There is a lot of misinformation circling about cryotherapy benefits and procedural guidance emanating from inexperienced individuals. Unfortunately, the misinformation makes this cold air therapy seem ineffective and unreliable.
Perhaps you also have concerns about the efficacy of whole-body cryotherapy chambers and the benefits of cold therapy. You can find out more about cryotherapy and its effects on the human body from an evidence-based scientific research review below.
HOW DOES CRYOTHERAPY TREATMENT WORK?
Whole-body cryotherapy is different from cold water immersion. The main differences lie within the method and equipment used to reduce temperatures to freezing conditions. Instead of using ice water, cryo leverages freezing cold air discharging it into the cryotherapy chamber.
The extreme cold alleviates various health-related concerns such as muscle pain, rheumatoid arthritis and general pain relief. Other benefits of this form of cold therapy include:
- Better sleep.
- Regulating high blood pressure levels.
- Improving overall immune system function.
After intense exercise, you can go for a whole body cryotherapy (WBC) session to get chilled in the extreme cold. Treating muscle soreness using very cold temperatures is not an outlandish concept because professional athletes have been using this method for years.
The medical treatment side of cold therapy is continually getting researched by wellness professionals, with several journals published on Harvard Health Publishing and Pubmed.
Harvard Health Publishing has noted some of the top research studies that highlight the efficacy of whole-body cryotherapy on some of the most common health conditions.
The procedure followed at cryotherapy facilities such as ours entails harnessing the best electric cryotherapy unit to dispersing freezing cold air in a chamber for three minutes. This extreme cold triggers neurochemical hormones such as norepinephrine to help boost mood, mental clarity and attention.
Whole-body cryotherapy constricts blood flow to the extremities, causing all the blood to flow to the core to keep it warm. When you get out, the blood slowly flushes back to the extremeties but this time it is more oxygenated and contains more nutrients to help heal the body.
In most cryo chambers, the temperature reaches -85 degrees Celsius, and you are inside the chamber for approximately 3 minutes.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SEE RESULTS FROM CRYOTHERAPY?
Expected outcomes from whole body cryotherapy include boosting mood and mental clarity, reduced inflammation, reduced muscle pain and improved blood circulation.
Consistency with whole body cryotherapy is key and a disciplined routine are the core factors that make whole body cryotherapy work.
An excellent routine to adopt is aiming for five sessions per week for two consecutive weeks and then aiming for at least two maintenance session weekly. At first, you might need time to adjust to whole body cryotherapy and in such instances, try to go for three sessions a week and increase from there.
HOW SHOULD YOU PREPARE FOR CRYOTHERAPY?
Before a whole body cryotherapy session, there isn’t any special preparation you should do on your body or skin. However, there are some crucial points to consider before going in for whole body cryotherapy.
One important point is avoiding blood-thinning medication before the session. Blood thinners include aspirin and other types of medication. Since whole body cryotherapy triggers blood vessel constriction and dilation, blood thinners could cause cardiovascular complications in people with compromised cardiac systems.
Additionally, try to avoid a lot of carbohydrates and sugars before the cold therapy session. Doing so will amplify the effects of whole-body cryotherapy and produce positive results throughout the entire body.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING CRYOTHERAPY?
As soon as you arrive at the cryo facilities, the process will be explained in great detail, mentally preparing you for the therapy. If you experience claustrophobia, we suggest you take it slow, as the chamber is a closed in area but you can exit at anytime you wish. Breathing can help alleviate this discomfort, and just before you know it, the session will be over.
If this is your first session, expect some strange sensations, but if you want to cut the session shorter, you can just get out. Participants are given gloves and socks and a beanie if needed during the session to protect them from frostbite. The process should be focused primarily on reducing inflammation and pain relief.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT AFTER CRYOTHERAPY?
The extremely cold sensation experienced during a cold therapy session also has an effect that lingers. Nerve endings might be numb due to vasoconstriction, which triggers blood to flow to the core to keep it warm during the sessions. After the sessions, the blood vessels dilate, promoting healthy blood flow to extremities.
Do not expect a miraculous cure for medical conditions that are bothering you. The results will gradually come into effect and become visible as you stick to the cold therapy routine.
SHOULD YOU TRY CRYOTHERAPY?
There is plenty of evidence that proves the efficacy of cryotherapy. The potential benefits include reduced inflammation, treatment of skin conditions, reduced muscle pain and an overall healthy lifestyle. But, of course, that is more than mere anecdotal evidence as it’s science-backed.
Further research is still getting conducted to provide more evidence on how cryogenic therapy kills skin cancer. However, you have more than enough compelling evidence that proves this therapy works. Therefore, try it out and personally experience the benefits of cryotherapy.
IS CRYOTHERAPY BETTER THAN AN ICE BATH?
Cold-water immersion involves submerging one’s body in water typically below 15 degrees. Whole-body cryotherapy involves exposure to cold air for a few minutes at temperatures as low as -85 degrees, typically in a cryotherapy chamber, wearing protective garments on the extremities.
Ice baths are much harder and more of a test of the mind than cryotherapy. As you lose more body heat through water, even though its -85 degrees it wont be as painful as an ice bath. In saying that though, using tools like breath-work can help reduce the pain and next you’ll be looking for the challenge of an ice bath! We suggest if you are new to cold therapy, try cryotherapy first and build your way up.
WHAT SHOULD I AVOID AFTER CRYOTHERAPY?
After your session, try to avoid jumping straight into a warm or hot shower. Although this might be tempting, allow your body to reheat naturally before adding extra warmth. The temperature levels in cryo chambers are very low. Going from extremely cold temperature levels to warm or hot ones can shock the body.
IS CRYOTHERAPY BETTER BEFORE OR AFTER A WORKOUT?
Cryotherapy is best for both these occasions. It all depends on what type of workout you will be doing on that day. For endurance workouts, cryotherapy can give you an extra energy boost to go the extra kilometer. If you are going for muscle gains, we suggest to refrain from using the cold treatments we offer by at least 4 hours to allow your body to adapt to the training stress.
WHO SHOULD NOT GET CRYOTHERAPY?
The vast majority of people can go for a cryo session but if you are suffering from complex cardiovascular complications, contact your doctor before. Also, if you use blood-thinning medication, this could affect the efficacy of the treatment and trigger cardiac episodes. Other than that, almost anyone can go for this form of cold therapy.
Undisputedly, cryotherapy works despite the critique it has been getting. The effects are backed by scientific research into hormonal releases and physiological reactions when exposed to cold temperature levels.
You can reduce pain and treat joint inflammation with cryotherapy. In addition to that, conditions such as obesity and immunodeficiencies get addressed by cold therapy. Book a session today to feel the effects of cryotherapy yourself and work toward an organised cold therapy routine for the best results.