Does Cryotherapy actually work? Sharing details you need to know and a personal experience after 30 days of Cryotherapy sessions.
The type of Cryotherapy that about 90% of us are used to seeing is considered partial body Cryotherapy because your head and neck are outside of the tube that is filled with liquid nitrogen. You’ll get much better results with FULL body, where your head and neck are also inside a room.
Preparation for Cryotherapy
When you’re getting ready for your session you’ll strip down to your undergarments (no wires!!) Then put on the robe, socks, slippers and gloves that the studio provides.
Make sure that you are not wearing anything metal and that you are not sweaty or wet when going into the chamber to avoid the possibility of getting freezer burn on your skin.
Otherwise you don’t need to do any special to get ready for a session.
You are going to be in a -211 degree Fahrenheit chamber for roughly 2:50 to 3 minutes. It’s really not that bad! The key is to stay distracted to make those minutes pass by quickly!
Claimed Benefits of Cryotherapy
It is said that cryotherapy helps with:
- Mood boost
- Increase in calorie burn
- Immune system boost
- Inflammation + faster recovery
Are all of these claims true? Maybe, here is what science has to say.
Mood Boost – Yes
Your mood does increase because the cold increases dopamine in your brain. But your body will adjust to the colder temps and each session ending with you super happy will probably decrease.
Calories Burned – Negligible
Shivering burns calories, but your body needs to be in a hypothermic state, which you definitely are not going to experience in the chamber.
Decreasing Inflammation – Not really
There is no science to prove that cold helps with inflammation. More studies are showing that placing ice on an injury could be detrimental to your recovery. (read more about when to Ice vs Heat an injury)
If you need quick recovery, cold can help with DOMs but long term you want your body to go into repair mode so that it breaks down and repairs your muscles.
“Anything that reduces your immune response will also delay muscle healing,” Physician Gabe Mirkin says.
“The message is that the cytokines of inflammation are blocked by icing — that’s been shown in several studies.”
Helps with Arthritis – Yes!
The one potential area where I could see it being useful is running with arthritis. In that state, you have constant inflammation and if this provides some relief then I say go for it.
Cryotherapy is not the same as taking an ice bath. In fact, there are specific benefits around an ice bath due to the pressure of the water.
So should you try cryotherapy?
I’m a big believer in the fact that what we think is helping us helps. Your mind is really powerful and if you believe you feel better and more recovered, then go for it!
If you’re doing it for weight loss, then no it’s not really that great. You’ll get much quicker results following a great training plan that combines strength training and running.
Looking for more guidance?
- 10 Ways to Resolve Knee Pain
- Why Your Working Out But Gaining Weight
- Does Muscle Weigh More Than Fat?
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