The short answer is yes, it does.
What Is Cryotherapy?
Have you heard of people willingly subjecting themselves to freezing temperatures? Why on Earth would they do that? It’s called Cryotherapy or cold treatment and can offer numerous benefits. Cryotherapy is done by exposing your body to frigid temperatures in a chamber. The cold air in the chamber can reach as low as negative 200°F to 300°F and can last up to 5 minutes. Another form of Cryotherapy is soaking an area of your body or the entire body in cold water immersion.
The popular belief about Cryotherapy is that it can treat painful or chronic conditions and can even promote weight loss. But Is there any real science to back these beliefs?
Let’s discuss the benefits of Cryotherapy for weight loss and pain relief and how it works.
Should You Consider Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy might be a treatment for you to consider if:
- You’re struggling with a localized injury or specific area of the body
- Have had severe injuries from an accident or other unexpected event
- Want to enhance your overall wellness
- You are trying to lose weight
People with severe injuries are known to respond particularly well to Cryotherapy. However, Cryotherapy is not limited to those with injuries. It’s gaining even more appeal to people who seek to improve their overall health and wellness.
Different Types of Cryotherapy
Applying ice to a localized part of the body will reduce the blood flow and swelling and promote healing to that area. That’s why we sometimes see a physical therapist administering ice packs to players who have taken a blow or even use them themselves after an injury.
With more serious injuries, the immediate application of an ice pack can reduce inflammation and decrease pain. Localized Cryotherapy is a treatment meant to deal with instant, short-term symptoms of pain and swelling rather than delayed treatment. After the initial treatment, the injury should be given time to recover on its own.
Cryosurgery is a more concentrated type of Cryotherapy. Cryosurgery is a time-old practice in clinics and hospitals around the world. It works by using liquid nitrogen to freeze off warts and moles.
Cryosurgery has also shown promising results in treating certain forms of cancer. It has been proven to destroy pre-cancerous cells, removing cancerous growths and even preventing malicious cells from growing further. Cancer patients might also use cryosurgery for relief by numbing nerves to reduce pain and discomfort.
Treatment of Migraines
People have been using Cryotherapy as a home remedy for ages now. In particular, the application of ice packs to the neck has shown to be an effective remedy for people with migraines. The cooling action of the blood vessels constricts blood flow to the head and can alleviate migraines.
Cryotherapy can be used on a larger scale as well. So why is it that top athletes, celebrities, and even doctors seem to be advocating cold therapy more and more? Because it works. There is science-based evidence to support the beneficial effects of Cryotherapy. It’s no wonder ice baths and cold showers after a strenuous activity have been standard practices for centuries. It produces results and helps relieve muscle soreness while reducing recovery time.
Liquid nitrogen is believed to be the most effective means of reaching the appropriate temperatures for the most effective outcomes. Liquid nitrogen does not contact the skin, as this can be dangerous. The gasses released from liquid nitrogen cause the temperatures in the chamber to reach extreme cold.
Cryotherapy is not only for athletes or muscle aches and pains. Below we’ll discuss some of the additional health benefits of utilizing whole-body Cryotherapy.
Cryotherapy can help revive the body by:
- Relieving pain
- Reducing stress
- Promoting healing and slowing injury progression
- Defy aging
- Boosting mood
- Increasing energy
- Burning calories and lose weight
- Strengthening the body’s immune system
- Improving your quality of sleep
Keep reading to read more in depth about some of the benefits of cryotherapy.
Promotes Weight Loss
The theory behind Cryotherapy for weight loss is that it boosts the metabolism through ice-cold shock to your system. This in turn, sends extra energy to muscles and burns body fat at a more efficient rate. The body works extremely hard to reach a state of equilibrium and generate heat. Therefore, it must use calories to warm up after being exposed to such extremely cold temperatures. Just one cryotherapy session of 3-4 minutes can burn hundreds of calories.
A 2013 study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that Cryotherapy can reduce total body fat by about 2 percent. Study subjects underwent 2 hour daily exposures to cold temperatures over six weeks. The findings reported that brown adipose tissue (BAT) was being used to burn fat and help make energy when the body was exposed to extreme cold. In simple terms, this means the body has mechanisms to reduce fat when exposed to freezing temperatures.
Can Help With Mental Health Disorders
Being exposed to extreme temperatures can be shocking, but the shock is not always a bad thing. The body’s fight or flight response forces the body to release hormones like endorphins and adrenaline to cope with the shock. These hormones can boost our mood at elevated levels and prove advantageous for the short-term treatment of depression and anxiety.
Some research supports the effectiveness of Cryotherapy in slowing the development of Alzheimer’s disease. By reducing inflammation and oxidative stress responses in the brain, Cryotherapy may help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.
Inhibits Injury Progression
Cryotherapy used to slow injury progression can be especially useful to athletes whose careers depend on their physical state. They must recover quickly between events. While it’s not limited to professional athletes and can be used by anyone who participates in a vigorous fitness regimen, it’s vital that they have speedy recoveries to stay on top of their game.
Immersing in a cold bath or standing in a chamber for as little as five minutes can prove to be extremely helpful in preventing injuries from further progressing.
Are There Side Effects to Cryotherapy?
There can be side effects to consider before deciding to use Cryotherapy, especially if you have any underlying conditions.
Nerve Side Effects
Extreme cold on the skin can lead to nerve-related side effects like numbness, tingling sensations, redness, or skin irritation. These are almost always temporary side effects, lasting only a few hours after the procedure. You should seek medical attention if side effects last longer than 24 hours.
Do not use Cryotherapy for longer than the recommended times. If not used properly, long-term cold exposure can cause nerve damage or skin tissue damage. Whole-body Cryotherapy should be limited to 5 minutes at a time and should always be supervised.
Cryotherapy is not recommended for people with diabetes or similar conditions that may have damaged their nerves.
Interested in Cryotherapy?
Now that you’ve done your research and have familiarized yourself with the benefits of Cryotherapy click here to book your appointment with us.