4 Benefits of Cryotherapy
By now you’ve likely heard the buzz about cryotherapy – at the very least, you’ve seen or heard the word in some type of context. With any particular new health craze there’s always two sides of every story, but doesn’t every trending topic deserve the benefit of the doubt every once in awhile? See below for some of the reasons we’re delving into cryotherapy right now and giving its time in the spotlight.
As a quick recap, cryotherapy is the use of extremely cold temperatures meant to treat injuries or pains, reduce inflammation, and increase circulation by tricking the body to thinking it’s entered a hypothermic state helping achieve those beneficial results. The type of cryotherapy (technically any use of cold therapy, such as icing your knee with frozen peas, is considered cryotherapy) we’re honing on is whole body cryotherapy (WBC), which is achieved by entering a room where you’re body is emerged into a dry-air, bone-chilling chamber.
So, what are we loving about it?
- Performance level gains. We like to train hard and dirty, which can lead to stiff and sore muscles – often. Cryotherapy helps with recovery as is a well-known benefit, but we love it because the recovery time post-cryotherapy is minimal. This come from the body’s reaction to the extreme cold, resulting in an increased white blood cell count helping decrease inflammation and a powerful (in a positive manner) immune system response. And just like that, you’re back to the weights (or pavement-pounding, or the box, or your mat) in less time than targeted icing or painful ice baths.
- Calorie torcher. In a dream world we could lay down and watch Netflix while simultaneously burning the same amount of calories we might in a hardcore spin class. This is the closest thing we’ve been able to find to that fantasy. Cryotherapy can burn anywhere from 500-800 calories per session because your body is working HARD to get your body temperature back to a non-shiver-inducing state through a process called cold thermogenesis which attributes to fat burn. While this is definitely not going to be prescribed as the newest and regular exercise regimen, it is certainly a different way to switch up your calorie output for the day and rev your metabolism.
- Mood booster. Cryotherapy induces a large endorphin release into the bloodstream resulting in an increased mood after the session. The main neuro-chemical in the process is chetecolamines (a combo of adrenaline and noradrenaline) that produces that same euphoric, giggly feeling you’ll often find after an unexpected plunge into cold water. A combination of the released endorphins, reduction of pain perceptions (due to endorphin’s reaction with pain receptors), and a lowered level of cortisol, – essentially, a combination of all the other benefits working in tandem – you’re walking out of the session with a lighter, happier step.
- Tighten up! Another favorite word in the healthy living sphere right now is collagen – you know, that fantastic little supplement that strengthens skin and hair health, reduces (and rewinds) wrinkle formation, and can improve liver health. Cryotherapy can help rejuvenate and increase production of the collagen matrix while simultaneously decreasing the production of collagenase, the enzyme responsible for rapid collagen breakdown. The result? tOne step closer to achieving that baby soft skin of all your favorite celebrities (and family members under the age of 12).
There’s still a lot of research being conducted about the long-term benefits of cryotherapy or what other factors it may help to achieve, but for now, we feel pretty good about submitting 3 minutes of our day to cryotherapy.