How to recover like a professional athlete

Athletes, both elite and recreational, have taken to freezing themselves to speed up their post-training recovery and the healing of their injuries.

Cryotherapy, a treatment that uses subzero temperatures to treat pain and injuries, is a more comfortable and quicker alternative to traditional ice baths. Athletes like the Minnesota Vikings, Floyd Mayweather, Lebron James, and Usain Bolt all swear by the effects cryotherapy has on their recovery time.

But how does cryotherapy work and why do so many athletes swear by it?

Why do athletes, specifically, use cryotherapy?

Any athlete or person who exercises is exceptionally prone to soreness and exercise-related injuries. Cryotherapy is able to help soreness and injuries in multiple ways.

When entering the whole-body cryotherapy chamber, your body, to protect itself from the cold, regulates your blood flow to your core, where there are a lot of nutrients. After stepping out of the chamber, your body begins to warm up and distributes your blood, now filled with additional nutrients, to the rest of your body. Along with sending nutrient-rich blood to your extremities, the cold also helps decrease inflammation and pain in your joints and muscles.

Where’s the proof?

You might have doubts about the validity of stepping into a futuristic-looking cold chamber and “magically” having some of your problems solved, understandably. But don’t worry, there is empirical evidence to back this craze up.

A study published on PubMed Central found that alongside its therapeutic effects, whole-body cryotherapy has been shown to be a preventative strategy against the damaging effects of exercise-induced inflammation and soreness. The conclusion of the study found that pain, soreness, stress and post-exercise recovery is “very often improved compared to either the starting condition or the untreated matched group.” The subjects’ assessments stated their symptoms and pain had significantly improved, even when compared to other recovery strategies. Optimal results were yielded after 20-30 sessions.

Another study published on PubMed Central found that trained runners showed fewer blood markers of inflammation after entering the cryotherapy chamber. The study followed a group of trained runners and put them through a 48-minute trail run on a treadmill. The workout was specifically designed to elicit muscle soreness and damage.

After the workout, half of the runners underwent whole-body cryotherapy once a day for five days. The rest sat still for 30 minutes a day after their workout for those five days. Blood was drawn regularly throughout the experiment from both groups.

From the first day onward, the runners who entered the chamber showed fewer blood markers of inflammation than the group who sat still.

The study showed that by using the therapy, tired athletes could return to training sooner, said François Bieuzena, a professor at the National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance in Paris and lead author of the study.

Recover faster and recover better! Try Cryotherapy today.