If you’ve played sports, been a regular gym-goer, or just like to stay active, you’re probably at least somewhat familiar with cryotherapy. From ice baths post game or workout to using cold packs for icing sore muscles, cold therapy has long been used to speed up the process of muscle recovery and recuperation.
Cryotherapy is another form of cold treatment that speeds up recovery time for injuries, reduces muscle soreness, and improves body function for increased athletic performance.
Learn what cryotherapy is, how it works, and discover some cryotherapy benefits for sports and fitness.
What Is Cryotherapy?
You may have heard of cryotherapy before, but what exactly is it and how does it work?
Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) is an innovative and holistic wellness solution that enables the human body to recover and rejuvenate itself naturally via exposure to extremely low temperatures.
During cryotherapy, the body is briefly is exposed to sub-zero degree temperatures to trigger the body’s mechanisms of self-protection, self-recovery, and self-rejuvenation.
- Exposure to extremely low temperatures (-180° F to -245° F for 2.5 minutes)
- Stimulates skin thermoreceptors, activating a central nervous system response
- Blood is enriched with red blood cells, oxygen, and other enzymes
- Toxins and metabolic waste are broken down and removed
- Enriched blood flows back to the body’s peripheral, providing health benefits
Cryotherapy refers to the actual cold treatment, which takes place in an enclosed tub or chamber. The extreme cold is typically facilitated by proximity to liquid nitrogen or exposure to refrigerated air.
A trained guide oversees the treatment and provides protective gear (in the form of special gloves and socks) to the user. The cryotherapy guide then observes as the individual spends roughly 3 minutes exposed to the cold and ensures that they have no issues during the recovery period as blood flows back into the extremities.
Cryotherapy Has a Long History
While cryotherapy has gained recent popularity with professional athletes, celebrities, and health conscious individuals in the last two decades, applying cold treatments and using ice baths to reduce soreness and recover from injuries has been around much longer than you might think. In fact, Egyptians used cold to treat injuries and signs of inflammation as early as 2,500 BCE.
Cryotherapy as we know it has been around for the last few decades and over the years, and it has been researched and improved upon dramatically.
The first whole body cryotherapy chamber was built in Japan in the late 1970s and was introduced to parts of Europe in the 1980s. It’s only in the 2000s that whole-body cryotherapy has been used and popularized in the USA and Australia.
While cryotherapy is recent to the last century, people have been subjecting themselves to extreme cold conditions with ice baths and cold-water submersions for generations. Cryotherapy is a faster and more efficient method to engage in cold therapy, with results that keep people coming back for more.
Cryotherapy Uses Natural Body Recovery
Cryotherapy is so successful at increasing recovery time and efficiency because it utilizes the body’s natural process for healing.
Exposing the body to sub-zero temperatures causes the shrinking of blood vessels and capillaries in the body. The body, sensing extreme cold, acts to preserve itself through a survival mechanism of bringing blood into the body’s core to protect vital organs.
After the few minutes of cryotherapy, the human body realizes that the cold sensation is gone, and the heart begins to pump blood back into the rest of the body and the extremities (hands and feet).
The oxygen and nutrient rich blood pumps back into areas that the body thinks are damaged and in need of repair, supplying a “boost” to damaged and normally functioning parts of the body. In addition to internal recovery, the cold helps repair and relax muscles that have been broken down from intense physical activity.
Cryotherapy Is Safe
The top concern for individuals undergoing cryotherapy treatment is that they could be in some way injured by the extreme cold. However, cryotherapy treatment has been honed to provide maximum benefits and results in a very short window of cold exposure with an emphasis on participant safety.
Individuals wear protective garments on their hands, feet, and body–typically underwear-like clothing, gloves, and socks that insulate the extremities and protect against any harmful effects of cold exposure.
Trained individuals oversee treatment and guide participants through the process, checking in at regular intervals to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Cryotherapy itself is a safe treatment that is based on already popular methods of treating pain and injuries. Doctors recommend using ice packs and cooling gels to soothe sore muscles and aid in injury recovery; cryotherapy acts as a whole body “ice pack” that promotes faster healing throughout the body.
Cryotherapy utilizes the body’s natural processes to aid in recovery, and as long as precautions are taken to protect the body’s extremities and limit exposure time, cryotherapy is just as safe as any other cold treatment–if not more so.
Benefits of Cryotherapy for Sports & Fitness
Whole body cryotherapy helps reduce pain and promote healing in the body and can offer benefits specific to athletic performance.
Cryotherapy can help improve your performance and recovery as an athlete or adapt your body for increased fitness and workout sessions. Replace outdated ice baths and cold packs with state-of-the-art technology that facilitates natural body repair.
