Proponents of cryotherapy claim it can help with weight loss, pain relief, athletic performance and energy levels. Before you stand in a freezing cold chamber for a few minutes, you may want to know whether it really boosts your health or is just another “wellness trend.” Here’s an overview on cryotherapy and the research that supports these claims.
What is Cryotherapy?
Let’s start by defining the word Cryotherapy. Cryotherapy combines two english words,”cryo” aka “icy cold” and “therapy” meaning, “cure.” Needless to say, Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) utilizes the power of extreme cold (-200F to -250F) to promote the body’s natural healing system by triggering a systemic response in three phases.
The 3 Phases Explained:
Stage 1: Remove
First, upon exposure, the brain realizes you are “freezing” due to the abrupt drop in body temperature and goes into “fight or flight” mode. During the 3 minute WBC session at -250 degrees fahrenheit, the blood vessels in your skin’s surface and muscle tissue constrict. This forces the blood away from the peripheral tissues towards the core to protect your vital organs. In the core, the body’s natural filtration system starts working hard to remove toxins, waste, and other inflammatory properties from the body.
Stage 2: Revitalize
Once you exit the cryo chamber and your body begins to warm, filtered oxygenated blood that is enriched with micronutrients and enzymes flow back into the peripheral tissues. Skin and muscle tissues are enriched and endorphins are released, creating a sense of euphoria. Stress and anxiety are reduced and sleep is enhanced.
Stage 3: Restore
Over the next 48 hours is when the real work happens and the restoration process occurs. The restoration process returns the body to a new, better state of “normal” with increased energy (hello endorphins!) and decreased inflammation. Recovery time from exercise is reduced and performance is enhanced. This is also when you are burning the most calories from WBC.
Benefits Of Cryotherapy
- Reduces inflammation
- Reduces pain and inflammation due to such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis,autoimmune disorders, and chronic pain (to name a few)
- Promotes weight loss
- Decreases anxiety and depression symptoms
- Increases energy
- Improves sleep
- Enhances immune function
- Speeds up post-surgery recovery time
- Stimulates collagen production leading to younger and healthier looking skin
- Reduces muscle soreness, pain and inflammation
- Increases energy and peak athletic performance
- Relief from depression and anxiety
- Increases blood circulation.
- Aids in lymphatic drainage/health
A little known fun fact: cold therapy dates back to 2500 BCE (Egyptian era)!