Are you just hearing about cryotherapy for the first time? Considering whether this natural therapy would help you with your aches and pains? Here are the most important things you must know about cryotherapy.
What Is Cryotherapy and How Does It Work?
Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) is a research-proven, doctor-designed cold therapy that activates your body’s natural pain and inflammation fighters. Knowing our bodies are designed to systemically heal themselves, a Japanese Rheumatologist designed cryotherapy in 1978 to activate those natural healing systems. How? You simply chill in a cold air sauna for 3 minutes, and your body activates it's restorative process. The cold air causes blood to flush from the skin surface, muscle tissue, and joints to the vital organs. Your body's cardiovascular system naturally eliminates toxins and replenishes the blood with oxygen, nutrients, red blood cells and anti-inflammatory enzymes. The end result is relief from pain and inflammation, accelerated muscle recovery, boosted energy levels, increased metabolic rate and enhanced complexion.
The Benefits of Cryotherapy
Dr. Joe Tatta, a chiropractic doctor and author of the book Heal Your Pain Now,explains that "Whole-body cryotherapy is a treatment that has been used for decades in sports medicine. It is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-analgesic, and antioxidant effects to decrease inflammation, speed recovery, and prevent excessive exercise-induced inflammation and soreness." According to the experts and those who use cryotherapy, the real benefits are relief from pain and inflammation, accelerated recovery after a workout, and reduced healing time after injury or surgery.
Does Cryotherapy Really Work?
There have been very few randomized clinical trials completed in the U.S. since cryotherapy migrated over here in 2011, so according to most doctors will tell you the current research is inconclusive. However, if you talk to professional athletes--whose careers depend on their ability to recover--or speak to those using cryotherapy to manage their chronic pain, you will hear about the efficacy of cryotherapy. High school, college and professional athletes are trading out ice baths for cryotherapy because it's more effective, it's quicker (only 3 minutes), and it's much more comfortable!
Is Cryotherapy Safe--And Will It Hurt?
Those with healthy bodies who get cryotherapy at a clinic/spa with professionally trained recovery specialists and medical directors face little if any risk. Provided you do not contra-indicate (those with heart conditions, untreated high blood pressure, diabetes, pregnancy and/or Reynaud's can not use cryotherapy), then the only risk you face is cold burn on your skin. And that risk is near zero provided you do not take a cryotherapy session with damp skin/damp clothes.
Additionally, cryotherapy is just a 3-minute treatment in a stand-up, cold air sauna. The air is certainly cold (-200 degree F), but because it is dry air it does not penetrate beyond skin level. Unlike an ice bath, which is quite long (15-20 minutes done properly), uncomfortable and penetratingly cold, cryotherapy users describe the cold sensation as "invigorating."
Should You Try Cryotherapy?
If you are dealing with chronic pain/inflammation, or desire to accelerate your recobvery in pursuit of athletic goals, then it takes just 3 minutes in a cryotherapy session to see what all the talk is about. Do you have 3 minutes?