What is Cryotherapy Used for
Updated: Mar 27
An Intro to Cryo Therapy & Why People Are Doing It
How long could you withstand temperatures of -250 degrees Fahrenheit -- while wearing nothing but your underwear? Most of us shudder at the thought. But what if I told you standing in it for just a few minutes could alleviate pain, reduce anxiety and depression, decrease migraines, or even prevent cancer? Cryotherapy, which means “cold therapy”, is said to do all of that and more, and brings with it the scientific studies to back it up. Today we explore the primary benefits and some of the risks associated with cryotherapy, highlighting the research we find along the way.
Let’s start with some of the proven benefits, and what they’re good for:
What is Cryo Therapy Used to Treat?
Migraine sufferers may find relief when they try targeted cryotherapy. A study from 2013 looked at the application of cryotherapy to the necks of migraine sufferers, finding it could reduce the pain, but not completely eliminate it. (Sprouse-Blum, Gabriel, Brown & Yee, 2013).
Depression and Anxiety
A study from 2008 revealed that cryotherapy was able to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety by at least 50% in a third of the participants studied. This reduction was noted to be much greater than in those who did not have cryotherapy. It is also said that whole-body cryotherapy (during which the whole body is treated and not just one part in particular) releases endorphins, adrenaline, and noradrenaline, which causes positive changes in those with mood disorders. This was shown to be effective for short-term treatment. (Rymazewska, Ramsey, and Chladzinska-Kiejna, 2008).
In 2012, research indicated there is a chance that whole-body cryotherapy can reduce the inflammation and oxidative stress associated with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other cognitive impairment linked to age. (Misiak & Kiejna, 2012.)
A 2017 study compares cold water immersion and cryotherapy which reveals excellent benefits to muscle recovery and soreness. While cold water immersion can have high effectiveness, the discomfort associated with full on ice baths leads to the obvious popularity of cryotherapy.
In a 2017 study, participants who used cryotherapy reported less pain after intense exercise, faster healing and greater muscle pain relief than those without it. (Abaidia, Lamblin, Delecroix et al., 2017).
Eczema/Atopic Dermatitis and Acne
In 2008, a study involved eczema/atopic dermatitis patients who were asked to stop taking their regular eczema medications and try cryotherapy. Results showed improvements in many of the patients’ skin, although some of them did sustain frostbite on some small areas. (Klimenko, Ahveinainen & Karvonen, 2008).
Another study targeted cryotherapy’s effect on acne and the sebaceous glands in mice. Results revealed skin examined showed signs of recovery 1 - 2 weeks following treatment.
Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is a chronic inflammatory skin disease with signature symptoms of dry and itchy skin. Because cryotherapy can improve antioxidant levelsTrusted Source in the blood and can simultaneously reduce inflammation, it makes sense that both localized and whole-body cryotherapy can help treat atopic dermatitis. Another study (in mice) examined its effect for acne, targeting the sebaceous glands.
Low Risk Tumors
Targeted, localized cryotherapy can be used as a cancer treatment. In this context, it’s called “cryosurgery.” It works by freezing cancer cells and surrounding them with ice crystals. It’s currently being used to treat some low-risk tumors for certain types of cancer, including prostate cancer.
What are the side effects of cryo therapy?
The most common side effects of any type of cryotherapy are numbness, tingling, redness, and temporary flushness of the skin, all of which are almost always brief and should be examined by a doctor if not resolved within 24 hours. Additionally, anyone with diabetes or any conditions that affect their nerves should be approved for cold water immersion or cryotherapy as it could cause further nerve damage with improper over exposure.
While cryotherapy has become a common daily health routine for many, the FDA advises people considering whole body cryotherapy to check with their doctor first. "Potential hazards include asphyxiation, especially when liquid nitrogen is used for cooling," said FDA scientific reviewer Dr. Anna Ghambaryan. Other risks include frostbite, burns, and eye injuries, and “the treatment could also worsen existing medical conditions.” the FDA said.
What should I do/expect after my cryo therapy treatment session?
Your skin should return to its normal temperature and color (not so red) within just a few minutes, although a tingling feeling may continue for a little longer. Any pain in your muscles will likely be relieved shortly, and you may feel more flexible overall. Some report having had better sleep at night after a session. Since endorphins and serotonin are both released during your cryo therapy session, you’ll likely feel wonderful afterward and be fully energized and in a great mood!
Additionally, you can feel free to exercise and work out following your treatment, as this should not cause any problems and is actually well-advised to prolong your enhanced, newly stimulated circulation. Trampoline jumping is especially recommended by some. You can feel free to shower as you wish, although it isn’t necessary after just the cryo therapy session.
Those looking for skin tightening or other aesthetic improvements may need to wait a few sessions to see the results they seek, i.e. cellulite reduction, etc. Depending upon your goals, several treatments will likely be recommended, and some swear by an initial 10 - 20 treatment sessions to allow clients to see unmistakable results in a short amount of time.
What do you think? Are you ready for your first cryo therapy session, or do you still have more questions? Don’t hesitate to call or stop by anytime we’re open and our friendly, informed staff will be happy to guide you and answer your questions! You can also email us at: email@example.com
Cryo Body Works
3501 Hyridge Dr
Austin, TX 78759
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