While cryotherapy has been around since the 19th century, using applications of cooling to treat pain and inflammation dates back to ancient Egypt. Using an ice pack is a simple kind of cryotherapy. This article will explore all of the benefits of using whole-body cryotherapy to treat an array of ailments.
Cryotherapy starts by immersing yourself in a cold environment. This looks like stepping into an enclosure or lying in a cryotherapy chamber where temperatures drop to negative 200-300 degrees fahrenheit. Whole-body cryotherapy uses cold air instead of water like similar cold therapies like ice baths. The exposure time can last for a maximum of 3.5 minutes. Done regularly, whole-body cryotherapy can have a host of benefits.
Cryotherapy is often used to speed up muscle recovery post workout. To understand how this works, it’s important to understand what is happening in your body when it undergoes cryotherapy. When your body is immersed in a cold environment your blood vessels constrict sending all your blood toward your organs. Your blood then acquires more oxygen and nutrients. When your body starts to heat back up, this oxygen rich blood is then pumped back into your tissues. This process reduces inflammation and flushes out toxins built up in a work out. Cryotherapy for pain can be used in other uses such as joint or tendon swelling.
Researchers have been studying how whole-body cryotherapy can improve sleep quality. A study published in March 2019 in BMC Research Notes, found that soccer players moved less during the night and reported better sleep after just three minutes of partial body cryotherapy session.
Partial body cryotherapy is similar to whole-body cryotherapy but your head and neck are outside of the cold atmosphere. Scientists theorize that cold therapy helps with sleep by activating our parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the rest and digest state that our body is in when we are in a safe and calm environment.
Using cryotherapy can be a useful tool to lose weight. Cryo sessions benefit you by helping speed up your metabolism as your body tries to warm itself up. When trying to warm back up, your body burns an increased amount of calories to get its internal temperature back to normal. While whole body cryotherapy can help with weight loss, it should be paired with regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Cryotherapy has been used by celebrities, professional athletes and people suffering from chronic pain to help with a wide range of issues affecting their bodies. From muscle fatigue, weight loss, chronic inflammation and insomnia, whole body cryotherapy can be used to treat the symptoms that these issues can cause. By experiencing 3 minutes of extreme cold, cryotherapy can provide so many benefits to the body. This far outweighs any discomfort that may come with the colder temperatures.