Last Updated on September 27, 2020 by James Matthews
When you step into a shower with freezing water, your first thought probably isn’t “this seems like a great way to help my body and mind heal.” The idea of your body being exposed to cold air or water for any prolonged period of time may sound like a personal hell for some, but its recent benefits in the medical and rehab fields have been nothing short of incredible.
While cryotherapy is breaking into many people’s lives as they seek help with pain and other bodily issues, the world of cryotherapy is still surrounded by a shroud of mystery and doubt. We hope that by the end of this article, you can appreciate the theory behind cryotherapy and see how it could help many people achieve better recovery and health benefits.
Before diving into the many benefits of cryotherapy, we first need to understand what it even is.
What is Cryotherapy?
When the words cryotherapy are mentioned, most people’s first reaction is to picture a muscular athlete wincing as they lower themselves into a bath full of ice. While this is a form of cold therapy, it is not necessarily the same thing as cryotherapy. Where ice baths use a liquid to cool the body down, cryotherapy utilizes cold and moisturized air.
When someone is exposed to a cryotherapy treatment, the most common method of transmitting the therapy is through a whole body process called Whole Body Cryotherapy. Through WBC, the body can see substantial relief from improved muscle recovery to the increase of their motor functions.
The way that cryotherapy helps people recover is by essentially forcing the body to operate better than it would normally have to. When the body is exposed to extreme cold through cryotherapy, it must react and protect itself by warming up your insides and expanding your blood vessels.
As your body essentially enters into survival mode, your white blood cell count increases and your body begins to heal itself nearly twice as fast as if you were just resting.
This fascinating response to cold is what has helped the traditional ice bath evolve into cryotherapy. Whereas ice baths are severe and often dangerous when used incorrectly, cryotherapy uses air to cool the body which is a much safer alternative.
Now that we understand what cryotherapy is, let’s see how it is commonly used to help people.
What is it Used For?
The two primary categories of people who really benefit from this form of therapy are those who live an active lifestyle and those looking to minimize the effects of aging. While cryotherapy is certainly beneficial for anti-aging and skin strength retention, it really shines when you see how it works on muscles and sore spots.
When athletes are running, jumping, and moving as much as they do on a regular basis, their body starts to feel the effects. The joints and muscles of even young athletes are exposed to immense stress and harsh wear due to the nature of sports. With cryotherapy, the cool air helps the body enter into a recovery mod that allows the joints and muscles to recover more effectively. Like we mentioned earlier, the traditional ice baths that have been seen in every locker room in the country are quickly being replaced by cryotherapy chambers.
Cryotherapy is also beneficial for helping people recover from average workouts. The way that muscle is built is by breaking down during a workout and being repaired bigger and stronger by the body later on. When cryotherapy is introduced, the muscles can be rebuilt faster and stronger than just sitting on a couch and eating your chicken and rice.
In the world of beauty and overall health, cryotherapy has shown some promising benefits that were never even thought to have been possible with the treatment. The body is a temperamental thing and even the smallest imbalance can make someone’s life just that much harder.
Issues like psoriasis, inflammation, and Fibromyalgia are all issues that are caused by a bodily reaction to a stressor. Cryotherapy helps the body be increasing the body’s repair mechanisms so these issues can be mitigated and dealt with by the body more effectively.
While we are just scratching the surface of how cryotherapy can be used, it is clear to see that its benefits are plentiful. While you may think that this is the solution to all bodily pain and soreness, we really need to understand who cryotherapy is for so you don’t set unrealistic expectations about what it can do.
Who is Cryotherapy For?
When considering if cryotherapy could be viable for you, there are some things you need to keep in mind. For example, cryotherapy causes the body to enter into a state that could be incredibly dangerous for those who are pregnant, partaking in cancer treatment, or have underlying medical conditions. Checking with a doctor before treatment is usually advised by every cryotherapy clinic as that will let you know if you should even be getting the treatment in the first place.
Once you know that you can try cryotherapy without any medical issues coming up, you need to see where it could realistically help you. IF you are an athlete or even just go to the gym a few days a week, you could certainly see some benefits from cryotherapy. The procedure will help your body recover and may even help you with those muscle aches you get after an intense workout.
If you are looking for help treating certain medical conditions, cryotherapy may also be for you. People who suffer from certain skin or recovery issues have noted improvements to tehri quality of life as the increased circulation during cryotherapy gives the body some help in treating itself. As we will see when we look into the benefits of cryotherapy, most people can find at least one area of their life that it would help improve.
Benefits of Cryotherapy
Inflammation is something that a wide array of people deal with from either medical conditions or from injuries. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury as it attempts to get as much blood to an injury site where repairs and reconstruction can begin. Unfortunately for us, that process is often slow and inconvenient.
With cryotherapy, the body gets itself into top gear and works overtime on the healing process. This means that you can experience increased recovery and decreased inflammation with cryotherapy.
Helps with Pain Relief
Pain relief is similar to inflammation in that it is caused by a multitude of different things. Many athletes and bodybuilders utilize forms of cryotherapy to help their aching bodies get the blood flow and cell reproduction they need for their pain relief needs.
In more ways than one, the pain relief process is assisted through cryotherapy treatments. The cold not only forces the body to work more efficiently and effectively, but it helps to numb the immediate pain felt by injury. While the pain may come back later if it is more substantial, the therapy will mitigate immediate pain issues.
Enhanced Immunity Function
The body’s response to outside force and even internal conflicts is an entire field of medicine and a truly fascinating process. As the body serves its sole goal to protect itself from harm, it needs to produce cells of all shapes and sizes to fight off viruses, disease, and even rouge cancer cells.
Most people have bodies that do this pretty well unassisted, but the boost from cryotherapy can help those who struggle with immunity functions. Using cryotherapy can help the body prepare and build up the necessary forces to be ready to combat and destroy any threat that comes to try and harm your body.
Assists with Some Depression and Anxiety
As crazy as it may sound, cryotherapy has been shown to help some people who suffer from anxiety and depression. As these diseases stem from neurological stresses and imbalances, there is not much you can do outside of medication to try and help resolve the issues.
However, recent medication issues have been making people hesitant to live a life on pills that suppress their functionality in other areas of life. Cryotherapy has the unique ability to release endorphins and hormones that help people enhance their overall mood and state of mind after spending some time in cryotherapy.
Overall Improved Quality of Life
While this last point is rather general, it could arguably be the most important one you take away from this. Cryotherapy is not a miracle treatment that will change your life for the better, but it has many benefits that can be seen for a wide array of people.
We hope you have seen that cryotherapy is more than just some cold air as it has helped people from all walks of life feel better. As the technology becomes more mainstream, we hope you are able to find a way to try and see how cryotherapy could fit into your life.