What Does Cryotherapy Actually Do?
Next Health Staff | | 0 comments
There are dozens of new and experimental treatments in the wellness industry these days. But cryotherapy is one of the clear winners, being offered at a variety of health clinics and medical locations throughout the country.
Despite its newfound popularity, many people don’t fully understand what cryotherapy is or what cryotherapy actually does. After all, how can cooling your body down induce so many positive physical benefits or assist with mood disorders?
There are real and scientifically-backed reasons for why cryotherapy is so effective and why we’d recommend it for so many people. Let’s examine cryotherapy more closely and look into all of its benefits so you fully understand how it works and what it does when you step inside a whole-body cryotherapy chamber.
What is Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy is a revolutionary new treatment spreading throughout the country, and for good reason -- it can lead to several beneficial effects.
Cryotherapy involves exposing your body to very low temperatures for short periods of time (usually between three and five minutes). There are a number of different cryotherapy methods or treatment types:
- Cryotherapy booths have you sit or stand in a closed booth while being exposed to intensely cold temperatures. You only wear minimal clothes and some protective gear for your hands and feet in these sessions.
- Some cryotherapy clinics use cold water baths instead.
- Targeted cryotherapy involves applying ice packs or coolant sprays to specific areas of the body, such as the face or sore muscles.
Regardless, cryotherapy works by inducing several physiological effects. For example, cryotherapy:
- Causes your muscles and skin cells to contract.
- Releases endorphins and other hormones in response to intense cold.
- Changes how hormones and oxygenated blood flow throughout the body.
Each cryotherapy session will include a number of safety provisions to prevent side effects. For instance, whole body cryotherapy chambers, like those used at Next|Health, require you to wear protective gear around your hands and ears to avoid damage.
Additionally, cryotherapy wellness experts are always on hand to assist if necessary and to end the cryotherapy session early if you’re new and have difficulty lasting for the entire session.
Indeed, cryotherapy is very safe when administered properly. Furthermore, there are generally no lasting negative effects since cryotherapy sessions are always purposefully kept to short time limits.
How Do You Get Cryotherapy?
You can get cryotherapy at a variety of wellness clinics, such as Next|Health. Whole-body cryotherapy relies on exposure to extremely low temperatures. For a specific example, Next|Health’s cryotherapy treatment exposes your body to temperatures of less than -150°F. These temperatures are difficult to create at home, so real cryotherapy must be carried out at a licensed and regulated location.
So, what does cryotherapy actually do aside from making you feel super cold? In fact, cryotherapy can provide many benefits and cause several rapid changes in your body. Let’s explore what cryotherapy does point by point.
Reduces Pain and Soreness
For starters, cryotherapy causes the body to automatically release endorphins: the "feel good" hormones of your endocrine system. This, in turn, induces a state of relaxation and can relieve many types of chronic pain you might be feeling.
Simultaneously, the extreme cold numbs pain either throughout your whole body or in targeted areas. This works for the same reason that athletes will sometimes take ice-cold baths after an intense workout or game. The cold numbs the nerves sending pain signals to the brain, helping the body to relax and heal properly.
Many people undergo cryotherapy to treat pinched nerves and other chronic pain, although it may also work for acute injuries.
Cryotherapy provides benefits beyond physical pain relief. It induces a number of hormonal responses as well, causing the body to release noradrenaline, adrenaline, and endorphins at the same time.
All of these hormones can produce positive effects for those who experience chronic mood disorders, including depression and anxiety. Certain studies have found that cryotherapy can be an effective short-term solution for these issues and more.
However, it’s important to recognize that cryotherapy is not a long-term solution for any mood disorder. Cryotherapy should instead be considered as a potential option for short-term relief.
Lessens Migraine Symptoms
Cryotherapy’s mental benefits don’t stop there. In fact, there’s some evidence that cryotherapy can relieve migraine symptoms. It does this by numbing many of the nerves around your neck, which are the originator nerves for many migraine symptoms.
Furthermore, cryotherapy can cool any blood passing through the carotid arteries, which are naturally close to the surface of the skin and very exposed to temperature changes. Because of this process, either whole body or targeted cryotherapy can be beneficial.
Of course, regular headaches can also be relieved at least in part from cryotherapy.
Soothes Some Skin Conditions
Your skin could benefit from cryotherapy’s topical work as well. Specifically, cryotherapy may be effective at soothing atopic dermatitis, which is characterized by dry and itchy skin alongside other minor symptoms. Cryotherapy boosts antioxidant levels and reduces inflammation, which may alleviate the core symptoms of atopic dermatitis and other skin conditions.
Whole-body cryotherapy is most effective for this. Furthermore, cryotherapy can help to reduce sebaceous gland output. The skin's sebaceous glands are responsible for creating sebum: a natural moisturizing oil that, when overproduced, can lead to acne outbreaks across the skin.
Lower sebaceous gland output often results in lower acne as a side effect, as well as healthier, less oily skin overall.
As mentioned above, cryotherapy reduces inflammation across the board, forcing blood vessels to contract and lowering the discomfort and pain that comes with muscular and tissue inflammation.
Athletes, intense exercisers, and anyone with whole body or targeted inflammation and chronic irritation may benefit from the soothing, numbing effects of cryotherapy as a result. Repeated cryotherapy treatments may result in longer-term benefits, such as preventing inflammation from returning as quickly or as often.
In reducing inflammation, athletes may benefit from faster recovery times. Muscles often become clenched or strained during intense exercise, but this prevents them from repairing as effectively or quickly. Muscles can also not build new tissue until they are relaxed.
By inducing a relaxed response, athletes and exercisers can enjoy lower recovery times and a more comfortable recovery period after an injury.
How Many Cryotherapy Sessions Do You Need?
Some people try cryotherapy just once for the experience. But other people will engage in moderate or whole body cryotherapy multiple times per week to ensure that their body receives long-term benefits. It all depends on what you need or want.
Regardless, whole body cryotherapy sessions never last for longer than a few minutes. This prevents the risk of side effects such as frostbite. If you decide to go with a targeted cryotherapy session, you should never apply an ice pack, a freezing cream, or any other cold implement to your skin for longer than 20 minutes.
How to Make the Most of Your Cryotherapy Session
At Next|Health’s whole body cryotherapy treatment, you’ll be guided through the process by one of our wellness experts, who will explain the procedure and what you should do to prepare. But you can also get ready ahead of time by following these tips:
- Wear dry and loose-fitting clothing, and bring socks and gloves to protect your extremities from frostbite
- During your cryotherapy session, be sure to move around to ensure that your blood flow remains consistent
- If undertaking cryotherapy for a specific treatment, be sure to consult your doctor beforehand to make sure that cryotherapy is right for you
Above all else, don’t hesitate to contact us about our cryotherapy treatment. We can answer any questions you might have and look at potential appointment dates or locations for your convenience. If the experience becomes uncomfortable, you will be allowed to exit the cryo chamber at any time.
All in all, cryotherapy does a lot when used correctly and when practiced safely. It can provide several helpful physical effects, as well as assist with the treatment of certain mood and mental disorders under the right circumstances.
Even better, cryotherapy is an enjoyable and intense experience for all, even beginners.
Next|Health provides a safe, observed environment in which to try out cryotherapy for the first time. We encourage you to contact us about our cryotherapy treatments today.