Cryotherapy is a treatment that involves exposing your body to extreme cold temperatures for a few minutes. It has become a popular treatment option, with claims that it can reduce inflammation, boost metabolism, improve mood, and even slow aging. However, there is still much confusion surrounding cryotherapy, and many people are unsure of how it works or what to expect.
What Is Cryotherapy?
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, cryotherapy " exposes the body to frigid temperatures (-110 to -140°C) for several minutes." There are two types of cryotherapy: whole-body (WBC) and localized cryotherapy.
Whole-body cryotherapy involves stepping into a chamber, wearing minimal clothing, and exposing your body to cold temperatures for two to three minutes. Localized cryotherapy is a more focused treatment that targets specific areas of your body.
How Does It Work?
During cryotherapy, your body's temperature drops significantly, which causes your blood vessels to constrict and dilate rapidly. This process increases oxygen and nutrient flow to your body's tissues and organs, triggering an anti-inflammatory response. This response can result in various benefits, including reduced muscle soreness and increased energy.
Cryotherapy has been claimed to alleviate symptoms of many conditions, including chronic pain, arthritis, anxiety, depression, and even migraine headaches. Many people also use cryotherapy to improve recovery time after exercise or as a tool to help burn fat. Research shows cryotherapy can help reduce inflammation, improve mental health, increase energy, and boost metabolism.
While cryotherapy is generally safe, there are some risks involved. The most common side effect of cryotherapy is skin irritation, which can be prevented by wearing protective clothing and only exposing the skin to cold temperatures for a short period.
Another potential risk of cryotherapy is frostbite. Frostbite can occur if your skin is exposed to cold temperatures for too long. Other risks include nausea, dizziness, and allergic reactions, although rare.
Preparing for Cryotherapy
If you're interested in trying cryotherapy, there are a few things to keep in mind before your first session. First, make sure you have a clear understanding of the benefits and risks associated with the treatment.
Next, consider your current health status and any medical conditions you may have. It's important to consult your doctor before trying cryotherapy to ensure it's safe for you. Lastly, dress appropriately and follow the instructions of your cryotherapy technician during the treatment session.
What to Expect
Visiting a cryotherapy clinic should not be a daunting experience. The staff will guide you throughout the process, ensuring you are confident and relaxed. All necessary equipment will be provided, and you’ll be asked to change into minimal protective clothing before entering the cabin.
During the therapy, the staff will monitor you to ensure you feel comfortable and safe. Some people may feel slightly tingling or numbness during the process, but this should disappear a few minutes after the session.
If you're uncomfortable with visiting a cryotherapy clinic, various at-home devices are available. However, it's essential to do thorough research and consult with your physician before opting for an at-home cryotherapy device.