Jun22An Introduction To Cryotherapy

Today we have a post by one of our interns, Chris Kruczalak. He also wrote up the article about gut health. In this post he talks about cryotherapy, what you can expect, and benefits from cryotherapy.

What is Cryotherapy? 

What do you think of when you hear the word cryotherapy? Do images of Sylvester Stallone emerging from the ice to fight a wild and wacky Wesley Snipes come to mind? Well, maybe I’m the only one thinking of Demolition Man. Whole body cryotherapy is the process of exposing the body to a cold chamber for two to four minutes. Professional athletes and performers have been using cryotherapy as a method of recovery for many years. They claim that it speeds recovery, reduces inflammation, decreases stress, increases metabolism, burns calories and boosts our overall sense of well-being. In recent years, cryotherapy has become increasingly accessible and affordable to the public that has been trying it too. Locations such as the Cryo Lounge in Wheaton, IL offer first time treatments for as little as 25$ for a first session, 50$ for future sessions as well as special discounts for students and first responders. 

A testimonial from a female Marine Corps veteran Leasha West, says that cryotherapy offers a tremendous amount of benefits and that it’s made a profound effect on her life.  She writes that the consistent treatments have “given her more energy and focus, increased metabolism, decreased pain, faster growing hair and nails, younger skin and better sleep quality. “ 

You don’t have to be a professional athlete or highly active individual, either. Any person that is dealing with wide ranges of pain, diseases and bodily issues can stand to benefit from cryotherapy treatments.

 

What Can You Expect From A Cryotherapy Session? 

Depending on where you go, you will be asked to wear warm gloves, thick socks and underwear. You will also be asked to remove anything you’re wearing below your neck such as jewelry, necklaces or watches. 

Patients will feel the onset of cold right away, however the time will pass very quickly, and you are going to get some shivers but not to the point of feeling like you’re going to freeze. If at any point you feel discomfort, or you want to stop, you can simply push the door open to get out. 

Research Supported Benefits Include:

 

  • Muscle and Joint Pain Relief

 

Similar to how you’d apply a cold pack to treat soreness, a cryotherapy treatment does the same but on your entire body in minutes. A 2017 study conducted on Athletes from the Journal of Sports Medicine shows that cryotherapy can be effective in reducing muscle pain, inflammation and cell damage.

 

  • Weight Loss

 

Due to being exposed to extreme cold temperatures during a treatment forces your body to work hard in order to stay warm. Cryotherapy sessions can burn as much as 500-800 calories in just a single treatment. That’s the equivalent of running 4-6 miles in just 3 minutes. For individuals with weight loss goals cryotherapy can be a great tool to further aid you on your journey.  A 2013 study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation revealed that people who spent more time in colder temperatures burned more energy than those who spent time in warmer temperature. 

 

  • Anti-Aging

 

Research studies have shown that cryotherapy is stimulating the collagen production within your skin. Collagen is a protein in your skin that keeps your skin strong, smooth and elastic. After being exposed to the cold, the rapid expansion of your cells causes nutrients to rush to your skin cells, boosting collagen and resulting in younger looking skin. 

 

  • Decrease in Anxiety and Depression

 

Individuals dealing with chronic stress, anxiety and depression can also greatly benefit from a cryotherapy session. A cryotherapy treatment results in sense of euphoria due a rush of endorphins being released within your body and rapid flow of blood to your extremeties. During treatment your body will secrete serotonin, which is a natural survival mechanism of the body that is responding to the sudden onset of cold. Individuals will fell energized and with a positive mood boost that can last up to 6-8 hours.

 

Up Your Recovery Game 

Recovery is important, and cold therapy can be a good tool to use in your life. We’ve learned that it can help not only with muscle soreness and pain relief, but also with weight loss, mood, aging, and more. Now that you know the basics and the benefits, consider trying some cryotherapy and see if it doesn’t help you out!

 

REFERENCES: 

Holowatz, L. A., Thompson-Torgerson, C., & Kenney, W. L. (2010). Aging and the control of human skin blood flow. Frontiers in bioscience (Landmark edition), 15, 718–739. https://doi.org/10.2741/3642

Cryotherapy for Better Skin and Hair. (2017, October 21). Retrieved April 17, 2020, from https://blog.daveasprey.com/cryotherapy-anti-aging/#ref-3

Lombardi, G., Ziemann, E., & Banfi, G. (2017). Whole-Body Cryotherapy in Athletes: From Therapy to Stimulation. An Updated Review of the Literature. Frontiers in physiology, 8, 258. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2017.00258