Cryotherapy: Is it Just A Trend?
The concept of stepping into an ice cold chamber, billowing with smoke may seem completely absurd and even rather painful. However this latest wellness trend has been growing in popularity in recent years. Cryotherapy, for those who don’t know, is the process of exposing the body to freezing temperatures for several minutes in the name of health. But is cryotherapy really worth the hype and does it genuinely have a positive effect on your health?
It was used initially as a treatment, and delivered to a select area of the body for sports injuries or the removal of abnormal tissue. Cryotherapy has now however has evolved past the realm of medicine into a more accessible wellness practice, utilised by celebrities, models and health fanatics all over the world.
You may be asking why is there such a buzz about jumping into a cold chamber of up to -140 degrees Celsius, completely unclothed? Well it seems as though cryotherapy is revered for its many beneficial claims:
Many have claimed that they have experienced “glowing” skin post their cryotherapy sessions. It seems there may be some evidence that this cold therapy can actually be beneficial in improving skin conditions. Cryotherapy can improve antioxidant capacity even after just a number of minutes. The improved levels of these free-radical fighting molecules can help to improve blood circulation and reduce inflammation in the body. Therefore, helping to improve any dry or irritated skin conditions caused by inflammation, and yes helping to make your skin “glowy”. This increase in blood flow may also help to repair muscle damage following exercise.
Similarly arthritis, a condition ultimately affected by inflammation in the body, may also see improvement from regular cryotherapy for the same reasons as mentioned above. However there may be another added benefit. Many with this condition have reported a significant reduction in pain following sessions, helping with their rehabilitation programs also. In fact many with chronic pain conditions or arthritis may see benefits with increased pain thresholds as a result of cold exposure.
Following cryotherapy sessions many have reported almost immediate improvements in their moods. This is likely because such drastically low temperatures such as those of a cryotherapy chamber can result in the body initiating a fight or flight response. What this means is that your body releases endorphins and adrenaline, which can instantly cause you to feel more energetic and improve your overall mood. There is some suggestion therefore that this kind of therapy may be useful for those suffering with mood disorders such as anxiety and depression and in trying they may see short-term improvements.
Cryotherapy may also be worth considering for those with persistent and chronic migraines. By cooling the nerves in the back of the neck along with the carotid arteries in a cryotherapy chamber, the body’s blood flow is also cooled. This can help to numb nerves and reduce any severe pain experienced with a migraine, whilst the benefits of this may only be short term, if you experience migraines and are in severe pain it could be a good temporary relief for you.
Cryotherapy appears to have many benefits however it may not be for everyone. If you are diabetic it is not recommended. Those with this condition may have nerve damage and cryotherapy may only further this as it can leave the tissue of your extremities with unusual sensations and numbness. Short term side effects can also include redness and tingling of the skin. It is also important to consider the cost of this therapy. Each session in the UK depends on the length of time spent of the chamber, ranging from around £45- £100. So whilst a one off session may not be too costly, attending on a twice weekly basis may not be for everyone.
Whilst Cryotherapy does have it’s pros it is important to remember that wellness trends cannot replace the health benefits of regular exercise and a balanced diet. If you are looking for help with your diet why not check out our meal plans here.