The Benefits of Whole Body Cryotherapy
Cryotherapy is one of the latest buzz words in the world of health, fitness, and wellness. Blog posts, social media posts, magazine articles; you see the term “cryotherapy” virtually everywhere these days. But what is cryotherapy? What does cryotherapy do? What are the benefits of cryotherapy? To find the answers to these questions and more, to find the answers to these questions and more, keep on reading.
What is cryotherapy?
The term cryotherapy literally translates to “cold therapy”. It’s a technique that involves exposing the body to super-cold temperatures. The frigid temps can be delivered to a single part of the body, known as “localized cryotherapy”; an ice pack exposed to the knee, the ankle, or the neck, for example. The entire body can also be exposed to subzero temperatures; known as “whole body cryotherapy”.
The vast majority of the magazine articles, blog posts, and social media posts that you see circulating about cold therapy are largely referring to whole body cryotherapy.
Who does cryotherapy work?
Whole body cryotherapy, as the term suggests, involves immersing the entire body (minus the head) to super cold temperatures. A specialized chamber, known as a cryo sauna, is used. The sauna kind of resembles a metal canister and it features a door on the front and an opening at the top. The sauna is entered via the door and the head sticks out of the opening at the top, and nitrogen cooling technology is used to lower the temperature within the chamber, usually within a range of -220 to -300 degrees F, and the temperature is regulated by an operating staff. Whole body cryotherapy sessions are short, usually lasting between 1 to 3 minutes, though they never exceed 4 minutes.
When the session is complete, you exit the vessel and go about the rest of your day. No down-time or recovery time is needed.
What are the benefits of cryotherapy?
Whole body cryotherapy offers a variety of benefits. Many benefits can be experienced after a single session, but this type of cold therapy yields the most effective results when it’s practiced on a regular basis. Many athletes, for example, use whole body cryotherapy multiple times a day.
So, what kind of benefits does whole body cryotherapy provide? Several studies have been conducted to examine the effects of exposing the entire body to subzero temperatures, and those studies have revealed that participants experienced a variety of benefits. Some of the most notable advantages include:
- Reduced arthritic pain. While localized cold therapy has long been used and is well known for alleviating discomfort (the application of ice packs to a sore muscle after a workout or to twisted ankle, for example), whole body cryotherapy has also been found to be highly beneficial for the reduction of arthritis-related pain. A study found that patients who suffered from arthritis experienced a notable reduction in the amount of pain they experienced, and that the therapy was well-tolerated amongst the individuals who participated in the study.
- Faster injury recovery rate. Whole body cryotherapy has been found to speed up the rate of injury recovery, as exposure to icy cold temperatures can help to reduce inflammation and lower concentrations of muscle cell damage markers. It’s for this reason that cryotherapy is largely used as a medical physical treatment in sports medicine.
- Reduced anxiety and depression. Exposure to the subzero temperatures that are used in whole body cryotherapy have been found to reduce the symptoms that are associated with mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression. That’s because the super-cold temperatures can illicit physiological hormonal responses, such as the triggering the release of endorphins, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. These hormones have a direct impact on mood and imbalances in these hormones are linked to anxiety and depression. Thus, whole body cryotherapy can be a beneficial treatment for those who suffer from these mood disorders.
- Mood enhancement. Not only does whole body cryotherapy help to alleviate the symptoms that are associated with anxiety and depression, but it also provides mood enhancement in individuals who do not suffer from such disorders. Again, this is due to the fact that exposing the body to freezing temperatures triggers the release of adrenaline, noradrenaline, and endorphins; hormones that make you feel happier, more positive, and even more energetic. Add in the fact that it can help to alleviate pain and discomfort, and it’s easy to see how whole body cryotherapy can give your mood a boost.
- Boosts energy levels and reduces fatigue. A lot of whole body cryotherapy users report that they feel more energetic and less tired after their sessions. The energy boost and reduced fatigue is likely due to the fact that the subzero temps trigger the release of endorphins and adrenaline, reduce inflammation, and boost blood flow. When you take these factors into consideration, it stands to reason that you’d feel more chipper after a cryotherapy session.
- Improved skin. Those who suffer from skin conditions also benefit from whole body cryotherapy. Studies have found that exposing the body to subzero temperatures minimized atopic dermatitis, a skin disease that is marked by chronic inflammation and causes excessive dryness and itching. Since cryotherapy can boost antioxidant levels in the blood and minimize inflammation, it helps to alleviate the side effects that are associated with atopic dermatitis, as well as other skin conditions.
- Metabolic disease prevention. Some studies have found that whole body cryotherapy can help to minimize oxidative stress and inflammation, while also increasing antioxidants in the blood. As such, scientists believe that it may be an effective way to prevent the development of metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.
- May support weight loss. It is also suspected that whole body cryotherapy can help to accelerate weight loss. Proponents of cold therapy state that it can help to speed up metabolic rate, as exposure to brutal cold triggers the body’s fight or flight response, or the release of adrenaline and norepinephrine, which may help to support weight loss.
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If you’re interests are piqued and you’d like to give cryotherapy a try for yourself, get in touch with us today! We’re a leading cryotherapy Los Angeles spa, and we’d love to help you experience all the wonderful benefits that this treatment can provide.