Cryotherapy (cold therapy) is the process of immersing the whole body or target areas to just-above-freezing temperatures. Invented by Dr. Toshima Yamauchi in 1978, cryotherapy was originally used to treat pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, but has since evolved into a global sensation—literally—with fans of freezing therapies worldwide.
Why the Big Chill?
The benefits of cryotherapy range from pain management to giving our metabolism boost—great for athletes as well as aging or compromised immune systems. Patients can opt for a cryosauna, where they are encased from the shoulders down, or stroll through a walk-in cryochamber. In both cases the body is immersed in close-to-freezing temps for three minutes (the standard length of time), after which some amazing things happen:
Why Ice is Nice
Pain Management: Cryotherapy is known for pain management and helping cortisol levels decrease. The cold treatment reduces skin temps and, when administered often enough, can actually reduce the body’s core temp slightly. Athletes love the freeze to treat injuries by reducing inflammation and swelling and to effectively address short-term pain management.
Metabolism Boost: Because your body temp drops after just one session, your metabolism kick-starts to raise core temps, burning calories faster. Not just right after but going forward—it’s really a perfect re-boot if you’re looking to shed a few pounds quickly.
Endorphin Activator: This could be where the phrase “just chill” came from. Cryotherapy can assist in releasing endorphins—our positive mood responders—acting like an anti-depressant in some cases.
Youthful Glow: Cool temps do wonders for our complexion, stimulating an increase in collagen production, which helps fight wrinkles and boosts regeneration at a cellular level. Skin feels tighter, youthful flow and glow enhanced—we look and feel brighter!
Brain Power: A blast of icy temps clears out cobwebs fast by increasing oxygen levels linked to our cognitive abilities: focus is restored; we concentrate better and improve clarity.
Body Power: Cryotherapy has been linked to increased energy levels, helping us recover from injuries and improving levels of fatigue. When blood flow is increased through vasodilation, high blood pressure decreases, muscles are rested, and healing is improved.
Insomnia: Advocates of a good night’s rest point to cryotherapy for helping with insomnia and troubled sleep patterns by increasing the melatonin production that promotes sleep. We rest better, and better sleep also enables us to fight off sickness by keeping our immune systems healthy and running smoothly.
Overall Boost: As part of our physical maintenance strategy, cryotherapy enhances our fatigue fighters by helping us to sustain work levels overall. Improved mental and physical health creates greater potential for achievement in all of our activities, benefiting our immune systems, too.
With any new treatment it’s important to research companies and find the one that feels best to you and fits your goals. Also, get medical input from your doctor if you feel at risk with any procedure. For those of you ready to take the plunge, you’ll be in great company—cryotherapy is spreading quickly as the positive results pour in. Freeze? Please!!
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