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Understanding the benefits of cryotherapy
- Cryotherapy is a form of cold therapy, where your body undergoes exposure to extremely cold temperature for anywhere between 30 seconds to 3 minutes. This form of therapy is used to treat and improve a lot of conditions. It helps with pain management, athletic injuries, chronic illnesses, muscle soreness and much more.
You can get cryo treatment in a localized area or all over your body. In the case of localized therapy, this can be administered in a variety of ways, such as ice massages, ice baths, cooling sprays, ice packs and more.
- Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC), on the other hand, is a completely different ball game. This is when your body is inside an enclosed chamber that encases it in a supercooled mist of air vapour. Both the temperature and time of this treatment are totally up to you. Normally, however, the temperature drops down to around negative 200-300F. You have to stay in the chamber for up to 3 or 4 minutes depending on how much you can withstand.
Most people feel better after just one round of cryo. However, others, like athletes, take it almost twice a day to improve performance and treat injuries. Regardless of your cryo regimen, you can reap a number of benefits of cryotherapy.
#1: Improves Migraine Symptoms
- All types of cryo treatment can significantly improve migraine symptoms, especially if it’s a chronic problem. Cryo helps by cooling the nerves found in the neck area. These nerves also get numbed, leading to lower pain symptoms and feelings. In case you want to go for localized cryo, you can wrap frozen ice packs to the carotid arteries present in your neck. This works by cooling down the blood that flows through these vessels, thereby numbing them and relieving you of pain.
#2: Treats Nerve Pain
- Most athletes rely on cryo treatment to treat nerve irritation and pain. Cryo effectively numbs pain and soothes down irritated nerves. This helps improve pain management and athletic performance. To numb nerves, doctors often treat the area with tiny probes that are injected into the tissue. These probes then help treat all forms of nerve pain, irritation, pinched nerves or even chronic pain.
#3: Helps with Mood Disorders
- Cryo uses ultracold temperatures, which can trigger certain hormonal responses. This includes the release of adrenaline into the bloodstream along with endorphins and other enzymes. This in result has a positive effect on people who experience mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. WBC is especially effective for mood disorder treatment.
#4: Decreases Arthritic Pain
- WBC is also effective in treating certain conditions like arthritis, which causes people to suffer from symptomatic pain. It alleviates pain for arthritis patients and also allows them to undertake more aggressive physiotherapy. Cryotherapy treatments can make it easier for patients to pursue rehabilitation afterwards.
#5: Helps Treat Low-Risk Tumors
- Alternatively, localized and target cryo may be used to assist in cancer treatment. This is especially true if the patient has a certain low-risk type of cancer. This treatment is called cryosurgery and it works by freezing cancer cells. The cells are then cushioned in by ice crystals, making it easier to operate on them and stop them from multiplying.
#6: May Prevent Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
- The general understanding is that cryotherapy can help prevent certain degenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. The reason is that cryo treatment triggers the release of anti-inflammatory enzymes into the bloodstream, which could fight the oxidative stress responses that happen when a patient suffers from Alzheimer’s.
#7: Can Treat Atopic Dermatitis and Some Skin Conditions
- Since cryo treatment releases enzymes that boost the body’s natural detoxification process, it can be used to treat certain inflammatory skin conditions and diseases. For example, atopic dermatitis has symptoms like itchy, flaky and dry skin. These can easily be treated using cryo treatment because the body releases anti-inflammatories into the bloodstream. Both localized and WBC can help treat this and some other certain skin conditions.
Side Effects and Risks
- Cryotherapy has some standard temporary side effects. These occur because your body receives a physical shock when it’s exposed to ultracold temperatures. These effects are redness, tingling and mild irritation on the skin. You might also experience some minor flu-like symptoms but these are nothing to worry about. It merely means that the cryo process has started to work successfully on your body.
You should consult with a medical professional if any of the symptoms don’t disappear after 24 hours, in case they are indicative of something more serious.
Guidelines for Cryotherapy
- There are some general guidelines you should be aware of before you start cryo treatment. Always consult your doctor or a medical professional before you start a round of treatment. Also, make sure you have indicated any and all existing medical conditions and contraindications to the cryo doctor before you start. Your doctor may also stop you from eating or drinking anything for 12 hours before cryo treatment starts. Keep these guidelines in mind and make the most out of your cryo experience!