What are the origins of cryotherapy?
Originally developed as a technique in Japan in 1978 by Dr. Toshima Yamauchi for treating inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis, cryotherapy has been used for years by European health care facilities because of its effects on immune, endocrine and musculoskeletal systems. Today, whole body cryotherapy is internationally recognized as an important restorative treatment for the body and mind.
Why should I do cryotherapy?
Whether you are suffering from an injury, recovering from a surgical procedure; an athlete looking to enhance performance and alleviate sore muscles; or looking for ways to improve your general health and wellness through improved sleep, reduced stress and increased metabolism, cryotherapy could be beneficial for you.
How does cryotherapy work?
Cryotherapy is a quick, non-invasive process that exposes your body — or parts of your body — to extreme cold of up to -260°F using liquid nitrogen. Cryotherapy chambers are used for whole body cryotherapy and are aimed at reducing your overall skin temperature to between 40°F and 50°F while maintaining a healthy core temperature.
Local cryotherapy acts as a higher intensity, more efficient form of “icing.” The treatment delivers colder, more consistent temperatures, effectively targeting areas experiencing pain and inflammation.
What is the difference between icing and cryotherapy?
Ice packs are a form of local cryotherapy. However, nitrogen-based cryotherapy units allow you to more effectively cover the entire service area around an injury, reaching areas that typically are not easily accessible. For example, in a shoulder injury, local cryotherapy would allow you to treat the entire joint area. Cryotherapy also allows you to better control the temperature during the entire icing period.
How often should I do cryotherapy?
Everyone's response to cryotherapy is different, so it depends on how your body reacts. This is where our integrated approach makes a difference: our healthcare professionals will help you determine optimal frequency depending on your body’s need. It may take four to six sessions for some people to see signs of change, while others can experience relief after a single session. If your goal is overall health and wellness, you may find that a regular routine works best for you. As with any new regime, consistency is key and better results will be achieved with regular use.
Should I do cryotherapy before or after a workout?
That depends on a few things. First, what is the goal of using whole body cryotherapy? Recent studies show that if you are performing a strength training session with the goal of increasing muscle hypertrophy, it is best not to use whole body cryotherapy chamber for at least one hour after completing your workout. In the first hour following an intense strength workout, the body typically produces its own anti-inflammatory response and using a cryotherapy chamber may interfere.
An exception to this rule would apply to endurance athletes or athletes who are training daily with heavy loads or intensities to a level where the body’s normal anti-inflammatory reaction is unable to keep up. In this case, whole body cryotherapy can supplement the body’s natural anti-inflammatory process and help with recovery.
Secondly, if cryotherapy is being used as a supplemental treatment to a physical therapy or training session to enhance blood flow to the muscle or joint, it is recommended that whole body cryotherapy be used before the exercise session.
Lastly, one must remember that people can perspire up to 10–15 minutes after a workout is complete. Any level of perspiration puts you at risk for skin irritation or a cold burn due to cooling of wet skin in the cryotherapy chamber. Therefore, we recommend our clients to shower after a workout or wait until they have stopped perspiring.
Can anyone do cryotherapy?
Most people can tolerate and enjoy the benefits of cryotherapy. However, you should NOT use whole body cryotherapy if you have any of the following conditions: pregnancy, hypothyroidism, narrowing of valves, crescent-shaped aorta and mitral valve, chronic disease of the respiratory system, severe hypertension (blood pressure >180/100 mm/Hg), acute or recent myocardial infarction (heart attack —need to be cleared for exercise), unstable angina pectoris, arrhythmia, symptomatic cardiovascular disease, cardiac pacemaker, acute or recent cerebrovascular disease (stroke — must be cleared for exercise), peripheral arterial occlusive disease, uncontrolled seizures, fever, symptomatic lung disorders, asthma, venous thrombosis, bleeding disorders, severe anemia, infection, claustrophobia, Raynaud’s Syndrome or intolerance to cold, acute kidney and urinary tract diseases or incontinence. If you are under the age of 18, we require parental consent.