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What is Cryotherapy and How Does It Work?

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October 6, 2022   Posted by: CryoCON

What is Cryotherapy and How Does It Work?

In 2022, it’s almost impossible not to have heard about cryotherapy. Boosted by social media, this wellness treatment is used by some of the biggest celebrities and athletes in the world who claim it can improve sleep, burn fat, reduce pain, tighten skin, and more. But does it really work, and if so, how? In this blog post, we’ll uncover the basics of cryotherapy, how it works, and its benefits. Read on to learn more and see if this minimally invasive treatment lives up to the hype at CryoCON 2023!

What is Cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy involves using cold temperatures as the primary healing component of all therapeutic processes. Despite its rise to fame in recent years, forms of this treatment have been used by the ancient Egyptians since 2500 BC. Cryotherapy was developed in the 1970s by Japanese rheumatologist Toshima Yamaguchi to alleviate inflammation from arthritis. Since then, it has been discovered to offer several other benefits and potential uses. It is a minimally invasive treatment where extreme cold is applied either locally or to the whole body to freeze and destroy abnormal tissue or elicit a natural response produced by the body. During whole-body cryotherapy, the entire body is exposed to temperatures between negative 140 to 210 degrees Fahrenheit for a short time to stimulate an anti-inflammatory response, endorphin release, and reduce bodily pain.

How Does Cryogenic Therapy Work?

Whole-body cryotherapy involves stepping into a chamber cooled by nitrogen gases. The subzero temperatures instantly shock the body and send it into a fight or flight mode. Blood vessels constrict, and blood is redirected to core organs to survive. After exiting the chamber, blood vessels immediately dilate, rushing oxygen-rich blood and endorphins back through the body. The body also produces a boost of anti-inflammatory proteins, rids excess white blood cells, and boosts metabolic rate.

Top Benefits of Cryotherapy

Reduce inflammation

Inflammation is caused by a build-up of edema and increased white blood cells in the inflamed tissue. After stepping out of the cryogenic chamber, oxygen-rich blood flows back to the injured areas of the body, which can restimulate the healing process. Studies have shown that extremely cold temperatures trigger norepinephrine, an anti-inflammatory chemical naturally produced by the body. It also increases the production of proteins critical to cell signaling and proangiogenic factors, like angiogenesis, a vital bodily function responsible for delivering oxygen and nutrients to body tissue and wound healing.

Manages skin conditions

Cryotherapy has been used to treat various skin conditions, including warts, skin tags, dark spots, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, and more. Whole-body cryotherapy increases the antioxidant levels in the blood and its flow to the skin, encouraging cell regeneration and making skin appear younger, tighter, and softer. According to Dr. Gil Yosipovitch, a chairperson at the Department of Dermatology at Miami University, “Some patients with atopic dermatitis report that eczema improves with extreme cold.” Cryotherapy helps boost your body’s immune system and, therefore, its ability to heal rashes and symptoms of skin conditions, and exposing irritated skin to cold temperatures produces a soothing effect. While not a cure, routine cryotherapy can effectively soothe irritated skin.

Improves sleep

Cryotherapy releases a rush of endorphins and increases the production of norepinephrine, the hormone involved in regulating your sleep cycle. The rush of endorphins after exiting the cooling chamber brings on a feeling of increased energy, followed by relaxation and better sleep. Since cryotherapy can also reduce pain, patients have found that they sleep better and more soundly.

Reduce pain

Localized and whole-body cryotherapy has been shown to effectively and significantly reduce arthritic pain and general pain. Like an ice pack, cooling chambers reduce swelling and slow down the transmission of nerve signals, reducing the number of pain signals sent to the brain. Patients with fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, back pain, and more have seen significant results in pain reduction when treated with cryotherapy. In a study where whole-body cryotherapy was used to rehabilitate patients with rheumatoid diseases, it was found to reduce pain levels significantly. Athletes use cryotherapy to treat injuries for several reasons, one of which is that it can numb pain. The extreme cold numbs irritated nerves, which can allow for more aggressive physical and occupational therapy, increasing the effectiveness of rehabilitation programs.

Reduce migraine symptoms

By cooling and numbing nerves in the neck area, cryotherapy can help treat migraines. Localized cryotherapy targeting carotid arteries in the neck has reduced pain by cooling the blood passing through intracranial vessels. Since carotid arteries are close to the skin, they are easily accessible and a viable way to mitigate the symptoms of patients suffering from migraines.

Final Thoughts

While the long-term effectiveness of cryotherapy is still in research, there is validity in recurring sessions to treat a wide variety of conditions. Speak with your healthcare provider to determine whether this treatment is right for you.

CryoCON 2023

If you’d like to learn more information about the science of cryogenic therapy, how it works, best practices for running a successful wellness business, and try out the latest technological advancements, be sure to grab your tickets for CryoCON 2023 in Dallas, Texas, on March 5-7! The third annual Cryo Convention is a wellness convention that aims to provide information for businesses to learn more about the latest trends in the wellness industry and how they can benefit your clinic, cryotherapy studio, spa, or rehab center.

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