Cryotherapy has a long history of use in medicine. It's used to remove skin tags, warts, and other skin growths. The application of cold in the form of ice packs is often recommended to reduce swelling and pain from injuries and arthritis. Now, whole-body cryotherapy treatments are becoming more popular. Here's how they work and how they might benefit you.
How You Take A Whole-Body Cryotherapy Treatment
Cryotherapy clinics have their own methods of giving treatments. Some use small chambers you sit in with your head exposed. The temperature in the chamber drops well below freezing for a very short period as it fills with a cold vapor. Others provide treatments in rooms that you walk into so your entire body is exposed to the chilling cold temperatures.
While you'll wear protection on your feet and head, you are undressed to get the full effect of the cold. The temperatures are extreme, but the treatments are very short. Cold exposure for short periods isn't usually harmful if you're in good health, and you may even derive some benefits from it.
Why You Might Want To Try Cryotherapy
Cryotherapy is thought to deliver the same benefits of using ice packs, but on a much wider scale. You might experience a reduction in whole-body inflammation. This could help with pain and possibly speed recovery from an intense workout or from an injury.
The chilling sessions might also boost your metabolism. Because this effect is suspected, the treatments are also promoted as an aid to weight loss. Cryotherapy could also be beneficial for skin health. You might notice glowing, healthier skin on your face. Some clinics may even offer facial treatments where only your face is exposed to the freezing vapors.
A form of home cryotherapy is popular with athletes and others seeking peak performance. This involves sitting in a tub of ice water or taking cold showers. However, the temperatures are much colder in a cryotherapy chamber, and they are controlled for your safety. If you think being enclosed in a chamber or room in temperatures below freezing is dangerous, you don't have to worry.
The temperatures are only dangerous if you stay in too long, and that won't happen when you're supervised in a clinic. You'll also be assessed for medical conditions that might interfere with a safe treatment such as cardiac conditions and high blood pressure.
If you've used cold shower therapy at home and enjoyed the benefits, or if you've never tried any type of cryotherapy before, you may want to find a cryotherapy clinic and give it a try. The first treatment may be uncomfortable, but the following treatments should be easier to endure as your body adjusts to being exposed to the extremely cold temperatures.