe that the sub-zero temperatures can relieve asthma, anxiety and arthritis, not to mention make the skin look more youthful.
Cryotherapy sessions can take several forms. The most common involves standing in a whole-body cryo-chamber. This chamber is a can-like enclosure with an open top, so the user’s head always remains outside. Meanwhile, the rest of the body is exposed to sub-zero temperatures.
When having WBC (whole body cryotherapy), you wear gloves, socks and underwear to avoid your extremities developing frostbite. Each session only lasts a couple of minutes and although it may feel a little strange and uncomfortable, it isn’t painful or unpleasant. There are also targeted cryotherapy treatments that involve only exposing one part of the body to sub-zero temperatures. This is useful for relieving pain in a specific area.
The idea behind cryotherapy is to lower the body temperature to such an extent that the “fight or flight” mode is initiated. This causes the body to send the blood from the extremities to the heart where it is rapidly oxygenated and pumped full of nutrients. On leaving the chamber, the freshly oxygenated blood is pumped outwards back around the body again to improve recovery and healing.
What are the Benefits of Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy is believed to offer a host of physical and mental benefits. These include:
Reduction of migraine symptoms – cryotherapy is believed to treat migraines since it numbs and cools the nerves around the neck, cooling down the blood which passes through the intracranial vessels.
Reduced nerve irritation – cryotherapy is used by athletes to numb pain from irritated nerves. It is useful in treating neuromas, acute injuries, pinched nerves or chronic pain.
Treats mood disorders – when the whole body is subjected to sub-zero temperatures there is a physiological hormonal response in the body which includes the release of noradrenaline, endorphins and adrenaline. This can help those who experience depression and anxiety to experience a better mood.
Reduced arthritic pain – people suffering from arthritis can experience less pain when having either whole body or localized cryotherapy.
Treats skin problems – of you suffer from skin conditions like atopic dermatitis, you may find that cryotherapy can help to relieve dryness and itching. Cryotherapy reduces inflammation while also improving the levels of antioxidants in the blood which helps to improve the condition of the skin. For the same reason, it’s also helpful in relieving cases of acne.
Boosted weight loss – obesity is a major problem in the world today however cryotherapy has been found to have some weight-loss benefits since it speeds up the metabolism for several hours following treatment. This means that those who have WBC can effectively burn more calories after having a treatment session.
These are just some of the benefits that have been reported after having cryotherapy. As you can see, there are many reasons why you might want to consider trying it out for yourself to see what advantages it can bring you for your health and wellness.