There has been a lot of recent buzz about a popular method of athletic recovery called “cryotherapy.” Many athletes are turning to cryo to relieve their aching muscles after a day of training or in preparation for an upcoming match or game. Others are turning to cryotherapy for improved circulation and stress reduction.
Cryotherapy is designed to cleanse the blood. During a session, you will be placed in a cryo unit that will dip down to temperatures below -166 degrees Fahrenheit all the way down to -321 degrees. At temperatures this low, your body will enter survival mode and send 80 percent of its blood to your core. This process is known as Vasoconstriction. While in this mode, your blood will pass through your cardiovascular system more times than usual, which means your blood will be enriched with oxygen, nutrients, and enzymes. During your session in the cryo chamber, your body will also rid itself of toxins. When you exit the cryo chamber, the cleansed and enriched blood will circulate through the rest of your body in a process called Vasodilation.
Because of the cold temperatures, some people compare cryotherapy to ice baths that many athletes use for pain relief and muscle recovery. The difference being cryotherapy causes vasoconstriction and then vasodilation where ice baths only cause vasodilation. Vasoconstriction is where all the big benefits come from so trying to compare the two is like comparing a full nights sleep to a 15 minute cat nap. One other difference is that ice baths are often 20-minute sessions, whereas a cryo session is only two to three minutes due to the extreme temperatures.
After a cryo session, your body will be infused with an enriched and invigorated blood supply, which explains why many people often feel energized afterward. In addition to added energy, many people experience pain relief. If you’re suffering from muscle pain, joint stiffness, or overall achiness, you may want to consider signing up for a session. If you’re worried about the cold, be sure to choose a location that has a cryo chamber that alternates between cold and warm air.
Of course, you don’t have to be an athlete to benefit from a cryo session. Many people are turning to cryo for other overall health concerns such as:
- Better sleep
- Stress reduction
- Anxiety and depression
- Improved blood circulation
- A strengthened immune system
Thanks to the endorphins released during a cryo session, you may experience anxiety and depression relief.
There are also cosmetic benefits of cryo. Such benefits are:
- Burning 500-800 calories
- Cellulite reduction
- Increased collagen production
- Improved metabolism
Once your session is complete and you exit the cryo chamber, your body will begin to force itself back to its core temperature, which burns calories. A single session has been known to burn up to 800 calories. What’s even better is the fact that the metabolic benefits stay with you in between sessions.
Whether you’re looking into your first cryo session because of muscle pain, training, or cosmetic reasons, you’re sure to receive a positive and beneficial experience you won’t soon forget.