Freezing to Health with Cryotherapy
Cryotherapy – a form of therapy where the patient ‘cries it out’ in a therapeutic environment, usually under the supervision of a licensed therapist.
Okay, just kidding – crying isn’t actually a part of cryotherapy. Unless exposure to extremely cold temperatures brings tears to your eyes. As defined by Medicine Net, cryotherapy is literally “cold therapy.” It’s a procedure used to destroy tissue of both benign and malignant lesions through a freezing (hence the name) and thawing process. It’s available to treat localized areas like freezing off warts or cancerous cells or for the full body (the form this blog will primarily focus on).
It’s not hard to see where the thought originated – applying ice to an injury provides pain relief for inflamed or overused muscles (think of an ice pack or an ice bath after a workout). But cryotherapy takes cold therapy to a whole new level.
Whole Body Cryotherapy
Whole body cryotherapy involves sitting or standing in a cryotherapy booth for 3-5 minutes and is usually performed in a non-medical environment like a spa. A cold dry air made from liquid nitrogen and refrigerated cold air creates temperatures below -100º Fahrenheit.
Those undergoing treatments wear minimal clothing like a swimsuit, but often wear gloves, socks, and earmuffs to keep extremities protected from the intense cold while the rest of the body is exposed for treatment.
Does Cryotherapy Work?
A quick Google search will show a broad roster of celebrities who swear by it – from sports stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lebron James who use it to soothe game-related injuries, to actors and actresses like Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Alba and Mandy Moore who use it for weight loss, anti-aging and general health.
- A strengthened immune system
- Improved blood circulation
- Better sleep
- Reduced stress, anxiety and depression
- Cellulite reduction
- Increased collagen production
- Weight loss
- Higher metabolism
- Burning calories (a single session can burn up to 800 calories)
- Pain relief and muscle healing
- Reduced inflammation
- Preventing dementia
- Preventing and treating cancer
- Improving symptoms of eczema
- Treating migraine headaches
- Arthritis treatment
- Joint pain relief
- Relief for those suffering from multiple sclerosis
- Increases pain threshold
Is Cryotherapy Safe?
It is important to keep in mind, that while it’s touted as a cure for many ailments, it has yet to be approved by the FDA. The association warns that cryotherapy can be dangerous, causing asphyxiation, potential frostbite, burns and eye injuries. If you have medical concerns, seek counsel from your regular doctor before trying.
Additionally, pregnant women, children, those with extremely high blood pressure and those with a heart condition should not try cryotherapy.