Quick Freeze, Lasting Benefits: The Power of 3-Minute Cryotherapy

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Cryomend Staff

Quick Freeze, Lasting Benefits: The Power of 3-Minute Cryotherapy

The term “cryotherapy” might bring up memories of the Austin Powers movies or have your imagination running wild, thinking about people being frozen and brought back to life hundreds or thousands of years later. 

However, cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy, actually refers to the use of extreme cold for mental and physical benefits—such as treating muscle soreness or even alleviating symptoms associated with depressive and anxiety disorders.

And this isn’t exactly a new therapeutic or recovery approach. The Ancient Greeks used cold water immersion for relaxation, social, and medicinal purposes. So, what does cryotherapy do exactly? What is cryotherapy good for? Should you try it? In this article, we explore the benefits of cryotherapy and more.

What Is Cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy involves exposure to very cold temperatures—whether that be through the use of water or air. For instance, our Cryomend studio in Toronto uses a cryo-chamber and exposes the body to cold, dry air for two to three minutes. 

These near-freezing temperatures cause the blood vessels to vasoconstrict. In turn, this increases blood flow to the vital organs, leading to increased oxygenation and nutrients in the blood. After these few minutes and upon leaving the cryo-chamber, this enriched blood travels to areas throughout the body, leading to enhanced healing and nutrient delivery—among other benefits. 

Whole Body Cryotherapy vs Local Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy chambers are frequently used for whole body cryotherapy (WBC). This differs from local cryotherapy, or partial body cryotherapy, in the way the cold temperature is delivered and the area targeted. 

For instance, local cryotherapy may be done using ice packs, coolant sprays, or even liquid nitrogen, which can help destroy abnormal tissue directly. At Cryomend, we provided localized cryotherapy treatment via the use of a small handheld device. This handheld device can provide quick results for treating specific areas of inflammation or pain. However, many of our clients choose to combine both types of cryotherapy treatments for optimal results. So, what are some cryotherapy benefits you should know about? 

Health Benefits of Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy has many benefits for the body and mind. So, here are the top reasons you might want to consider adding cryotherapy to your overall health and wellness routines.

1. Reduces Muscle Pain

Research on whole body cryotherapy shows that 80% of studies reported reduced pain. In fact, it’s been suggested as an effective way to prevent exercise-induced muscle soreness. It’s thought to help do this by reducing inflammation and speeding up the healing process post-exercise.

In particular, this type of cold exposure can be a great complimentary recovery routine alongside intense exercise, such as interval training, running, or heavy weightlifting. It can also provide pain relief following an injury (more on this below).

2. Improves Mood

A quick freeze can also provide mental health benefits. In particular, studies demonstrate how whole body cryotherapy treatments as an add-on to pharmacological methods for pre-existing mental health disorders—like depression.

The theory goes that this type of cold therapy causes the body to release adrenaline and endorphins, which make us feel good. On top of boosting our mood, these same chemicals are also responsible for cryotherapy’s stress and pain-reducing effects.

3. Decreases Inflammation 

For years, scientists have known that cryotherapy helps with reducing inflammation. This is primarily how it supports injury healing and muscle recovery. 

Beyond this, it may also have positive impacts on arthritic inflammation and managing chronic pain. Cryotherapy may help numb associated pain and reduce inflammation, which is often linked to chronic pain issues.

4. Improves Skin Conditions

Cryotherapy treatment can help chronic inflammatory skin disorders and diseases, such as those associated with itchy and dry skin. Researchers indicate that cold air, such as that used in cryotherapy, may help improve antioxidant capacity. In turn, this may relieve inflammation linked to skin issues like atopic dermatitis.

Additionally, localized cryotherapy has been successfully used to treat other inflammatory skin conditions, including psoriasis and acne. It may also have benefits for the average person, such as improving skin appearance.

5. May Reduce Headaches & Migraines

Cryotherapy treatments applied to the neck area may offer migraine sufferers some hope! Studies show that when cold therapy is applied to this area at the onset of a migraine, associated pain is significantly reduced. In other words, applying a cold pack to the neck area may help the next time you notice a migraine or headache coming on.

6. Improves Injury Recovery & Healing

It’s no secret that R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) is recommended as first aid for the immediate treatment of injuries. This is because the cold temperatures help reduce inflammation and pain, which can accelerate the healing process post-injury. It’s even been shown to help relieve low back pain.

7. Reduces Fatigue

Exposure to extreme cold may enhance your energy levels and reduce fatigue. If you’ve ever taken a cold shower or bath, you’ll be all too familiar with the sudden jolt of alertness that occurs after exposure. This can further help you bounce back after experiencing post-exercise fatigue.

Is Cryotherapy Safe?

While the benefits of cryotherapy speak for themselves, some individuals should use caution when exposing themselves to extreme cold. Long cold exposure can lead to numbness, redness, tingling, and even frostbite. However, this risk can be eliminated under proper supervision and care.

It’s also not recommended for pregnant individuals or those with high blood pressure. Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions should consult with their doctor before booking any cryotherapy session.

Getting Started With Cryotherapy

Whole body cryotherapy offers a great post-exercise recovery routine that can help eliminate muscle soreness and reduce fatigue. In turn, this allows you to perform at your very best during your next training session. Beyond exercise, cold therapy also has various health benefits, taking your wellness routine to a whole other level.

Find out how cryotherapy can enhance your health and wellness; book your first cryotherapy session in Toronto with Cryomend today!

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