If you’ve ever seen a picture or video of someone in a cryo tank, you may think it sounds like an extreme form of torture. But cryotherapy is actually a very popular treatment that helps people recover from injuries and get back into shape faster.
It’s also great for outdoor enthusiasts who want to enjoy the outdoors without having to worry about getting injured. This article gives you some interesting facts about cryotherapy so you can decide if it’s right for you.
What is Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy is a technique where cold temperatures are applied to the body. The benefits include pain relief, improved blood flow, improved muscle recovery, and even mood enhancement. It has become very popular over the years due to its ability to treat various conditions such as arthritis, sports injuries, and chronic pain without the use of oral medications.
While cryotherapy is widely used today, it has actually been practiced for thousands of years.
- It began in ancient Greece when Hippocrates treated patients using ice baths.
- In 1050 A.D., Anglo-Saxons used cold as a form of anesthesia during surgery.
- In 1845, it was discovered by Dr. James Arnott that it was a very effective treatment for neuralgia and migraines.
- In the late 19th century, Dr. John Dewar invented the first vacuum flasks and liquid nitrogen was commercially produced.
- In 1978, Fully Body Cryotherapy, as we know it today, was born. Dr. Yamagushi treated all kinds of pains including rheumatism with freezing cold therapy. This technique was used by him until he died in 1988.
How cold is Cryotherapy?
The temperature at which cryotherapy works varies depending on the type of cryosauna. Generally, it reaches temperatures between –121°C (-250°F) and -107°C (-225°F), lowering the skin’s surface temperature by 30 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
How cold is a Cryotherapy chamber?
A cryotherapy chamber has an internal temperature of -140°C (284°F) in nitrogen chambers and -110°C (-230°F) in electric chambers depending on the cooling system. Access to the chamber is allowed only in the presence of skilled personnel, controlling the procedures.
What are the Forms of Cryotherapy?
Fully Body Cryotherapy
This treatment method widely employed in many countries since the late 1970s to treat diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis by relieving inflammation, pain, and other symptoms associated with these types of chronic conditions. This is done in specialized rooms where the temperature and humidity are tightly regulated. A patient, minimally dressed, enters a vestibule chamber at −60°C (-140°F), where he stays for about 30 seconds of body adaptation and then passes to a cryo-chamber at −110°C (-230°F) to −140°C (-284°F), depending on the cooling system (electrical or nitrogen), where he remains for no more than 3 min. It is mandatory to remove any sweat before entry to avoid the risk of skin burning and necrosis. The duration of time depends on the severity of the injury but, the patient is free to leave the chamber at any time.
This type of cryotherapy is used to minimize pain, promote healing, treat wounds and swelling, and for skin rejuvenation. This method only applies heat to certain areas of the body such as the ankles, shoulders, feet, elbows, knees, and neck. The area is usually covered with a plastic sheet. After the plastic sheet is applied, the patient places ice packs on top of the plastic sheet. They may also place a heating pad under the plastic sheet. The patient remains in this position until the temperature reaches the desired level. Then the ice packs are removed and the process begins again.
Ice Pack Cold Therapy:
Ice Pack Cold therapy can be used for reducing swelling, pain, and inflammation. They’re easier to use than bags of frozen peas because they mold better to your body. Ice packs are the least expensive way to get instant relief from pain. There are two types of ice packs: wet and dry. Wet ice packs are made out of water or are kept in a freezer. When they are needed, they are quickly thawed by being put in hot water. These are good for minor injuries such as sprains. Dry ice packs are completely made of dry ice. They are used for moderate to severe injuries like broken bones. Because they are cold, they need to be wrapped in cloth when using them. Using a frozen gel pack, the patient wraps his/her injured part in it. The patient must remain in this position until the pack melts.
Numbing Spray Cold Therapy
This method uses a numbing spray to numb the skin before applying the ice pack. Once the spray dries, the ice pack is applied. Freezing sprays are similar to dry ice in that they do not have liquid phases. But unlike dry ice, they are more expensive than liquid nitrogen. They require a longer period of time to cool down so the effects aren’t immediate. Also, because these are aerosol products, they can be harmful to your health if inhaled.
What are the Benefits of Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy is a non-invasive treatment that involves exposing the body to extremely cold temperatures. Cryotherapy advocates claim that there are numerous health benefits to this treatment. However, scientific studies show that there is very limited evidence that cryotherapy actually works.
