Have you ever held an ice pack on a swollen ankle? If your answer is yes, you have experienced cryotherapy!
Cryotherapy basically translates to mean “cold therapy.” It is used to treat a range of ailments from sore muscles to migraines, and it can even help you lose weight! It’s a great addition to your health regimen, especially if you’re always on the go. After all, the whole process takes less than four minutes.
Does cryotherapy work? Whether you use whole body cryotherapy or localized cryotherapy, you can improve your health with this unique treatment. It’s one of my favorite ways to do something kind for my body.
It’s normal to be concerned about cryotherapy temperature, but it’s actually much safer than an ice bath even though it’s significantly colder. Cryotherapy temperature is typically -160°F in electric chambers or -230°F in nitrogen chambers.
Sound like fun? Here are some of the specific health benefits you can receive from cryotherapy treatment.
Types of cryotherapy
There are two main types of cryotherapy: whole body cryotherapy (WBC), which involves entering a cryotherapy chamber, and localized cryotherapy, which is where you focus the cold therapy on one specific part of the body.
Another branch of cryotherapy is called cryosurgery, which requires medical supervision. Some cancer patients have experienced benefits from the process of freezing cancer cells, which produces ice crystals around the cells and effectively destroys them in the localized area that’s treated.
How cryotherapy works
Whole body cryotherapy happens inside a cryochamber. Some chambers use liquid nitrogen to produce the cooling effect, which allows for a much lower cryotherapy temperature. Other models use an electric cooling method that releases oxygen-enriched air into the walk-in chamber. This cooling method reduces the risk of uneven cold exposure and forced air burns.
You only need to be in the cryochamber for three or four minutes. The main idea is that the extremely cold temperature will jumpstart certain systems and chemicals in the body as well as help control issues like inflammation and skin problems. You will shiver…but that’s completely normal!
Localized cryotherapy uses anything from ice packs to probes to target specific tissues or areas of the body where the freezing effect will freeze bad cells or help stimulate tissues and organs. If you do use products like ice packs, always be sure to wrap them in a dry cloth to protect your skin.
How many sessions of whole body cryotherapy do you need to do in order to get results? Of course, one session of cryotherapy may bring about signs of improvement. But like anything, if you want to see long-term benefits you should consider maintaining a regular schedule of cryotherapy to help you reach maximum well-being and recuperation.
Be sure to speak with your physician about the right regimen as well as risks and side effects, like temporary redness or skin irritation, that you might be experiencing with cryotherapy.
5 health benefits of cryotherapy
Ready to get started with whole body cryotherapy? These are some of the health benefits you stand to gain.
Relieves sore muscles
People who are physically active or play on a sports team may benefit from cryotherapy because it is known to soothe aching muscles. Lots of professional athletes such as LeBron James and Usain Bolt like to use cryotherapy as part of their training.
If you have stiff muscles from being physically active, consider incorporating cryotherapy into your physical therapy regimen a few times a week. The cold can help reduce inflammation in the muscles, which feels amazing after a strenuous workout or mid-day run. It’s like the ultimate ice bath.
Improves weight loss
While modifying your diet is a sure way to lose weight, cryotherapy can be a great addition to your weight-loss arsenal. Research has shown that long-term whole body cryotherapy can reduce your body mass by as much as 3%.
When you are cold, your body goes into overdrive to stay warm. As a result, your metabolism gets a boost and you burn calories. If you do whole body cryotherapy often, it may help you burn thousands of extra calories a week.
Reduces anxiety and depression
When you experience the shock of cold from cryotherapy, your body naturally responds by releasing adrenaline and endorphins. These natural chemicals can enhance your mood, leaving you feeling almost euphoric at times.
Your body will also increase blood flow throughout your body in response to the cold, which can further boost your mood. While this may reduce anxiety and depression, it should not be used as a substitute for any medications prescribed by your doctor.
Helps migraine headaches
For those who have the misfortune of knowing the excruciating pain of migraines all too well, cryotherapy may be the answer to reducing your symptoms. It probably won’t make your migraines go away completely, but it can certainly help.
Try putting localized ice packs or specialized cryotherapy probes on the right side of your neck near your carotid arteries when you have a migraine. It is believed that cooling the blood in the vessels near your head reduces the intensity of the migraine.
Treats skin issues like eczema and acne
Do you have problems with dry, flaky skin? Well, cryotherapy is known to improve the levels of antioxidants in your blood, which can reduce the annoying effects of eczema.
Research is still being done on how targeting sebaceous glands in your skin with cryotherapy may help eliminate acne. Be careful about overdoing the cryotherapy, though, because it can cause skin rashes when used too frequently.
Making cryotherapy work for you
While the extent of cryotherapy health benefits is not yet fully known, this treatment has greatly impacted the lives of many people who have tried it. As you begin whole body cryotherapy, make sure you communicate regularly with your doctor regarding how often you’re using the treatment and whether you’re experiencing any side effects.
Personally, I love what cryotherapy has done for me. Before you invest in an expensive cryochamber, I would recommend looking for a wellness center that offers cryotherapy in your area. If you fall in love with this treatment, you can take the next step and get your own chamber.
Make sure to check out my episode with Robin Kuehne, the first to bring cryotherapy to the United States, on Serena Loves TV.
Too busy for cryotherapy? Try out my Just Add Water superfood snack to help you get through those stressful days.
Have a blessed and healthy day!
XO – Serena