What is Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy, sometimes known as cold therapy, is the local or general use of low temperatures in medical therapy. Cryotherapy may be used to treat a variety of tissue lesions.
Cryotherapy is used in an effort to relieve muscle pain, sprains and swelling after soft tissue damage or surgery. It can be a range of treatments from the application of ice packs or immersion in ice baths (generally known as cold therapy), to the use of cold chambers. While cryotherapy is widely used, there is little evidence as to its efficacy that has been replicated or shown in large controlled studies. Its long term side effects have also not been studied.
Whole body cryotherapy
This treatment involves exposing individuals to extremely cold dry air (below −100 °C) for two to four minutes. To achieve the subzero temperatures required for WBC (whole body cryotherapy), two methods are typically used: liquid nitrogen and refrigerated cold air. During these exposures, individuals wear minimal clothing, which usually consists of shorts for males, and shorts and a crop top for females. Gloves, a woollen headband covering the ears, and a nose and mouth mask, in addition to dry shoes and socks, are commonly worn to reduce the risk of cold-related injury. The first WBC chamber was built in Japan in the late 1970s, introduced to Europe in the 1980s, and has been used in the US and Australia in the past decade.
Benefits of Cryotherapy
The main change in the body caused by whole body cryotherapy is the reduction of tissue temperature . The change in tissue temperature also causes a reduced core body temperature. This shock leads to an activation of the autonomic nervous system. This is characterized by rising norepinephrine levels, increased blood pressure, and heart rate variability [6, 7]. When the human body is exposed to extremely cold temperatures, the blood vessels are constricted and reduce blood flow to the areas of inflammation. Once outside of the cryogenic chamber, the vessels expand, and an increased presence of anti-inflammatory proteins (IL-10) are found in the blood [8, 9]. Two literature reviews on whole body cryotherapy support the claims that the induced cooling of body temperatures can help reduce pain, inflammation, and improve recovery [10, 11].
At ReGen we use top of the line cryotherapy equipment; We do spot and localized cryotherapy to focuses on specific areas of the body.