- In 1972 A review of Cryotherapy study has found some evidence that cryotherapy can be beneficial to treat patients with a wide range of neurological and musculoskeletal conditions.
- Other studies on the Use of Cryotherapy for Managing Chronic Pain claim cryotherapy may be beneficial for local and non-local applications to treat chronic pain in carefully selected individuals. It reduces pain for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. It has been effective in treating low back pain, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and other rheumatic diseases.
- A study on Cryotherapy after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) has found evidence that cryotherapy has small benefits for blood loss and early range of motion, whereas no benefits were seen in transfusion requirements, pain, analgesic use, swelling, and length of stay.
- Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing studies suggests that using oral cryotherapy reduces the occurrence and severity of chemotherapy-induced mucositis.
What is cryotherapy used to treat?
Cryotherapy, sometimes called cold therapy, is the application of low temperatures for therapeutic purposes. Here we’ll look at where cryotherapy can be used to help treat different medical conditions.
- Cryotherapy benefits athletes by improving blood flow and oxygenation. This allows them to recover faster after exercise. The use of cryotherapy to treat sports injuries has gained popularity in recent years.
- Cryotherapy for skin by exposing it to cold temperatures. Cold temperatures activate collagen production in the deeper layers creating a smooth, firmer, and tight skin on the surface. Cryotherapy also improves skin tone, renews elasticity, and creates a younger-looking appearance.
- Cryotherapy for feet is a relatively new procedure to help people who suffer from chronic plantar fasciitis. This procedure has significant pain relief with minimal invasiveness.
- Cryotherapy for frozen shoulders by improving the range of movement and reducing pain. Cryotherapy increases shoulder flexion and abduction.
- Cryotherapy for lower back pain is an alternative treatment option for patients suffering from chronic lower back pain. The technique involves applying ice packs or cold spray to the area.
- Cryotherapy for Gout can help relieve pain associated with acute attacks of gout
- Cryotherapy for Lupus is an alternative method of treatment for lupus patients. It helps reduce inflammation and increase circulation caused by many autoimmune disorders.
- Cryotherapy for Tennis Elbow improves range of motion and flexibility by applying cold therapy directly onto the affected area.
- Cryotherapy for Varicose veins involves freezing the vein using a probe inserted into the leg, which is the most effective treatment for varicose veins. It allows getting away from the need to stay in the hospital and undergo general anesthesia.
- Cryotherapy for Eczema improves the immune system and increases your body’s ability to heal. Eczema rashes may be healed by cryotherapy. This new treatment option is still being studied, though the results have been positive so far.
- Cryotherapy for Shin splints is painful injuries caused by the overuse of the muscles in your legs. Cryotherapy reduces the pain associated with these injuries. Cryotherapy is used to treat other types of chronic injuries as well.
- Cryotherapy for hair seals the hair cuticle with nutrients and stimulates collagen. This treatment will help repair the cortex damaged by chemicals and protect the hair from further damage by locking out heat.
- Cryotherapy after knee replacement is an effective treatment for pain control and improved function without increasing surgical bleeding.
- Cryotherapy for Xanthelasma is an effective treatment option for patients with this condition. It involves freezing off the growth of yellow plaque that causes the disease. There are multiple sessions required, but this treatment is safe, effective, and cosmetic.
- Cryotherapy for herniated discs reduces inflammation so the baseline problem (herniated disc) can be managed. It doesn’t fix the herniated disc or make it better, but it does help manage the pain.
- Cryotherapy for Cellulite is a safe, non-invasive treatment, it is used to reduce cellulite and increase muscle strength. Fat cells are very sensitive to cold temperatures, so they shrink when exposed to them. This causes the skin to tighten up and lose some of its elasticity.
- Cryotherapy for Stretch marks is a non-invasive procedure used to help get rid of stretch marks as well as tone and tighten skin.
- Cryotherapy for Alzheimer’s disease because it helps reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
- Cryotherapy for improved moods can be used as an effective treatment for anxiety and depression. It causes a person to feel more alert, energetic, and focused.
- Cryotherapy for quality sleep helps people suffering from insomnia by regulating monoamine neurotransmitters (e.g., serotonin). Many people who use whole body cryotherapy report numerous benefits of it. They feel better and their sleep has improved too.
- Cryotherapy for migraines by reducing pain and inflammation in the neck area.
Does cryotherapy work?
