Fitness beyond the workout: The Benefits of Whole Body Cryotherapy

Whole-body cryotherapy has become a prominent part of the recovery technique for many professional athletes in recent years. Several well-known celebrities have also adopted cryotherapy due to its health benefits. What is cryotherapy? How does it work? What benefits does it offer? Read this guide to learn more about whole-body cryotherapy.

What is cryotherapy?

The word cryo can mean involving or producing cold. On the other hand, therapy refers to treatments that help improve people’s health, especially after experiencing an illness. However, some therapeutic practices relieve stress after intense workouts and exercises.

Cryotherapy involves freezing body parts for a few minutes for therapeutic purposes. You can apply this form of therapy to any part of your body. However, most professional athletes often opt for whole-body cryotherapy to enjoy its full benefits.

How does whole body cryotherapy work?

There are different techniques available for applying cryotherapy to the body. However, the most common one involves immersing the whole body in a freezing enclosed chamber. This technique is closely associated with whole-body cryotherapy.

Cryotherapy involves placing a person in an enclosed chamber for a few minutes. Nitrogen vapor allows the enclosed chamber to reach freezing temperatures. Often, the person will stay in the chamber for two-four minutes. The chamber gives off freezing air, with temperatures dropping between -180 to -240°F.

The benefits of whole-body cryotherapy are often instant. However, this therapeutic process is more effective when practiced regularly. For example, some professional athletes use this therapeutic process twice daily. Others practice cryotherapy every day for 10 days in a row, after which they use the therapeutic process once a month afterward.

The use of ice baths is sometimes referred to as cryotherapy as well, although die-hard cryotherapy fans may correct you to use the term “cold exposure”. The following information in this article around benefits and risks can be related to both cryo chamber usage and also ice bath plunging. For many business owners, setting up an ice bath option for members is a simpler, more affordable option and it’s also a more accessible method of enjoying the benefits of cryotherapy, (I mean, cold exposure), at home too.

How can cryotherapy benefit your existing health and fitness offerings?

Gym and fitness centre operators are seeing an increased demand for a more holistic approach to health. The inclusion of a recovery space in your facility can not only be a draw card for new members, but it can also be a great tool for increasing the sense of community among your members in a social environment.

This shared experience of cryotherapy can be a great conversation starter and can lead to friendly interactions. Members might find that they have something in common with the other people in the room, whether it’s a love of fitness, a shared interest in cryotherapy, or something else entirely.

Cryotherapy can be a bonding experience. When you’re all shivering from the cold, it’s natural to seek comfort in one another. It’s not uncommon to start chatting with other people in the room as a way to distract yourself from the cold.

benefits of whole body cryotherapy

Potential health benefits of cryotherapy

Like many other therapeutic processes, cryotherapy offers several benefits to its users. These benefits include:

Reduce Migraines Symptoms

Cryotherapy can help reduce migraines by numbing pain in the neck and cooling the nerves. According to this study, continuously applying a neck wrap containing two frozen packs of ice to the carotid arteries in the neck can significantly reduce migraine pain.

The reduction of migraine pain comes from cooling the blood passing through the intracranial vessels. Notably, the carotid arteries are close to the skin surface, making this cryotherapy technique very efficient.

Anti-Aging

Exposing the skin to freezing cold temperatures will lead to the production of collagen. The production of this protein comes as a result of increased blood flow to the skin.

The presence of collagen helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the skin. As a bonus, the protein helps to keep the skin smooth and dewy.

Reduce Nerve Irritation

Cryotherapy is also widely used for numbing pains that result from nerve irritation. Due to its excellent performance, healthcare practitioners in professional sports use cryotherapy for athletes under their care.

Doctors can numb nerve irritation and reduce pain using this form of therapy. Cold therapy is also effective against muscle soreness.

Short-Term Fix For Mood Disorders

The freezing-cold temperatures adopted for whole-body cryotherapy can help induce patients’ physiological hormonal responses. The human body releases endorphins, adrenaline, and noradrenaline under freezing conditions.

These compounds can positively affect individuals with mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. According to this study, whole-body cryotherapy has been shown to be an effective short-term treatment for anxiety and depression.

Reduce Arthritic Pain

Apart from numbing nerve irritations, cryotherapy is also effective at reducing arthritic pain. Whole-body cryotherapy has proven to be very effective in this regard. This therapeutic process is a necessary starter before the commencement of other therapeutic programs.

These include aggressive physiotherapy and occupational therapy for patients with arthritis. Cryotherapy can undoubtedly help improve the outcome of other rigorous rehabilitation programs.

Besides offering these benefits, cryotherapy can also help cure low-risk tumours. It also thought this process could help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Cryotherapy can also be effective against skin conditions like atopic dermatitis.

Risks and Side Effects of Cryotherapy

Concerning its side effects, users can expect to feel numbness, redness, tingling sensations, and skin irritation after a session of cold therapy. These side effects are usually temporary. However, if they persist after 24 hours, ensure you consult your doctor.

Several risks are associated with using this form of therapy for too long. However, users will be fine if they follow the proper instructions correctly. For example, stay only four minutes or less in the enclosed chamber for each whole-body cryotherapy session.

Additionally, do not use ice baths or ice packs for more than 20 minutes on any part of your body. Ensure your ice packs are wrapped in a towel to avoid damaging your skin.

Common questions around cryotherapy:

Is cryotherapy safe for everyone?

While cryotherapy is generally considered safe, some people should avoid it altogether. In other cases, users must use it cautiously. Pregnant women, for example, should avoid cryotherapy, as the extreme cold can harm the developing fetus.

People with certain medical conditions, such as Raynaud’s disease or peripheral neuropathy, should also avoid cryotherapy, as it can exacerbate symptoms. Additionally, people with high blood pressure or heart conditions should consult their doctor before trying cryotherapy.

As with all health and wellness modalities, it’s important to remember that we are all individuals with different health conditions and our own goals. Before participating in any cryotherapy, we advise you to check with your health professional first.

How often should I get cryotherapy treaments?

The answer to this question depends on each person’s goals and needs. You can get cryotherapy treatments once or twice a week if you are looking for energy boosts. That routine is also sufficient if you intend to achieve general wellness.

On the other hand, others may benefit from more frequent cold therapy sessions. Individuals seeking to recover from intense workouts can aim for four-six sessions of cryotherapy every week.

However, It’s always important to listen to your body. Additionally, ensure you work with a trained professional to determine the optimal frequency for your needs.

Cryotherapy can be a safe and effective treatment for many people. However, it’s essential to understand how often you should get treatments and how long they typically last.

Additionally, it’s vital to consider whether cryotherapy is appropriate for your needs and health status. By working with a trained professional and listening to your body, you can determine whether cryotherapy is right for you.

cryotherapy benefits
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