Spending 3-5 minutes in an extremely cold booth might seem like an odd treatment for a health concern. But, Cryotherapy is becoming increasingly popular. More and more people are flocking to it to treat a wide variety of conditions.
But since whole body cryotherapy is still in its infancy, there isn’t much scientific research to prove its effects.
Doctors and researchers are still working to fully understand all the potential benefits and risks of the process. Still, anecdotal evidence, as well as some small studies, have begun to show Cryotherapy has many benefits.
What Is Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy is any treatment that uses freezing or near-freezing temperatures. You may use the treatment on your whole body or a particular area. It might look like:
- A quick 3-5 minute dip in a cryotherapy booth
- A special facial
- Treating a specific area with the wand
- Freezing off warts or moles
As you can see from this shortlist of treatment options, this treatment can come in many forms. For this article, we are going to focus on whole body cryotherapy.
Potential Benefits of Cryotherapy
We use whole-body treatment as a preventative and treatment for a multitude of ailments. Because it is still so new, some potential benefits are not yet proven, but let’s take a look at what preliminary studies are finding.
Pain Relief and Muscle Healing
Long before this treatment became popular, doctors have recommended using ice packs on injured and painful muscles. The theory is that after the ice pack is removed, blood circulation increases, promoting healing and pain relief.
It’s no surprise that research has found that this treatment can help with muscle pain and certain joint and muscle disorders, such as arthritis.
More specifically, a research study published in 2000 found that Cryotherapy temporarily relieves the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. And a 2017 study supports the benefits of Cryotherapy for speeding healing and relieving muscle pain.
Although this treatment practiced on its own will not cause weight loss, it can support the weight loss process.
The theory is this: when the body is cold, it is forced to work harder to stay warm, which means that it burns more calories. Many practitioners claim a few minutes of Cryotherapy can increase metabolism for the whole day.
People who practice this eventually no longer feel the cold as much because their metabolism adjusts in response to the cold temperature.
Cryotherapy may also support weight loss in people who will not exercise because of pain. Since this treatment helps relieve muscle pain, it makes it easier for these people to maintain an exercise routine or get back to one after an injury.
Inflammation is is a technique used by the body’s immune system to fight infection. An overly reactive immune system results in chronic inflammation.
Reducing inflammation has the potential to improve overall health and reduce the risk of numerous chronic ailments.
Prevention of Dementia
Because this treatment has the potential to reduce inflammation, it could also reduce the risk of dementia. The following post presents the argument that this treatment could reduce the oxidative stress and inflammation associated with:
- Mild cognitive impairment
- Age-related forms of cognitive decline
It urges researches to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of whole-body Cryotherapy in the prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Cancer Prevention and Treatment
The potential for Cryotherapy to lower the risk of developing cancer is based on the idea that whole body cryotherapy might reduce inflammation.
Although there is no evidence that Cryotherapy can treat cancer once it has developed, medical Cryotherapy is a long-used treatment for certain types of cancer. For example, Cryotherapy can be used to freeze off cancer cells on the cervix or skin.
Reduction of Anxiety and Depression
Many mental health conditions are linked to inflammation. Preliminary research has shown that Cryotherapy may reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
In 2008, a study found that this treatment reduced depression and anxiety symptoms by at least 50 percent in a third of the participants. Participants who did not undergo Cryotherapy did not experience as great a reduction.
Eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that causes dry, intensely itchy patches of skin. In 2008, a small study had participants stop using their eczema medications and start using this treatment.
Many of the participants saw a decrease in their eczema symptoms. Some, however, complained of frostbite on small areas of the skin.
The Diminishment of Migraine Headaches
Research has shown that targeted Cryotherapy may help prevent migraine headaches. In 2013, researchers applied targeted Cryotherapy to the necks of people who suffered from migraines. Researchers found that pain was reduced but not eliminated by the treatments.
Is It Safe?
Cryotherapy is generally considered safe. However, there are a few things to consider before you go for a whole-body treatment:
- Children, pregnant women, people with severe high blood pressure, and people with heart conditions should not try Cryotherapy.
- Having a whole-body Cryotherapy treatment for longer than a few minutes can be fatal.
- You must never sleep during Cryotherapy.
- Each session should be timed to ensure that it is no longer than the recommended timeframe.
- If you don’t like the cold, Cryotherapy may be unpleasant. Your body may adjust to the cold throughout treatment.
- It is essential to talk to a doctor before trying this treatment.
Give Us a Call
Since whole-body Cryotherapy is still in its youth, much more research is required to prove its benefits. That doesn’t mean that it may not work for you.
If you have questions about Cryotherapy and how it may help with pain, inflammation, or any other chronic conditions that you may have, give us a call today!
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