6 Benefits of Cryotherapy
Next Health Staff | | 0 comments
When you work out or play hard during an athletic event, you'll often hear advice telling you to place an ice pack on sore muscles or to take an ice bath. Indeed, many professional athletes swear by the benefits of dipping in an ice-cold bath after an intense game. But why?
It’s all because they know the true value of cryotherapy: a time-tested and proven therapeutic method that may provide numerous benefits to your body and mind. Not sure what to expect from a clinical cryotherapy appointment at Next Health?
In that case, let’s break down six of the major benefits you might experience if you try cryotherapy for yourself.
What Is Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy, despite its scientific-sounding name, isn't a new form of therapy at all. In fact, people have known about the benefits of applying cold implements, like ice packs or patches, onto sore muscles for generations. Additionally, people have jumped into ice-cold pools in places like Europe for hundreds or even thousands of years.
Why? In short, exposing the body to intense cold induces certain physiological effects, many of which may be beneficial.
Earlier versions of cryotherapy have included the above-mentioned ice patch on sore muscles, dips into ice-cold pools or ice baths, and even jumping into snow!
In the modern sense, cryotherapy is a carefully monitored procedure where clients are exposed to extremely low temperatures in cryotherapy chambers, often through the application of cold water or cold nitrogen. However, providers like Next Health are revolutionizing the cryotherapy experience with true whole-body, non-nitrogen cryotherapy chambers and advanced therapeutic techniques.
No matter where or how your cryotherapy takes place, the experience may provide several physical benefits. Let’s take a look at these benefits one by one.
Reduced Pain and Discomfort
For starters, many people find that cryotherapy can reduce pain and discomfort across the board. In a nutshell, the super low temperature calms the nerves and pain receptors in your body, minimizing any pain or discomfort you might currently be feeling.
This numbing effect sticks around for a little while after your cryotherapy experience, as well, so pain relief may continue for some time after your appointment ends. Many athletes have experienced the benefits of this unique aspect of cryotherapy.
After an intense workout, it’s not uncommon for the muscles and joints to become tired or sore. But cryotherapy can soothe the affected nerves and reduce discomfort in the body by constricting blood vessels, calming down pain centers, and more.
In short, cryotherapy’s pain relief benefits are very well known and studied. If you’ve ever applied an ice pack to a sore muscle, you’ve used cryotherapy to self-medicate. Whole-body cryotherapy at Next Health is the same principle taken to the next level.
Because of this, cryotherapy may also help with arthritis and other long-term or chronic pain, especially pain affecting the joints.
Improved Mood and Energy
Additionally, cryotherapy may also help improve the mood and energy levels of those who try it. When the body is exposed to very cold temperatures, it automatically releases hormones called endorphins.
These feel-good hormones are released after intense exercise, sex, and other pleasurable or physically beneficial activities. It’s thought that the body releases endorphins when exposed to cold temperatures as a countermeasure to prevent you from becoming too uncomfortable.
But since cryotherapy at Next Health is carefully observed, you never have to worry about health risks. Instead, you just benefit from the endorphins and the mood boost that might follow shortly after.
Even better, the endorphin boost may stick with you for some time after leaving the whole-body cryotherapy chamber. Endorphins last for quite a while in the bloodstream, so the sudden boost of these feel-good hormones you get from cryotherapy may help you feel great for the rest of the day, week, or even longer!
Reduced Mood Disorder Symptoms
Because of the released endorphins described above, some individuals may experience a reduction in the symptoms of mood disorders, such as depression or anxiety. While not a treatment for these disorders in and of itself, cryotherapy can help individuals overcome their symptoms or be used in conjunction with other therapeutic remedies.
By forcing the body to release endorphins, cryotherapy can counteract some of the other hormones that your body may be released to cause the above-mentioned disorders. Again, cryotherapy isn’t intended to treat anxiety, depression, or other mental or mood disorders.
