If you are well-versed on current fitness trends, the concept of cryotherapy is probably on your radar. In this post, we will break it all down - from the science behind Cryotherapy, to how it works, and what it does. Read on for more!
By definition, cryotherapy is the local or general use of low temperatures in medical therapies/treatments. For the purposes of this article, we will talk about the kind of treatment where you immerse your entire body in cold (temps around -220 degrees Fahrenheit), dry air, using a cold chamber, for 2 to 4 minutes at a time.
The Typical Cryo Session
At any designated cryo spot, the process starts with you doffing your street clothes in a changing room, leaving you in nothing but underwear (and a bra if you are a women), mittens, and socks - which will help keep your extremities protected from the extreme cold. You also need to remove any jewelry, because that will freeze, too. You step into the cylindrical cryotherapy chamber, which goes from foot to neck length, and immerses your body in incredibly cold, dry air by pumping liquid nitrogen into the chamber. The chamber then releases the frigidly cold gas in waves, over your entire body. You are free to move around in place, in the chamber, for the duration of the treatment, which only lasts 2 to 4 minutes. Once you’re done, the machine turns off, and you’re free to go.
So, what are the supposed benefits of Cryotherapy? For starters, what it is said to do is reset your circulatory system, as extremely low temperatures cause blood to leave your extremities (arms and legs), and rush to your core, to keep your vital organs warm.
Evidence on the benefits of Cryotherapy are largely anecdotal, but here are some of the reported benefits:
- Relieves muscle pain, most commonly associated with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), but also arthritis.
- Promotes muscle healing.
- Supports weight loss, with one session (3 minutes long) burning up to 600 calories.
- And reduces inflammation.
- Increases alertness, and alleviates jet lag.
Cryotherapy clearly holds a lot of appeal, especially to the competitive athlete. While it isn’t cheap, it is definitely something worth trying, as long as you clear it with a medical professional. It’s inflammation-reducing benefits alone make it something worth paying attention to, for sure.