Cryotherapy dates back to at least the 1600s, and possibly much older than that. Typically, it is used to treat minor aches and pains of the arms and legs but over time, cryotherapy has been implemented in more ambitious treatments for a whole host of ailments.
Today, cryotherapy is more known for the list of celebrities who swear by it. Many elite pro athletes use cryotherapy to speed up their recovery time from injuries. Some actresses and models even admit to relying on a bit of time in the cryo sauna to help them boost their metabolisms which in turn can cause weight loss.
With today’s blog post, I want to discuss cryotherapy’s origins, the theory behind it, and how it is commonly used locally by Phoenix whole-body cryotherapy practitioners such as Cryoworld Therapy.
What Cryotherapy is…
Cryotherapy gets its name from the Greek words “cryo” which translates to ‘cold’ and therapeía which of course means to cure.
What is cryotherapy? This is a very broad technique. It can be used in a multitude of ways for a multitude of reasons. It is the intentional utilization of extremely cold temperatures to induce biological reactions that result in desired results.
Extremely pin point application of cold temperatures can destroy the cells that make up skin lesions, causing them to eventually fall off.
A broader, whole body cryotherapy approach can send the entire body into a state where the metabolism speeds up to bring the its temperature back up to normal, thereby burning fat.
The underlying principle of cold therapy is the invoking of the “fight or flight” response in a person. So, instead of your body attempting to maintain thermal stasis, it starts expending energy to several survival mechanisms. Since your body thinks it may be in danger, it sends the blood away from the extremities and keeps it closer to the vital organs. This results in a stable core temperature.
Positive Cryotherapy Outcomes
The recovery time for athletic injuries is reduced significantly
Pain is relieved immediately
The permanent curing of various skin lesions
Increased metabolic activity
Temporary increase in blood flow to body tissue
Faster elimination of toxins
Boosted immune system due to the triggering of heightened leptin levels
Increased hormone levels which give a boost of energy
Reduced inflammation and other arthritis symptoms
How Cryotherapy is Administered
Local cryotherapy is the more often used form of cryotherapy which includes the old tried and true method of applying ice packs or even frozen foods to the body part that needs the treatment. The whole-body effects such as metabolic and immune system increases tend to not be triggered by this.
Whole body cryotherapy requires a person to either stand or sit inside of a chamber that exposes their skin to temperatures as low as -200F or less. The treatments typically last 90 seconds but some can go for as long as 4 minutes. It is important that whole-body cryo be done with another person present at all times to ensure safety. Excessive use of whole-body cryo chambers in an enclosed area can reduce the oxygen in the air and make breathing difficult.
Some of the best athletes on Earth, like Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Lebron James are cryotherapy’s most famous clients. They use it to prevent injury, recover from injuries faster, and reduce muscle soreness from intense workouts. While its users are famous, it is no passing fad. Whole-body cryotherapy goes back to Japan in the 1970s. The first uses were for rheumatic illnesses and other age-related issues.
After taking root in Japan, modern cryotherapy also impressed the medical and athletic community in Europe before finally becoming popular in the United States in the last 15 years. Since then, people who begin by asking “what is cryotherapy?” end up becoming hooked on getting their cryotherapy treatments on a regular schedule to maintain their health and maybe even lose some weight!