Body & Health Benefits of Cryotherapy:
- Accelerates muscle recovery
- Increases energy
- Reduces muscle soreness & inflammation
- Relieves tendonitis pain
- Quicker recovery time from injuries
- Improves muscle strength and joint function
- Increases oxygenated blood circulation
Since cryotherapy offers muscle pain relief, it allows individuals the opportunity to heal and get back to their normal fitness routine faster than the time it typical takes to rest and recuperate.
Cryotherapy isn’t a miracle treatment, but it can offer a lot of health and performance benefits in a short amount of time.
At Elite Wellness, we have treated athletes of all ages, along with individuals that want to reap the health and performance benefits of cryotherapy treatment.
Cryotherapy Aids in Enhanced Performance
Cryotherapy primes the body for sports and athletic activity and optimizes recovery for sore muscles, in addition to providing a sense of well-being and rounding out a healthy wellness routine.
A body that consistently recovers from trauma, overuse, and broken-down muscles is better prepared to perform at its best in the next challenge or occasion of physical exertion. Don’t wait until your body is feeling tires or sore. Prime yourself for the best recovery with cryotherapy and achieve peak performance in whatever you do.
- Utilize advances technologies and therapies to accelerate muscle recovery and bounce back quicker from injuries.
- Reduce the drawn-out timeline of ice baths and cold packs to a 3-minute cryotherapy session that has the same, if not more, benefits.
- Experience a quicker recovery time from surgeries and physical therapy due to improved muscle repair and healing.
- Increase your physical abilities and performance, regardless of your current fitness level or experience.
- Since cryotherapy treatment increases blood circulation and helps relived soreness, pain, and muscle spasms, even one treatment can leave you feeling better and improve your athletic performance and fitness level.
- Healing faster means you can get back to the field, gym, or training area sooner and your body is prepared for everything that you plan to put it through.
- Improve the condition of your body and mind through tension relieving practices and detoxifying therapies.
- Cryotherapy does just improve the way your body recovers, it also improves the way you feel and boosts your mood.
- The refreshing cooling and feeling of transformation adds a mental aspect of rejuvenation as well. Feeling better (mentally and physically) often helps us perform better.
- Maintain your health through tailored health and wellness programs. We offer a variety of services to help you thrive, from whole body cryotherapy to partial treatment and other recovery services.
- Cryotherapy, whether whole body or partial cryotherapy, offers a fast an easy way to tackle soreness, pain, and injury after athletic performance or sports activities.
- Cryotherapy can also increase skin elasticity and ensure that your body is in the best condition for rapid muscle, tissue, and cell repair.
Partial Body Cryotherapy (PBC)
Partial body cryotherapy devices also exist to target specific areas of the body for accelerated recovery and healing. Unlike whole body cryotherapy, partial cryotherapy doesn’t require protective gear and can be done with a handheld device that applies cold to the desired area of the body.
If you aren’t quite ready to take the leap into whole body cryotherapy or want to focus on just one area of body repair and healing, try our partial body cryotherapy treatment.
Many body recovery and performance facilities (Elite Wellness included) have state of the art devices to utilize cryotherapy technology for targeted healing.
We have a non-invasive treatment device that uses thermal shock (warm and cold cycles at varying times and temperatures) to provide rapid treatment relief to the applied area. By using thermographic imaging, we can even track the treatment and offer visible progress of your treatment.
Consistency Is Key
Like most other recovery treatments, it typically takes more than one session to notice a difference in your body. While cryotherapy can offer some incredible results in just one session, in order to get the most out of the treatment and observe a noticeable difference, plan for multiple cryotherapy sessions.
Like any other intense cooling, such as an ice pack or ice bath, a brief application or treatment of cryotherapy can make the user feel better, but consistent use offers long term benefits.
Consistent cryotherapy can increase healing bodily time, boost metabolism, and relieve pain from chronic conditions. If you’re curious to try cryotherapy or have previously had a single cryotherapy treatment and want to benefit from regular session, consider booking a cryotherapy package or multiple sessions.
Often these multi session cryotherapy packages offer discounted rates and can help you experience more noticeable results than one-off sessions at random intervals–especially if you are an athlete or exercise regularly and want to focus on your fitness.
More cryotherapy treatments = more results.
Schedule A Cryotherapy Session
If you’re ready to experience whole body cryotherapy (WBC) and boost your athletic performance and recovery, contact Elite Wellness to help you improve your quality of living through the latest advances in health and wellness technology.
Our cryotherapy sessions are an affordable and easy way to recover from strenuous activity or sports, experience the health and fitness benefits of extreme cooling for the first time, and feel good.
Schedule a cryotherapy session online now or Elite Wellness at 703-944-2626 to learn more about our cryotherapy treatment and make an appointment.