Top 5 Benefits of Cryotherapy
Whole body cryotherapy, aka cold therapy, has become increasingly popular among professional athletes, celebrities, fitness enthusiasts, chronic pain sufferers and even the everyday person – but why? According to a 2016 industry survey with over 300 respondents, cryotherapy goers have reported that a 3-minute chill session in the Impact cryosauna provides them the following benefits:
Have you ever put an ice pack on a sprained ankle to reduce swelling and ease the pain? Although not scientifically proven, conceptually, cryotherapy helps achieve similar results – but instead of focusing on a single area, it’s a whole-body experience.
If you’re an athlete, you’re most likely familiar with ice baths. The goal of an ice bath is to use cold temperatures to reduce inflammation and speed-up the muscle recovery process. Cryotherapy, is essentially an ice bath on steroids, however, it takes half the time – and there’s no cold water immersion involved.
Many professional sports teams and collegiate athletic programs have implemented cryotherapy in their training rooms as an ice bath alternative.
A 2008 clinical trial found that taking a cold shower 2-3x a week can help relieve symptoms of depression. Exposing the body to cold temperatures is said to help the release of endorphins, the “happiness” hormones. Like cold showers, cryotherapy surrounds the body in extremely low temperatures thus providing many of the same benefits as a cold shower.
Many scientists believe that exposure to cold temperatures can help produce brown fat – the type of fat that utilizes more calories to keep the body warm and burn extra body fat. Although there is no direct correlation between weight loss and cryotherapy, many cryotherapy users have found that doing cryotherapy on a regular basis has helped them achieve their weight loss goals.
Whole Body Wellness
Specific benefits aside, whole body cryotherapy is an excellent complement to anyone’s wellness routine. Whether you’re trying to get in shape, look younger, or simply feel better, cryotherapy can help you achieve your wellness goals.
ADDITIONAL BENEFITS OF CRYOTHERAPY
- Pain relief and muscle healing
Cryotherapy can help with muscle pain, as well as some joint and muscle disorders, such as arthritis. It may also promote faster healing of athletic injuries.
Doctors have long recommended using ice packs on injured and painful muscles. Doing so may increase blood circulation after the ice pack is removed, promoting healing and pain relief.
A study published in 2000 found that cryotherapy offered temporary relief from the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. The research found that cryotherapy with ice packs could reduce the damaging effects of intense exercise. People who used cryotherapy also reported less pain.
- Reduced inflammation
Inflammation is one way the immune system fights infection. Sometimes the immune system becomes overly reactive. The result is chronic inflammation, which is linked to health problems, such as cancer, diabetes, depression, dementia, and arthritis.
As such, reducing inflammation could also improve overall health and reduce the risk of numerous chronic ailments.
Some studies suggest that cryotherapy can reduce inflammation.
- Preventing dementia
If cryotherapy reduces inflammation, it could also reduce the risk of developing dementia. A 2012 paper puts forward the possibility of cryotherapy being able to reduce the inflammation and oxidative stress associated with dementia, mild cognitive impairment, and other age-related forms of cognitive decline.
4. Preventing and treating cancer
Because whole body cryotherapy might reduce inflammation, it is possible it could also lower the risk of developing cancer.
So far, there is no evidence that cryotherapy can treat cancer once the disease has developed. However, medical cryotherapy is a well-established treatment for certain forms of cancer.
A doctor might use cryotherapy to freeze off cancer cells on the skin or cervix and occasionally to remove other cancers.
5. Reducing anxiety and depression
Research findings that cryotherapy may reduce inflammation suggest that it could treat mental health conditions linked to inflammation. Some preliminary research on cryotherapy and mental health also supports this claim.
A small 2008 study found that in a third of people with depression or anxiety, cryotherapy reduced symptoms by at least 50 percent. This was a much greater reduction than in people who did not undergo cryotherapy.
6. Improving symptoms of eczema
The chronic inflammatory skin condition known as eczema can cause intensely itchy patches of dry skin. A small 2008 study of people with eczema had participants stop using eczema medications. They then tried cryotherapy. Many of them saw improvements in their eczema symptoms, though some complained of frostbite on small areas of the skin.
7. Treating Migraine Headaches
Targeted cryotherapy that focuses on the neck may help prevent migraine headaches. In a 2013 study, researchers applied cryotherapy to the necks of people who had migraines. The treatment reduced but did not eliminate their pain.