The term Cryotherapy is more popular than ever, being used by several athletes and medical professionals but if it’s a term you are not familiar with and you want to learn what it means, the benefits and why it is so popular. Well, read on.
What is Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy is an upgrade of the old school post-match ice bath. It is a form of extreme cold therapy which has taken the sporting world by storm.
It speeds up the recovery of damaged muscle tissues and ligaments and reduces pain and inflammation meaning athletes can be back competing sooner than before.
Cryotherapy can be administered through two main methods.
Firstly, a cryo chamber, which allows the whole body to be exposed to freezing temperatures for no longer than three minutes at a time.
Secondly, a cryo cuff and cooler, a specially designed piece of equipment that are used to provide ice cold compression to an affected are for a sustained amount of time.
History of Cryotherapy
The term cryotherapy originates from the Greek “cryo” and “therapeia” which translates to cold therapy.
Although this is a relatively new concept to sports treatments, it has been around for longer than you may think, dating back to 2500 BC when the ancient Egyptians used to treat inflammations and injuries with ice and snow.
More recently Dr Yarmaguchi introduced Whole Body Cryotherapy in 1978. The use of extreme cold therapy was revolutionary for its time and was originally used to treat patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
How does Cryotherapy work?
The effects of cryotherapy can be felt immediately and depending on the severity of the injury being treated the effect of cryotherapy may last hours, days or even weeks without any further treatment.
However, if further treatment is required then a specific cryo cuff and cooler can be used for 30 minutes a time for up to four times a day if necessary.
The cold compression works by targeting the affected area, rapidly reducing the temperature around the area reducing the pain, inflammation and swelling.
Before then enriching the blood with more oxygen, releasing endorphins, therefore accelerating the recovery process.
Side effects of Cryotherapy?
The benefits of cryotherapy are obvious, but there are several potential side effects which may occur after using cryotherapy. Overall the side effects are nothing serious and are usually short term.
- Itching or irritation of the skin
Does Cryotherapy work?
Yes. When an athlete sustains an injury blood flow is increased and inflammatory cells collect around the affected area. Traditional methods such as ice packs and freeze sprays have been used but can only do so much.
Therefore, this is where cryotherapy is the best option as the use of extreme cold offers instant relief with long lasting results and a quicker recovery time.
When used correctly, cryotherapy is a tried and tested procedure which has been approved by many medical professionals worldwide.
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