Cryotherapy is a perfect way to heal anything from a small wart to an ongoing migraine! Be careful, you might be called a ‘snowman’ afterwards as this treatment includes a spa of even -150 degrees celsius!
Cryotherapy For You
If you are doubting what cryotherapy is, you will be surprised to know how popular this treatment is! In fact, you might using it yourself without even knowing!
The concept of cryotherapy is as old as 2500 years. It was firstly used by Egyptians who used cold to treat injuries and reduce inflammation. This knowledge was further carried by Napoleon’s army, who used cold to carry out amputations.
Nowadays, at the moment of an accident when we trip on a chair and hurt a toe. The first thought that pops in our mind is an ice-cold compress! Simple, right?
Recently, this ice-cold compress was further developed into a whole body cryotherapy. It is well known to absorb the heat, decrease injury pain and muscle soreness.
In fact, full body cryotherapy was further recognized by the medical community. It is to treat more serious health problems. The benefits of cryotherapy are used to help treating many things. This includes arthritis, inflammation, increasing metabolism and revitalizing skin.
Let’s look further at what cryotherapy is and its treatment possibilities. After, we will look at the health benefits of cryotherapy.
What Is Cryotherapy
As an interesting fact, cryotherapy is the most popular among the athletes. You must have heard word-class athlete LeBron James or actress Demi Moore talking about it!
Now that we know that we use this technique ourselves without even knowing. And thousands of people, especially athletes, talking about this therapy. Let’s have a look at what cryotherapy is and whether its treatments could help you!
The definition of cryotherapy is comprised of two greek words. ‘Cryo’ is a greek word for cold, and ‘therapeia’ translates to cure.
Cryotherapy is a medical technique that uses an extreme cold to destroy cells. It is also referred to as cryosurgery or cryoablation. Cryosurgery refers to a type of surgery when an extreme cold is used. It can destroy abnormal tissues.
In fact, the procedure of cryotherapy can be used to treat several localised health disorders. Those health problems include certain types of skin conditions, such as warts.
Now you are probably wondering, how does cryotherapy work?
During the process of cryotherapy, the diseased cells in your body are rapidly freezed. Afterwards, the cells are let to slowly thaw. The process of slow thawing is crucial. It kills the deceased cells that are no longer relevant or endangering your body.
When the dead cells form, your immune system absorbs and removes them from your body naturally. This process takes place during the following few weeks.
What happens when the problem is outside your body? Cryotherapy helps a scab form over the dead cells and destroys them outside the body. In this case, it falls off naturally within a few weeks.
It is important to note, this technique is suitable for treating only small areas of disease. Not the large parts of your body.
This means, cryotherapy can be used to treat certain localized skin problems.
During the process of cryotherapy, nitrogen liquid is used. Liquid nitrogen is nitrogen in its liquid state of an extremely low temperature. As an interesting fact, this liquid can get as cold as −195.79 °C or 320.42 Farenheit Degrees!
Liquid nitrogen is also known as a cryogenic fluid. It is used often during cryotherapy. This is because of its ability to rapid freeze when in contact with living tissue. How the liquid nitrogen is applied depends on your condition as well as the problem’s location.
When applying the liquid nitrogen to the skin, a spray gun or cotton swabs are normally used. However, it gets more complicated when it has to be injected directly into the body.
In such case, thin needles known as cryotherapy needles are used. In other cases, cryoprobe may be used. Cryoprobe is a thin, hollow metal tube through which the liquid nitrogen flows. In all of the cases, the specialist have control over the liquid flow as well as the amount.
Different Cryotherapy Treatments
Great, now we know what cryotherapy is! It is also interesting to know what a cryotherapy treatment is. What different cryotherapy treatments are there?
The following will describe three of the most popular cryotherapy treatments. It will help you to hopefully find the one that is suitable for you and your health condition!
Whole Body Cryotherapy
Whole body Cryotherapy is also known as WBC in short. When choosing WBC your whole body will be exposed to vapors that reach ultra-low temperatures. In fact, the temperatures can range between -200 to -300°F or 150°C)!
Those who choose the WBC treatment are usually enclosed in relatively confined spaces. The process takes place within two to four minutes. It can proceed in one of the two ways:
- A person stands in an enclosure that is open at the top. This big machine is also known as cryotherapy chamber! A person’s chest and legs are enclosed in the device. They are exposed to low temperatures. In the meantime, the head remains above the enclose at room temperature.
