Whole Body Cryotherapy is based on neuro-reflex processes induced by the intense and brief effect of extreme cold on the body surface.
This explains why its undoubted therapeutic consequences not only benefit the areas in which it is applied, but also those deeper tissues that can not be reached with exposure to extreme cold of 3 minutes.
Whole Body Cryotherapy has analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.
The effects can be summarized in:
- Pain relief
- Inhibition of inflammation and immunomodulation
- Effect on the musculoskeletal system
- Functional improvement of joints
- Regulation of the central nervous system activity
- Sense of well-being
The consensual applications on the effects of Whole Body Cryotherapy at the health level are summarized in:
- Chronic pain
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spine Syndrome
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Immune-mediated disorders
- Atopic dermatitis
- Stress, anxiety and depression
What are the benefits in sports?
- Increased performance
Whole Body Cryotherapy acts at muscular and cardiovascular level, so when applied before intensive exercise it increases physical performance and resistance. It produces an increment in blood flow and the release of chemical substances that help athletes reach more power, higher top speed and greater resistance to fatigue.
- Recovery after excercise
Whole Body Cryotherapy, applied after great physical efforts, boosts muscle recovery, which implies great benefits during periods of strong physical demands, suchs as preseason or the busier weeks of the season. Its relaxing action causes a significant reduction soreness and muscle fatigue.
- Injury recovery
Whole Body Cryotherapy, in addition to preventing injuries, helps recovery and substantially reduces the time of convalescence in cases of inflammations related to hits, trauma and overexertion. Also, it relieves pain and favors muscle regeneration.
- Mental balance
Whole Body Cryotherapy favors the release of endorphins, neuropeptides that create a sense of well-being, happiness and relaxation. It provides mental balance to athletes, greater feelings of vigor and increased motivation.
Who uses Whole Body Cryotherapy?
In the USA, most NBA, NFL and MLB teams regularly use Whole Body Cryotherapy. Although this treatment it’s still less widespread in other countries, football superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale, top teams in the Premier League or La Liga (clubs like Real Madrid or Villarreal) and even road bicycle racing teams like Movistar already rely on this therapy as part of their preparation for top-level competition.
Whole Body Cryotherapy vs Ice baths
Ice baths are still one of the main resources for cold application in sports. Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic, 12-time Grand Slam champion, and jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt use this treatment on an almost daily basis.
Although proffesional athletes use this methods for injury recovery, Whole Body Cryotherapy offers many more advantages at athletic levels: it has proved to be more effective, more pleasant and with less unwanted effects. For this reasons, its use is increasingly becoming widespread among football teams and elite athletes.
In Figure 1 we present a comparative table between both therapies: Whole Body Cryotherapy and Ice baths.
Fig 1. Comparative table between Whole Body Cryotherapy and Ice Baths
|Characteristics||Whole Body Cryotherapy||Ice Baths|
|Procedure||Extreme cold air (-140 ºC a -196 ºC)||Cold water (7 ºC a 15 ºC)|
|Skin temperature||1 ºC a 5 ºC||7 ºC a 15 ºC|
|Treatment time||2-3 min||15-20 min|
|Increments blood flow||YES||NO|
|Increases oxygen in the blood||YES||NO|
|Immune system||Stimulation||Without changes|
|Risk of hypothermia||NO||YES|
|Time to return to exercise||Immediately||12 to 24 hours|
|Increases collagen production||YES||NO|
|Time and temperature control||YES||NO|
|Subsequent joint stiffness||NO||YES|
|Prevents muscle damage||YES||NO|
|Accelerates muscle regeneration||YES||NO|
|Adverse effects (colds, cystitis)||NO||YES|
What are the benefits in aesthetic medicine?
From the outset Whole Body Cryotherapy has had a place in various aesthetic medicine treatments thanks to its anti-inflammatory, vasoconstrictive and analgesic properties.
Some of its main effects are:
- Increases calorie burn
- Cellulite reduction
- Eliminates toxins
- Improves skin quality and various skin disorders
- Oxygenates cells
- Rejuvenates skin
- Helps weight control
These benefits have been proven by different studies. Its applications can be divided into four main categories:
- Effects on the sympathetic system: it produces a general sense of well-being.
- Effects on the motor system: an improvement in mobility is observed, as well as a sensation of lightness in legs and liquid reduction.
- Dermatolgic effects: skin improvement, reduction of marks. Significant decrease of associated itching.
- General effects: overall well-being improvement.
To reach self-satisfaction and plenitude is one of the one of the most sought after objectives for most people.
Feeling satisfied with one’s life implies a series of aspects that should be covered: health or psychophysiological well-being, feeling in harmony with yourself and your surroundings, emotional stability and reaching personal and social fullfilment.
The effects of whole body cryotherapy can help reach that much-desired well-being, achieving improvements at various levels: health, physical appearance and state of mind. This will give us a good dose optimism and will let us improve our quality of life.
Whole Body Cryotherapy stimulates the release of endorphins, boosts energy levels and reduces stress. It has a relaxing and refreshing effect and help with disorders related to insomnia, stress, anxiaety and depression.¿Quieres saber más?