Your Comprehensive Guide to Cryotherapy
When you think of cryotherapy you may imagine entering a large, futuristic-looking chamber with white gases pouring lazily onto the floor, an experience only enjoyed by the auspicious ranks of elite athletes and top celebrities. But that is not the whole picture. Cryotherapy simply means “cold therapy.” So, any time cold is used as a form of treatment, the term “cryotherapy” can be used. Cryotherapy has a long history and many uses. Let’s dive deeper into the history and benefits of cryotherapy.
What is cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy is the use of extreme cold on the skin for a couple of minutes to heal the body. Cryotherapy comes in many forms, whether that be entering a whole-body chamber or localizing the cold treatment on a certain part of your body.
How did cryotherapy begin?
The application of cold and ice to the skin has been in practice since about 2500 BC when the Egyptians would treat inflammation and injuries with isolated cold application. The practice was further revolutionized when in 400 BC Hippocrates, also known as the father of medicine, documented the benefits of cold exposure when applied to swelling, pain, and bleeding. In 1845, cryosurgery was created by Dr. James Arnott. Arnott used cryosurgery to freeze skin, breast and cervical cancer tumors. The practice was further revolutionized in the 1970s by Dr. Yamaguchi, who created the whole-body cryotherapy chambers.
How does cryotherapy work?
Cryotherapy stimulates the nerves on your skin through extreme cold, triggering your central nervous system and, in turn, enhancing your circulation.
Increased circulation allows your blood to move in and out of inflamed areas faster, accelerating the healing of injured areas.
Health professionals have begun using whole-body cryotherapy to relieve pain and inflammation from conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines, and athletic injuries, according to Forbes.
Breaking it down further, multiple areas of your body react after entering the chamber.
- The hypothalamus releases endorphins and norepinephrine, which serve to block pain signals, boost your mood and energy, and work as an anti-inflammatory.
- Blood travels from the extremities to your vital organs.
- As your skin rewarms, the blood, high in oxygen, nutrients, and chemicals, returns to sites of injury and inflammation for repair.
Many users have reported an improved range of motion, reduced pain and inflammation, enhanced mood, more energy, rejuvenated skin, and enhanced sleep after completing sessions. Additionally, cryotherapy, localized or whole-body, provides pain relief and muscle healing, weight loss, reduced inflammation, reduction in anxiety and depression, improved eczema symptoms and helps prevent dementia (for more in-depth information on how cryotherapy treats these ailments, read Could freezing yourself improve your health?).
Would cryotherapy benefit me?
Cryotherapy can benefit just about everyone. Many athletes use cryotherapy to relieve their soreness or promote faster healing of their injuries. Those who suffer from chronic pain or inflammation use cryotherapy to reduce that pain and inflammation. People with mental illnesses or chronic migraines use both whole-body and localized cryotherapy to reduce symptoms. Those who suffer from skin conditions, such as eczema, use cryotherapy to reduce their symptoms. People who do not have any conditions may use cryotherapy for the energy boost and to feel rejuvenated.
However, certain conditions are contraindications to whole-body cryotherapy so speak to your doctor before partaking in cryotherapy.
Ok, where do I sign up?
Xperience Fitness has partnered with US Cryotherapy, the industry leader in whole-body cryotherapy. Through US Cryotherapy, Xperience offers four cryotherapy options.
- Whole-body cryotherapy: 2 to 3.5 minutes of full-body cold exposure that reduces pain, inflammation, and stress while rejuvenating your body, skin, and mind. Our whole-body cryotherapy chambers are nitrogen-free, free oxygenated air.
- Localized cryotherapy: Targets specific muscle areas or joints directly with cold air for 2 to 3 minutes to decrease pain and inflammation while improving circulation.
- Normatec: Uses compression therapy to increase circulation and moves fluid through the body to promote faster recovery.
- Theragun: An advanced massage device that breaks up muscle tightness, reduces soreness, and restores range of motion in as little as 30 seconds.
Visit your local club for more information regarding cryotherapy. Cold is a powerful energy, use it to get your life back today.