But when used correctly, some individuals may experience alleviation of their symptoms regardless. Even individuals without disorders could find that they feel lighter, happier, or more energetic after cryotherapy than before.
Increased Antioxidant Levels
Some studies have shown that cryotherapy increases antioxidant production in the body regardless of current health levels or any injuries. Antioxidants are special compounds that capture free radical oxygen molecules, which carry the potential to damage the body’s tissues. The more free radicals you have, the likelier you’ll experience inflammation or tissue damage.
Antioxidant levels counteract free radicals and may help boost your wellness significantly while also reducing inflammation. Some research suggests that higher antioxidant levels are associated with increased health and reduced risk for long-term health issues.
In this way, cryotherapy may be able to improve your bodily wellness in a holistic, long-term way when enjoyed as a regular appointment or staple part of your health regimen. If you want to know more about these potential benefits, contacting a Next Health wellness specialist is a good idea; they can work with you to develop a treatment or therapy regimen perfectly suited for your unique needs.
On top of all of the above benefits, cryotherapy may also provide skin therapy benefits by improving the symptoms of eczema or atopic dermatitis.
Atopic dermatitis and eczema can cause itchy, dry, scaly, or patchy skin. Cryotherapy might help with some of these symptoms, though the exact reasons aren't fully understood. It might be because cryotherapy improves antioxidant levels and reduces discomfort, minimizing the likelihood of a skin symptom flare-up or reaction.
Furthermore, some individuals may experience benefits to acne upon undergoing a cryotherapy session. Lots of acne is caused by hormone disruptions, skin reactions, and overproduction of skin oil called sebum.
Cryotherapy could help your skin become healthier, just like the rest of your body, by releasing endorphins, reducing discomfort, and increasing antioxidant content. However, to benefit from this essential effect, it’s important that you only enjoy cryotherapy under a licensed and supervised facility like Next Health.
Lastly, those who experience cryotherapy may also benefit from weight loss or weight management improvements. Cryotherapy alone can’t cause you to lose weight or stop you from gaining weight if you eat unhealthily.
That said, there is some evidence that cryotherapy can support the weight loss process and cause your weight loss efforts to become even more effective.
Why? Basically, by making your body much colder, it has to work harder to stay warm and burn more calories. This short-term effect isn’t the end of the weight loss benefits you might experience; by kickstarting your body’s metabolism during a short, focused cryotherapy session, you’ll cause your metabolism to remain at an increased, high-alert state throughout the day.
As a result, your body may burn calories more efficiently for some time after your cryotherapy appointment ends. Additionally, cryotherapy assists with muscle pain as described above. Because of this, it could make it easier for you to get back into or maintain a fitness regimen, even if exercise is uncomfortable because you aren’t used to the intense muscle motions quite yet.
Once more, cryotherapy alone is not a weight-loss treatment. But when used in conjunction with other weight loss efforts, like exercise and proper nutrition, cryotherapy could supercharge your efforts and may lead to better weight loss results than you would experience otherwise.
Is Cryotherapy Right for You?
Ultimately, cryotherapy is a widely-known therapeutic technique and has proven benefits for athletes, exercisers, and even regular folks. At Next Health, cryotherapy can be a rejuvenating and enjoyable experience and can even be experienced with a friend or family member.
Want to learn more or consider whether cryotherapy is a good choice for your wellness goals? Talk to one of our specialists today or contact us to sign up for an appointment at a Next Health location near you!
Whole-body cryotherapy: empirical evidence and theoretical perspectives | NCBI
Cryotherapy: Why Pro Athletes Like It Chilly | NRP.org
Whole-Body Cryotherapy in Athletes: From Therapy to Stimulation. An Updated Review of the Literature | NCBI
Understanding Endorphins and Their Importance in Pain Management | NCBI
The cold truth: the role of cryotherapy in the treatment of injury and recovery from exercise | NCBI
Whole-Body Cryotherapy Is an Effective Method of Reducing Abdominal Obesity in Menopausal Women with Metabolic Syndrome | NCBI