Cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy, is a treatment where the body is exposed to freezing cold temperatures for a few minutes in order to reap a multitude of health benefits. Cryotherapy is offered as a whole body treatment, in which you stand in a chamber that disperses freezing cold air, somewhere between 200-300°F, for no more than four or five minutes. Some whole body cryotherapy centers will offer robes, thick socks, and gloves for those who may be extra sensitive to the cold or simply prefer this option.
Localized cryotherapy is also an option. This is when the cryotherapy treatment is only administered to an individual part of the body, such as the legs, arms, stomach, face, neck, or shoulders.
Cryotherapy is most effective if done on a regular basis. Many professional athletes do cryotherapy frequently as it has been shown to enhance athletic performance and can speed up muscle recovery after an injury has occurred. Cryotherapy’s ability to numb nerve irritation is said to help treat pinched nerves, chronic pain and other acute injuries.
There are many additional health benefits to cryotherapy, including reducing symptoms of migraines, headaches and arthritis, releasing adrenaline, noradrenaline, and endorphins that stimulate the mood and help decrease feelings of anxiety and depression, treating skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and atomic dermatitis, increasing metabolism and the body’s fat burning abilities, and reducing fatigue and inflammation. Cryotherapy may also support the treatment of low-risk tumors, as well as help to prevent mentally debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
During a cryotherapy session, you may feel numb or tingling sensations, or experience redness and irritation; however, these side effects will subside shortly after the treatment is over. Never exceed the recommended amount of time for your particular cryotherapy treatment, as this could be harmful.