Anytime you are participating in an exercise program to improve your health, get stronger, or improve your sports performance, it’s important to push yourself and not just coast through. The key to training success is being able to recover in time for your next session.
Cryotherapy is one of the fastest growing methods of training recovery being used by competitive athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. There’s a good chance that you have never heard of cryotherapy, but it’s not as unusual as it may sound. Additionally, even if you are not a competitive athlete, cryotherapy can greatly benefit you. It was originally designed to help patients recover from Rheumatoid Arthritis, but it quickly spread to help recovery from surgery and many other areas.
What is Cryotherapy?
When you hear someone talk about cryotherapy from a health and fitness perspective, they are referring to whole body cryotherapy (WBC). It works by stepping into a chamber that drops the temperature down to -200 to -250 degrees Fahrenheit. This causes your skin temperature to drop by 30-50 F for 2-3 minutes. This drastic change in temperature causes a lot of vasoconstriction and dilation. WBC elicits a multitude of health benefits for users.
3 Main Reasons You Need to Try Cryotherapy
1. Decreased Recovery Time
This is one of the biggest benefits of cryotherapy. Inflammation, fatigue, and muscle soreness brought on by hard workouts make it difficult to consistently perform your best. Research suggests that only 3 minutes of WBC can reduce these negative effects caused by training.
When compared to 30 minutes of passive recovery (resting), 3 minutes of WBC was shown to decrease muscle pain and fatigue in runners. This effectively reduced that amount of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that affects even the most seasoned fitness enthusiasts.
2. Increased Energy
Another advantage of WBC that is at the top of the list would be its positive effects on your metabolism. WBC can stimulate your adrenal glands which, in turn, increases adrenaline and boosts energy levels.
The extreme cold that your body will endure causes a jump in your metabolic rate. In fact, after one 3 minute cryotherapy session, over the next 8 hours, you will burn 500 to 800 calories. This increase in energy can also lead to you being in an all-around better mood.
3. Anti-aging Properties
The benefits of whole body cryotherapy is not just limited to athletes and exercisers. WBC also has some profound anti-aging benefits. A short time in cryotherapy can result in younger-looking, healthier skin by reducing cellulite and regenerating cells.
WBC vs. Ice Baths
Prior to trying cryotherapy, I was a big believer in ice baths. After all, an ice bath can be done at home. and it does get pretty cold. However, these two recovery methods aren’t really in the same league. Ice baths won’t provide you with a fraction of the benefits as WBC, but the real discrepancy is the temperature. As far as comparing recovery benefits, a 20-minute ice bath compared to a 3-minute cryotherapy session is kind of like taking a nap compared to 8 hours of great sleep.
While WBC gets to temperatures of -200 to -250 degrees F, an ice bath will only get you around 45 degrees…not even at freezing temperatures. It’s just not possible for an ice bath to reach the negative temperatures that will stimulate the health benefits of WBC.
Other Benefits of Cryotherapy
You don’t have to be an athlete to benefit from cryotherapy. As you already read, the origin of cryotherapy was to provide relief from Rheumatoid Arthritis. However, it also can help with:
- Better looking skin
- Improved blood flow
- Speed healing (sprains, surgery, injuries)
- Reduce inflammation
Whole-body cryotherapy is growing in popularity, but it’s still only available in certain areas. I strongly encourage you to try it. The cost of a session will run you roughly $40 for 3 minutes (which is the max time). Most places will give you discounts when you buy multiple sessions or combine it with other services.
If you are in the Austin, Texas area. I have had great luck with AustinR3 (no, I am not affiliated with the company and get no discounts are referral bonuses). I combine my cryotherapy sessions with one 1/2 or two-hour deep tissue massage prior. I always feel great afterward.
As always, I encourage you to be a part of the conversation by sharing and/or commenting.
Good Health is the Greatest Wealth.
Here’s another post you may like:
- TheBioMedCenter.com: What is Whole Body Cryotherapy?
- CooperInstitute.org: Whole-Body Cryotherapy(WBC): Does It Speed Recovery?
- AustinR3.com: Whole-Body Cryotherapy
- Cryo.com.au: How to Lose Weight Fast with Cryotherapy
- ChillPensecola.com: Skin and Anti-aging Benefits of Whole Body and Local Cryotherapy
- OrangeCryo.com: Ice Baths vs. Cryotherapy
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