Prioritize safety with cryotherapy - Next Health explains its safety measures and protocols for worry-free sessions. Call us to learn more about this therapy.
If you follow professional sports at all, you’ve probably seen professional athletes slap ice packs on their sore muscles or talk about the wonders of ice baths. These solutions rely on the same core benefits offered by cryotherapy in general.
Cryotherapy, also known as “ice therapy” or “cold therapy,” is an ancient therapeutic tradition. Its origins go back hundreds or even thousands of years in certain parts of the world, especially in the polar regions where ice is plentiful. In the modern-day, wellness facilities like Next Health now offer whole-body cryotherapy treatments.
If you’ve never tried cryotherapy before, you may not know what to expect or whether this therapy is even safe, to begin with. Today, let’s break down cryotherapy in detail and explore why it is generally safe for people to use.
While now available at next-generation wellness facilities like Next Health, Cryotherapy has actually been around for generations. Basic cryotherapy at its core is as simple as taking an ice bath (cold water immersion therapy) after an intense workout or a professional sports game.
Cryotherapy works on a couple of major principles:
Naturally, cryotherapy does involve exposing your body (or, at times, targeted areas) to intense cold. This does come with some side effects. But given that some basic forms of cryotherapy, like ice patches, are offered at grocery stores, it’s safe to say that cryotherapy is safe overall.
There are a few different types of cryotherapy you might find when shopping or when visiting wellness centers like Next Health:
Regardless, cryotherapy affects tissue in broadly the same way. It constricts blood vessels, numbs nerves, and shocks the body into acting a little differently than it would at room temperature.
It depends on the needs of the patient and the facility you visit.
For example, cryotherapy is sometimes used by doctors and dermatologists to freeze off warts or blisters or to treat other skin conditions. However, the extreme cold in these treatments is not precisely the same type of cold or the same temperature that you would face in a whole body cryotherapy chamber.
As noted above, professional athletes or serious lifters may use cryotherapy to see:
In many ways, cryotherapy calls the body down and helps to redirect blood from the extremities to the vital organs. This physiological response induces several positive side effects, such as increased production of endorphins and other benefits.
But even non-athletes can benefit from some of the effects of cryotherapy. Our day-to-day lives are often hectic and stressful, especially if we work busy jobs or have big families. Cryotherapy may be useful for improving one's mood, relieving the pain or discomfort related to stress, and more.
Cryotherapy is generally safe for anyone in good health. However, it may not be recommended for individuals with heart conditions or other health risks, such as a fever or a high risk of stroke or cardiovascular disease.
Furthermore, cryotherapy is not typically used for children, as their bodies are not fully developed enough to withstand the intense cold or benefit from the advantages mentioned above. Pregnant women, of course, should avoid cryotherapy until after they have given birth to avoid pregnancy-related complications.
Regardless, cryotherapy can be safe provided that it is used responsibly and carefully. Targeted use of cryotherapy, such as through using an ice pack, is always safe since the ice packs (either commercial or homemade) warm up or melt before they can do any damage to tissues.
But other types of cryotherapy, like taking an ice bath, jumping into an icy river, or engaging in whole-body cryotherapy, need to be overseen by at least one other person to be sure of your safety.
For example, jumping in a frozen lake for cryotherapy with your friends can be safe since they can pull you out if the water is a little more shocking or numbing than you expect. Similarly, whole-body cryotherapy at Next Health is always overseen by at least one trained staff member. This staff member can stop the cryotherapy session whenever needed.
While cryotherapy may provide a variety of physical and mental benefits, it also comes with some risks, including:
Of course, Next Health’s cryotherapy treatment doesn’t contain these risks because a trained staff member oversees each appointment.
Still, these potential risks are good examples of why cryotherapy should only be undergone carefully and according to specific rules are health guidelines.
When you sign up for a cryotherapy appointment with Next Health, you’ll be guided through the process from start to finish and be provided with gloves, socks,slippers, and other warming clothes for your extremities. These will ensure that your cryotherapy appointment doesn’t leave your fingers feeling too numb! You are even given headphones and can listen to any song of your choice during the session to help keep the cold more enjoyable.
Additionally, a whole-body cryotherapy session from Next Health only takes three minutes. During those three minutes, your body will experience extreme cold that reaches temperatures of less than -150°F.
As the intense chill settles in, your body will benefit from several physiological changes. However, one of our staff members will oversee your appointment throughout the entire three-minute session. If needed, they can cancel the treatment in the middle.
Once your cryotherapy treatment is done, you’ll be able to rest and relax and warm up in a separate room. Once more, our whole-body cryotherapy treatment doesn’t use liquid nitrogen to achieve cold temperatures, so it doesn’t have the same risks as other facilities’ whole body cryotherapy offerings.
No. While cryotherapy may be very beneficial for boosting general wellness or for alleviating certain types of discomfort, it is not a direct treatment for any known medical condition.
Therefore, whole-body cryotherapy experiences like Next Health’s cryotherapy treatment are not Food and Drug Administration-approved. Cryotherapy isn’t intended as a medical solution. Instead, it’s best to think of cryotherapy as an ancillary wellness solution to be used in conjunction with other medical practices or medicines for severe illnesses or concerns.
If you have a long-term or chronic condition, you may wish to speak to a medical practitioner or doctor before engaging in cryotherapy. Because cryotherapy can be a little shocking for the body, it’s not always safe, depending on the nature of your chronic condition.
That said, many individuals with arthritis or similar conditions associated with chronic pain have found relief through cryotherapy treatments, especially whole-body cryotherapy like we offer at Next Health.
All in all, cryotherapy is generally regarded as safe, especially when overseen by trained professionals or when administered by a fully licensed and staffed wellness facility like Next Health. Our cryotherapy treatment is one of our most popular offerings, especially for those looking to alleviate joint or muscle pain or experience an endorphin boost.
You can check out more about our cryotherapy treatment on its dedicated page, or you can contact us today. Feel free to ask one of our staff members questions or sign up for an appointment at a Next Health location near you!