Cryotherapy has been around since ancient times, It was used in ancient Greece and Rome to treat wounds and diseases like arthritis and rheumatism. Today, cryotherapy is still used today to treat conditions such as muscle pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, and more.
A typical whole body cryotherapy session looks like this: Patients enter the cryosauna, and the entire body is exposed to the frigid temperature. Their bodies respond by increasing their heart rate and breathing deeply. Blood vessels constrict and redirect the blood away from the extremities, and it becomes infused with anti-inflammatory proteins. The metabolic rate increases, and excess white blood cell count decreases. These changes allow the patient’s body to recover faster.
The benefits of cryotherapy include increased circulation, reduced swelling, decreased inflammation, and enhanced tissue healing. In addition, there are no side effects or risks involved with cryotherapy treatments. Most people feel great right after a cryotherapy session. However, the benefits usually last between 3–10 days.
Cryotherapy is an alternative therapy that provides relief from many health problems. Research is still being done to determine if it works as well as other therapies. Whole-body cryotherapy has been proven to be a beneficial addition to a healthy lifestyle.
How often should you do cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy sessions should be done 2-3x/week for 3 weeks. A single session can help recover from illness or injury. However, the full benefits of cryo aren’t realized until you repeat the treatment.
Commonly suggested schedule of treatments:
- To maintain good health, three to five treatments per week during the initial month.
- To achieve optimal health and wellness, five times weekly for at least two weeks is recommended.
- To lose fat and gain muscle mass, three to five sessions per week for at least two weeks (should be combined with proper nutrition and regular exercise)
- To help speed up muscle repair after exercise, combine one session of localized cryotherapy with physical therapy.
- To relieve arthritis pain, five times weekly for at least two months (or longer).
- To relieve pain caused by fibromyalgia, three to four times each week for two to four weeks.
- To relieve chronic pain and general inflammation two to five times weekly.
- To improve blood flow, perform two to three exercise sessions each week for at least one month.
- After post-surgery, perform three sessions per week for three consecutive weeks.
- To improve moods, one-two session per week.
- To the better quality of sleep, two to three times weekly.
- To increased energy levels, two to three times per week for at least four weeks.
- For anti-aging and skincare benefits, twice weekly for at least two months is recommended.
- For chronic migraine and headache pain, two sessions per week.
Who should not do cryotherapy treatments?
The following conditions are contraindications to whole body cryotherapy:
- With Severe Hypertension (BP> 180/100)
- Acute or recent myocardial infarction
- Unstable angina pectoris
- Symptomatic cardiovascular disease, cardiac pacemaker, peripheral arterial occlusive disease, venous thrombosis, acute or recent cerebrovascular accident, and uncontrolled seizures
- Raynaud’s Syndrome
- Tumor disease
- Symptomatic lung disorders
- Bleeding disorders
- Severe anemia
- Active Chemotherapy
- Infection, cold allergy, acute kidney, and urinary tract diseases.
- No Botox within 2 weeks
- No Fillers within 4 weeks
- Children under 18 must have written consent and a guardian present.
- Clients with severe medical conditions not listed above should get a doctor’s consent before doing WB
How much does cryotherapy cost?
- Whole-body Cryotherapy price ranges between $60 – $100 per session
- Cyrolift facial cost ranges $150- $850 per session
- Cryo Slimming Weight Loss Treatment price ranges $300 – $2000 per session
- Cryo Therapy to Treat Cellulite price ranges $300 – $2000per session
- Cryo for Drainage cost $50per session
- Cryo Therapy for Skin Toning/Tightening cost $175 – $1250 per session
- Cryo Therapy for Muscle Relaxation and Injuries cost $50per session
- Cryo Brazilian Butt lift cost $175 – $750 per session
Cryotherapy has become increasingly popular as people seek out ways to treat conditions such as arthritis, back pain, and even cancer. Cryotherapy involves placing patients in freezing chambers where temperatures drop well below zero degrees Fahrenheit.
This causes blood vessels to constrict, which reduces inflammation and speeds up healing. Some clinics claim that cryotherapy can help with depression, anxiety, insomnia, and more. However, while some studies suggest that cryotherapy may be effective, others find no evidence that it works. In addition, cryotherapy isn’t FDA-approved, so it’s unclear whether it should be used as a standalone therapy or only as part of a larger treatment plan. While there are many different types of devices available, each has its own set of pros and cons. Reviews from other users can help you decide which device is right for you.