Healthy Living

How to Prepare for Cryotherapy

How to Prepare for Cryotherapy

Key Takeaways

  • The hands and feet should be covered to prevent frostbite
  • You should completely dry yourself before entering the cryotherapy chamber.
  • You should enter an acclimatization chamber first, before entering the actual cryotherapy chamber. 

A cryotherapy chamber resembles a huge aluminium canister in which the person enters through a door. The whole session is done in about 2 to 3 minutes while the individual is standing. It is not advisable to stay in the chamber for longer three or so minutes. The chamber reaches your neck level, so your head remains outside the chamber. Once the process starts, dry ice, or liquid nitrogen, is pumped into the chamber. The dry ice covers your whole body up to your neck for the entire session. The dry ice will make your body cold, but it will not condense on your skin. Therefore, your body does not get wet. It only becomes cold.

To make the process safer for the users, there are a few guidelines you must adhere to as you prepare for the cryotherapy session.

Clothing

During the cryotherapy session, you will not be wearing much clothing, because the clothing would create a protective layer on your body, which would protect your skin from the cold. Therefore, you need to wear as little clothing as possible, but you should not be totally naked. It is advisable to cover your midsection. Usually, the midsection is covered shorts or loose cotton underwear. The hands and feet must also be covered to prevent frostbite. Hence, you would need to wear a few pairs of socks and gloves for adequate protection from the cold. Other than that, the rest of your body would be fully exposed to the freezing temperatures, as needed for treatment.

Dry yourself properly

There should be no moisture on your skin at all or on the little clothing you have to also to prevent frostbite. Justin Gatlin learned this lesson the hard way when he showed up at the 2011 World Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea. He had undergone a cryotherapy session before the games, but the socks he had on were sweaty from a previous workout, so he suffered frostbite on his feet.

Therefore, it is crucial to wear dry clothing and dry yourself off completely with a towel before entering the cryotherapy chamber. To ensure the clothing is completely dry, it may be a smart idea to change clothing right before entering the chamber. This will ensure that no sweat has accumulated on the clothing. It was also ensure that the clothing has not been exposed to moisture elsewhere, such as extreme moisture in the air or moisture from rain or snow. Also be sure to dry yourself immediately before entering the chamber. Leaving too much time between drying and the cryotherapy session may cause there to be too much moisture on the skin.

Use the acclimatization chamber

Before getting into the actual cryotherapy chamber, there is another chamber which is cooler than the normal room temperature that you have to go through first. This prepares your body for the extreme temperature drop, because a sudden temperature drop may cause body systems to shut down immediately. In order to avoid the body going into shock due to a sudden and drastic temperature change, entering the acclimatization chamber before the cryotherapy session is absolutely vital. Make sure you spend an adequate amount of time in the acclimatization chamber, as improper acclimatization to the low temperature may cause many problems, as well.

Paperwork

Cryotherapy is still not officially recognized as a form of therapy for treating any conditions, so the institution you choose to have the session at will probably require that you sign a waiver. This does not necessarily mean that it’s dangerous, because you also sign waivers before surgery in hospitals, too. The waiver states that you understand the risks, and it also spells out people who should not undergo the procedure, such as pregnant women and people with hypertension, cold allergies, and cardiovascular problems.

Make sure you read the paperwork thoroughly, because it will not be considered the fault of the institution of complications arise. If the institutional paperwork warns against cryotherapy for a condition or demographic group in which you apply, do not proceed with the cryotherapy sessions. Doing so may result in dangerous and unpleasant consequences.

Do not remain completely still

While there might not be much room to maneuver, you should not stand completely still, as this may prevent blood flow. Instead, it is advisable to make some slight movements like waving your arms and stomping your feet to ensure blood keeps flowing through your blood vessels. If blood movement is hindered significantly, other complications and problems are likely to arise during the cryotherapy session. If you are unsure how much you should be moving, ask before the cryotherapy session is performed, as this is not a matter to take lightly.

Discuss cryotherapy with experienced professionals

While cryotherapy is not approved for the treatment of any condition, it may provide relief for some people experiencing certain conditions. In order to know whether or not it may be effective for you, it is important to discuss the therapy with an experienced professional. These professionals should have information regarding the effectiveness of cryotherapy on your specific condition. They should also be able to tell you whether or not this therapy is right for you, considering your set of circumstances. These circumstances may include age, diseases, conditions, and other factors that may deem this therapy unsafe or unpleasant for you.

While not all experienced professionals may be doctors, you may also wish to discuss this treatment with your doctor. A doctor may provide valuable information as to whether or not the procedure is safe for you, as well as whether or not the treatment is considered to be effective for your specific condition and circumstances. Many doctors may recommend against this procedure, and it may be necessarily for you to follow their advice. If you decide to go against a doctor's recommendation of avoiding cryotherapy, be sure you understand the risks involved. A doctor may also be able to provide you with other therapeutic options.

Final Thoughts

Cryotherapy may be effective in treating your condition. However, be sure to explore all options, and be sure that you understand the risks involved with cryotherapy.