5 Benefits of Cryotherapy and Why You Should Try It
After a solid night of sleep, when you step out of bed and stretch, your joints feel tight and pop, making you sound like a one-man percussion band. While the stiffness and popping is certainly a drag, that’s the price you pay for weightlifting. Fortunately, you don’t have to deal with the pain, suffering, and cracking sounds; there’s a way you can combat the discomfort and silence your body, and make getting out of bed a whole lot easier and more enjoyable. What’s the secret? Cryotherapy!
At Muscle Lab, one of the most highly regarded muscle recovery and wellness lounges in Los Angeles, we offer a variety of services that are intended to help professional weight lifters and lay bodybuilders alike improve their recovery and get the most out of their workouts. Of all the services we offer, cryotherapy is, hands down, one of the most popular, and for good reason – it offers a myriad of benefits.
But what exactly is cryotherapy and why should you try it? To learn more about cryotherapy, the benefits it offers, and why you should totally consider adding it to your weightlifting recovery routine, keep on reading, and then visit MuscleLab.la and click on the “book now” tab to schedule an appointment and experience for yourself why cryotherapy is one of the coldest trends in muscle recovery.
What is cryotherapy anyway?
Cryotherapy literally translates to “cold therapy”. It’s a technique that involves exposing the body to exceptionally cold temperatures over the span of several minutes. The therapy can be applied to one particular area (known as “localized cryotherapy”), such as the legs or the arms, or it can be delivered to the entire body, (referred to as “whole-body cryotherapy”).
A variety of techniques can be used to administer localized cryotherapy; the application of ice packs, coolant sprays, ice massages, or even by administering probes into the tissues of the targeted area, for example. With whole-body cryotherapy, with the exception of the head, the entire body is immersed into excessively cold air for several minutes. You step into an enclosed chamber, which surrounds the entire body and features an opening for your head, and once the enclosure is closed, liquid nitrogen is released to reduce the temperature by as much as 300 degrees F, or about -280 degrees F.
While localized cryotherapy does have its place - to treat areas of the body that are particularly problematic, for example – however, generally speaking, for weightlifters, whole-body cryotherapy is the preferred and most popular method.
What are the benefits of cryotherapy?
So, what type of benefits does cryotherapy offer? Research is on-going, but the findings of several studies have been completed have found that the list of benefits are long. Some of the most notable benefits of cryotherapy for weightlifters and body builders include the following.
Weight Loss Support
There are proven weight loss benefits associated with cryotherapy. While it doesn’t cause direct weight loss, it does boost the metabolism, which in turn aids in weight loss. Research studies have found that exposure to extremely cold temperatures can increase the body’s metabolic rate while it’s returning to normal body temperature after the therapy session is completed.
When the body is exposed to extremely cold temperatures, to generate energy for the body, the brown adipose tissue (BAT) starts to burns fat. One study revealed that when the body was exposed to cold temperatures on a daily basis over the span of 6 weeks, the body fat of the participants decreased by 2 percent.
Inflammation is common among weight lifters. When too much strain is placed on the muscles, tendons, and joints, the body inflames the tissues of the affected area in an effort to protect it. Numerous studies have confirmed that cryotherapy successfully reduces inflammation, as exposure to extreme cold boosts the presence of the cytokine proteins IL-6, IL-1Ra, and IL-10.
Cytokines, specifically interleukins (IL) are responsible for managing the signaling of cells within the immune system, creating a response that supports a healthy, more effective inflammatory response, and thus, reducing inflammation and the side effects that are associated with it.
Strengthens the immune system
Studies have also found that whole-body cryotherapy boosts and enhances the function of the immune system. After the body has been exposed to extremely cold temperatures, blood flow increases in order to return the body to normal temperature. Increasing the flow of blood supports the detoxification process and increases the production of monocytes and lymphocytes, two kinds of white blood cells that combat foreign invaders that enter the body. In other words, with cryotherapy, your immune system will be stronger and you’ll get sick less often.
Combats nerve irritation
A lot of athletes – including weight lifters – use cryotherapy as a way to treat injuries, and that’s largely because it can effectively numb pain. Injuries can irritate the nerves, and that irritation can result in pain. Extremely cold temperatures can numb irritated nerves, and thus, reduce the pain that you may be experiencing. Cryotherapy is an effective way to ease the discomfort that’s associated with pinched nerves, back pain, and even acute injuries.
Minimizes arthritic pain
Whether you had arthritis prior to body building or you developed it as a result of lifting weights, whole-body cryotherapy can help to ease the discomfort you’re experiencing. A study found that whole-body cryotherapy dramatically reduces the pain in participants who were diagnosed with arthritis. Not only did it help to directly alleviate discomfort, but whole-body cryotherapy made it possible for participants in the study to endure more aggressive occupation therapy and physiotherapy, increasing the efficacy of rehabilitation.
Are there any side effects?
Generally speaking, most people tolerate cryotherapy well; however, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention some of the side effects that some people experience. Reddening of the skin, tingling, and numbness may occur post-therapy; however, these effects are usually very mild and are temporary, and the benefits are much longer lasting.
Ready to Try Cryotherapy?
If you’re interested in learning more about cryotherapy or you’re ready to schedule your first appointment, get in touch with LA’s leading muscle recovery, wellness lounge, and cryotherapy spa: Muscle Lab.