What Does Cryotherapy Do to Your Body? The Science behind Cryotherapy

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Cryotherapy is nothing new. You have probably stumbled upon it at a certain point. What would you associate it with? Is it related to medicine or a fashion trend? Although used by many celebrities, cryotherapy has been around since 1978, when it was used for the treating of rheumatoid arthritis. For over 40 years, cryotherapy is applied in treating serious health conditions, such as cancer. Let’s put the puzzles together and look at the big picture.

Meet the Freezing Power

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The term cryotherapy signifies any treatment which includes near-freezing temperatures – between – 100 and – 140 degrees Celsius. The treatment is usually performed in special chambers and lasts between two and five minutes. Likewise, the treatment can also be done on localized areas of the body, for treating various physical and even psychological conditions.

Underneath Our Skin – Magic Happens

If you live in a modern climate, you are probably experiencing a panic attack as soon as the temperature approaches zero and wondering how are you going to make it through the winter. So how is it possible that these low temperatures don’t harm our body? Fear not, science says. Here are the main parts of the cryotherapy process:

  • The low temperature only affects the outer layer of the skin – its thermoreceptors.
  • These receptors send an alert signal to the brain
  • In order to protect the body from freezing, the brain turns on the defense mode.
  • The blood is directed towards vital organs, gets enriched with oxygen, while toxins and lactic acid get flushed out.
  • After the treatment, the blood flow is increased throughout the rest of the body and carries new erythrocytes, nutrients, and oxygen.

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Cryotherapy Types

The increased popularity of cryotherapy is accompanied by different modes of its application:

  • Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) – performed in special chambers (for treating various issues)
  • Localized Cryotherapy – with the help of a freezing factor like liquid nitrogen and a special probe (for treating skin cancer, warts, ankle sprain, etc.)
  • Internal Cryotherapy – surgical use of a freezing factor (for treating some forms of cancer).
  • Cryotherapy for heart surgery – it is used during open heart surgery and slows down body processes. This way the heart is stopped and the risk of brain damage is excluded.

Benefits of Cryotherapy

Although research in this field is not abundant, some indicated that cryotherapy is an effective tool for recovery and treating of certain health conditions. Here are some of the benefits of cryotherapy:

  • 1. Pain relief – by numbing and deadening an irritated nerve, cryotherapy has proved to be effective in relieving muscle and joint pain and treating more severe conditions like arthritis.
  • 2. Inflammation decrease – chronic inflammations may significantly damage the immune system, which may result in developing serious conditions like cancer. Certain studies suggest that cryotherapy is able to reduce these inflammations.
  • 3. Cancer prevention and treatment – although there is no clear evidence that cryotherapy can completely stop the spreading of cancer, it is commonly used in the treatment. Doctors may freeze off cancer cells on the skin or remove them.
  • 4. Anxiety and fatigue treatment – by stimulating the vagus nerve (which connects brainstem and the body), cryotherapy may help in reducing anxiety and fatigue.
  • 5. Sports recovery – many athletes, stated they feel energized and recover faster after using cryotherapy chambers.
  • 6. Dementia prevention – there are indications that cryotherapy may prevent the risk of developing dementia. Oxidative stress is one of the leading causes of this illness, and cryotherapy may be effective in reducing it.
  • 7. Migraine treatment – some patients stated that cryotherapy helped them in relieving their migraine headaches.
  • 8. Weight loss – although it cannot lead to weight loss by itself, cryotherapy supports this process because of the effect it has on the overall metabolism speed.

Summary

Until further researches are performed, we can’t know for sure whether cryotherapy supports all of the health benefits associated with its use. Everyone should acquire additional information about this process, and consult with their doctor before the treatment.
Also, always choose the providers who combine science and medicine, as Cryo Australia does. Although there is a lack of solid scientific evidence, there are always experiences of the people who used the cryotherapy treatment. A large percent of them stated they felt good and happy afterwards. This is probably a consequence of the endorphin (happiness hormone) release into the bloodstream during the treatment. So if it makes you happy – try it out.

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