Pain management and rapid recovery have been a top concern for athletes of all calibers since the beginning of organized sports. Icing and/or ice baths have always been a method of rehabilitation in training and athletics, and with the help of technology, icing has evolved into cryotherapy.
This method of recovery gained popularity in professional sports for its multifaceted benefits including; quicker recovery, pain relief, stimulated blood circulation, a stronger immune system, and improved sleep patterns. Whole body cryotherapy (WBC) chambers use application of extremely low temperatures, reaching -220 degrees Fahrenheit, for one to three minutes to actively assist performance and recovery.
By Incorporating cryotherapy into your training regimen, you will witness first-hand these five benefits:
- Faster Recovery: A study, conducted by the National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance (INSEP), found that runners who used cryotherapy showed a decrease in inflammation following strenuous activity. This translates to saving “2-3 days” of recovery, giving athletes more time and strength to focus on their training goals.
- Pain Management: According to studies conducted by Coventry University, WBC releases endorphins, which then triggers immediate pain relief (analgesia). Most people already utilize a similar tactic, but on a smaller scale. Ice packs and ice baths are commonly used to treat pain, however, they can end up being uncomfortable and time consuming. That’s where WBC comes in — the liquid nitrogen’s dry coldness maintains very low muscle temperature without compromising skin or core temperatures, creating a more comfortable experience in a fraction of the time.
- Increased Blood Circulation: Cryotherapy triggers your body into survival mode during the freezing session, causing an intense circulatory response. The blood supply rushes to the vital organs. After exiting the chamber, the newly oxygen-enriched blood surges through the body, distributing nutrients, enzymes and hormones and eliminating toxins in your system, resulting in overall mind and body enhancement.
- Boosted Immune System: With less toxins in your system and higher white blood cell count, the immune system is immediately strengthened and can more effectively ward off infection and illness. In addition, increased blood circulation stimulates the immune system at an incredibly high level, causing the body to regulate itself, normalizing the hormone balance and increasing antioxidant levels.
- Improved Sleep Patterns: Sleep is a critical component to every athlete’s mental health and physical ability. It is common for deprivation to significantly impair an athlete’s cognitive and motor performance. Cryotherapy causes the body to release feel-good endorphins, which positively affect your sleep-wake cycle. According to the University of Milan, using cryotherapy had a direct impact on limiting sleep latency and improving sleep duration, quality, and patterns.
Cryotherapy has been an aid and solution for athletes since its inception. As more research is done on this technology, cryotherapy is proving to be a necessity in all athletic recovery programs. Working out improves and strengthens your body and mind, while cryotherapy significantly speeds up the process. By investing in whole body cryotherapy you are investing in your athletes’ overall health, wellness and success.