These days, many high profile athletes such as LeBron James, Tom Brady, Bryce Harper, and Rafael Nadal have all found cryotherapy to be a crucial piece of their recovery process, using cryotherapy chambers on a regular basis to assist in overall performance, recovery, reduced injuries, increased energy, and improved sleep.
What is cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy involves exposing the body to extremely cold temperatures of up to -200 degrees Celsius inside an enclosed chamber. When used properly, cryotherapy has proven to effectively reduce pain and inflammation, enhance blood circulation, increase range of motion, improve athletic performance, and shorten recovery time. It is recommended that sessions be repeated multiple times a week over a number of weeks to work effectively.
Reduce pain and recovery time
In 2017, the International Journal of Sports Medicine released an article on whole-body cryotherapy as a recovery technique after exercise. The review included results from 16 eligible articles and studies. Overall, the academic review found that whole-body cryotherapy helped reduce muscle pain in 80 percent of the studies and found that recovery of athletic capacity and performance improved in 71 percent of the controlled exercise studies.
Whole-body cryotherapy helps the body recover after intense workouts or exercise by flushing out toxins in the muscles. In addition, whole-body cryotherapy increases muscular resistance to fatigue and also improves the muscles’ capacity to regenerate, resulting in an overall increase in muscular performance.
Former Brewers’ left fielder Ryan Braun has undergone cryotherapy a handful of times over the last few years to deal with nerve damage in his thumb. This procedure essentially freezes and deadens the nerve endings, allowing for relieved pain and quicker return time.
Using cryotherapy as a training program
Cryotherapy has been introduced into many athletic training programs as a way to enhance performance. The cold temperatures allow for the muscles to feel revived and recharged, enabling athletes to train sooner and harder, all while staying less prone to sports-related injuries.
Former Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen originally used cryotherapy to recover from a foot injury but has since added cryotherapy to his weekly routine to keep inflammation down and his recovery on point.