Chances are when you’ve suffered an injury or discomfort, like sore joints and muscles, someone has simply told you to ice it. And you did, because placing the cold pack of ice on the afflicted area reduced pain and swelling. Now, what if we told you that you could mirror that effect, but on a much larger scale?
No, we’re not suggesting you take a full-body dive into an ice bath. We’re talking about cryotherapy, a treatment that uses freezing temperatures to help drastically reduce pain, inflammation, and promote healing.
What is Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy, AKA cryogenic therapy, was first developed in 1978 by Japanese doctors looking to treat rheumatoid arthritis. They were looking for a treatment that could harness the power of colder temperatures to effectively limit pain and discomfort, as well as minimize the effect of inflammation in the joints.
The discovery quickly made its way West, where American doctors of chiropractic began recommending cryogenic therapy to their patients. Receiving cryotherapy involves stepping into a cryogenic chamber. These are essentially like saunas, except instead of hot air or steam, cold air is used.
How Does Cryotherapy Work?
Cryogenic chambers are powered by liquid nitrogen, which allows them to achieve such cold temperatures. Bear in mind that while the chamber runs on liquid nitrogen, the substance will never come in contact with the skin – think of it as serving the same purpose as the gas in your car. While it powers the vehicle, you never touch it while inside the car.
The liquid nitrogen lowers the temperature inside of the sauna from -100 degrees Fahrenheit to -270 degrees Fahrenheit. A patient only remains in the cryotherapy chamber for two to three minutes to experience benefits. It’s the cold temperatures of the chamber which work to relieve pain and decrease swelling.
What is the Purpose of Cryotherapy?
Through cryotherapy, skin’s surface temperature is lowered by 30 to 50 degrees during a two to three minute period. The body reacts by sending messages to the brain that stimulate natural regulatory functions, including the release of anti-inflammatory molecules, endorphins, and toxins. The extreme temperatures reduce blood flow, which lessens the amount of inflammation caused by bruises, pinched nerves, sprained ankles, or any other injury.
Most notably, cryogenic therapy helps with inflammatory diseases like arthritis. This reduction of inflammation can drastically reduce pain. Furthermore, cryotherapy can temporarily reduce nerve activity, which helps to limit pain signals.
Cryotherapy also causes an increase of oxygen circulation within the bloodstream, which aids in restoring much needed energy and oxygenated blood to the muscles’ organs.
Who Can Benefit from Cryotherapy?
Most anyone can benefit from cryotherapy, including those suffering from:
- Inflammatory diseases
- Soft tissue injuries
- Joint pain
- Muscle weakness
- Post-workout soreness
The increase of oxygen circulation in the bloodstream promotes healing in the body, as well as improving energy levels. For this reason, cryogenic therapy can aid in faster recovery from exercise and improve metabolism. A three-minute cryotherapy session can also:
- Boost the immune system
- Burn 500 to 800 calories
- Reduce chronic and general pain
- Lessen the appearance of wrinkles and cellulite
- Improve skin’s collagen production
- Release endorphins to improve mood
What Are the Risks of Cryotherapy?
Generally speaking, cryogenic therapy treatment does not have any risks involved. For some individuals, symptoms such as bone aches, fatigue, and headaches may occur in the immediate days following cryotherapy. However, these symptoms are all detox signs, which means that the treatment has effectively helped release some of the toxins trapped in your system.
It is important to note that, if exposed for a long period of time, the cold temperatures of cryotherapy can result in skin, tissue, or nerve damage. For this reason, ChiroCare of Florida limits our treatments to only a three-minute maximum, to completely prevent adverse side effects. Those with poor circulation, or cardiovascular or heart disease, should consult their primary-care physician prior to receiving cryogenic therapy, due to the decrease in blood flow that occurs.
If you have any questions about cryotherapy treatments, please do not hesitate to call ChiroCare of Florida today at (877)377-4448, or contact us now. We look forward to seeing you soon.