- Several people stand or sit in a totally enclosed chamber for two to four minutes. In this case, the entire body including the head is exposed to the freezing temperature. Interestingly, the cryotherapy devices work by cooling the air in a circuit. It is therefore called cryotherapy spa.
The whole body cryotherapy is issued for many different health issues. One of the main being injuries or sleep issues.
Localized Cryotherapy is targeted to the specific area of your body. It is applied via a localized device. This is done for approximately two to three minutes. It depends on your problem area.
Localized Cryotherapy is usually applied via cold air treatment. It therefore reaches -25 to -40 degrees Fahrenheit ( up to -5 degrees celsius).
During the procedure, the specialist makes sure that the treatment is comfortable. He also makes sure that it is applicable for your body’s temperature. Your body’s temperature is measured first. This will detect what temperature drop is suitable for your body.
Unlike the Whole Body Cryotherapy, Localized Cryotherapy is known to be more systematic. It is also more localized to specifically target your problem areas.
The localized treatments are usually applied to the lower back, neck, ankle, knee, wrist and elbow areas. Localized treatment is the best if you have a pain in certain area of your body. Especially if you suffer from a skin condition!
Internal Cryotherapy is also referred to as Cryosurgery. It is the use of sub zero temperatures as a treatment option for procedures performed inside the body.
In order to perform internal cryotherapy, a surgeon uses liquid nitrogen. Another option is argon gas. This is to freeze abnormal growths located within the body.
Great! We all know what cryotherapy is! We are excited to try a cryotherapy chamber or cryotherapy spa! But still the question lingers, what are the actual health benefits of Cryotherapy? What exactly can it cure?
It must be said, research on cryotherapy is still rather new. To this day, scientists and doctors do not fully understand the potential benefits or dangers of cryotherapy.
However, preliminary studies suggest that cryotherapy could offer you some health benefits. Let’s look at the following top cryotherapy benefits:
Pain Relief and Muscle Healing
One of the first cryotherapy benefits is pain relief and muscle healing. It therefore helps with some joint and muscles disorders.
Doctors suggest that using an ice bag increases blood circulation. After the cold is removed, it promotes pain relief and healing.
A study published in 2000 promotes that cryotherapy offers temporary relief from pain.
The research has found that cryotherapy with ice packs reduces the damaging effects of intensive exercises. In fact, people who used cryotherapy reported that they felt less pain in their problem areas.
Treating Migraine Headaches
Migraine is a well known health concern for a lot of people. Unfortunately, there is no defined medicine to heal this problem.
In a study of 2003, researchers have found something amazing. People who used cryotherapy on their neck area had much less migraines.
Although cryotherapy doesn’t eliminate the migraine, it helps to reduce the pain! If you are suffering from a constant headache, you might want to try cryotherapy in the neck area!
We probably all heard the saying - if you stay cold you will lose weight! It is absolutely true, because when body is cold it works much harder in order to stay warm. And cryotherapy does exactly that!
Therefore, it is known that cryotherapy pushes your metabolism to work for the whole day.
A small study in 2016 found something in people who attended the cryotherapy sessions 10x or more. They had slight changes in their body composition.
Inflammation is one of the ways on how your body fights an infection. Therefore, sometimes your immune system becomes overly reactive.
The results of all is chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is linked to other serious health problems. This includes diabetes, depression and arthritis.
Some studies suggest that cryotherapy can reduce inflammation. In result, by reducing inflammation you can improve your overall health. You can also reduce numerous risks of other chronic diseases.
Cryotherapy For Sleep
And most importantly, is cryotherapy good for sleep? You will be pleasantly surprised as the answer is yes!
There are two ways on how cryotherapy can increase your sleep quality and reduce insomnia. The whole body cryotherapy can help you directly and indirectly.
The indirect way of cryotherapy helping you is by your body signaling that it is time to sleep. You may know this from tiring evenings yourself. If you are really tired you mostly feel cold because your body cools down when you are tired.
It therefore continues to cool down while you sleep. It reaches the coolest point at around 4 am in the morning. The whole body cryotherapy helps your body to cool down and indirectly make you sleepy and tired.
The direct way of cryotherapy helping your sleep habits is by treating problematic areas. This is especially the case when you are in pain due to an injury.
The cold will make you feel numb instead of in pain. This allows you to get the sleep that you need to rejuvenate and heal.
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