Cryotherapy is a dry and cold air therapy, free of excess moisture. The temperatures reached during a therapy session are between -200°F and -240°F. While such frigid temperatures would be dangerous in any other environment, dry air does not penetrate the body like the moisture in cold air.
In theory, the hyper-cooled air triggers the body’s natural healing mechanisms, sending your blood away from extremities to the body's core and accelerating your white blood cell delivery and healing process by nearly 50%. Additionally, the brain releases adrenaline, endorphins, and other hormones, helping to regulate the organs. During the two-to-three-minute session, your body will experience an energy increase, self-healing, and an immune system boost.
According to experts in the field, a whole-body cryotherapy session increases nutrient flow, removes toxins, and helps repair soft tissue and joints. The potential benefits of cryotherapy make it beneficial for athletes and any number of patients suffering from inflammatory conditions or even psychological issues. The treatment is often touted as an anti-inflammation therapy.
Cryotherapy and the Fight Against Inflammation
When the body experiences an injury, it naturally responds through a process known as inflammation. Typically, inflammation is a good thing and suggests your body is working to stave off infection or other problems. Unfortunately, some people suffer from chronic inflammatory conditions, which result in persistent pain, swelling, redness, and stiffness, regardless of an injury. In other words, an inflammation disorder is the result of an overactive immune system.
Cryotherapy, experts suggest, is a potential treatment option for inflammation. The rapid cooling therapy encourages and enhances the body’s natural healing process, which ultimately reduces the symptoms of inflammatory conditions. There are at least three conditions that some treatment experts recommend cryotherapy for: fibromyalgia, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
A chronic pain disorder, fibromyalgia is the result of overstimulated pain sensors in the brain. Cryotherapy works predominantly by manipulating the pain sensors in your brain to encourage rapid compliance of natural healing mechanisms. According to many reports, some fibromyalgia patients have experienced relief with whole-body cryotherapy; some have even experienced long-term relief.
People suffering from psoriasis experience skin cell growth at an elevated level. Cryotherapy can help reduce the overstimulation of skin cells production by slowing the skin's natural production cycle. As the body focuses on warming the core, the blood is rushed from the skin inward, effectively resetting the skin growth cycle. Therefore, hypothetically, cryotherapy can reduce the effects of psoriasis and provide a healthier complexion through the altered skin production cycle.
Cryotherapy was originally developed to treat rheumatoid arthritis and inflammation. The hyper-cooled air provides quick relief from joint pain and can force inflammation to subside. Most patients experience immediate relief, but the effects are temporary, meaning continued therapy is needed to experience long-lasting benefits.
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Cryotherapy and Anxiety and Depression
Some experts also argue that cryotherapy can help patients suffering from anxiety and depression. During the session, the brain releases many hormones, including endorphins and other “feel-good” hormones. The increase in these specific hormones and the adrenaline boost can have an effect on mood and energy levels following the therapy. More research needs to be done on these claims.
There are many potential benefits to using cryotherapy, especially as it relates to inflammation. If you are interested in scheduling a cryotherapy session, talk to your doctor first to ensure you are a decent candidate.
Would you consider cryotherapy? Leave a comment explaining why or why not.