Today, many people are using cryotherapy for different reasons including recovery from injury, pain and weight loss. It is still a relatively new technology, but so far there have been very few cases of adverse side-effects after its use.
All what you have to do before the session is to dry yourself off properly and wear some protective clothing. This includes underwear and a bra for women, socks, gloves and slippers to protect your extremities.
How it feels
Despite the freezing cold temperature, the cold doesn’t actually feel like teeth-shattering as being outside on a cold night without a coat. That only happens because of a long exposure to cold that cools down your body down to the core. Instead, cryotherapy has been described as the opposite of dry heat. Besides, you have to stay in the cryotherapy session for no more than 3 minutes which isn’t too long and you can always open the door and step out if you feel uneasy to carry on.
After the session
After stepping out of the cryotherapy chamber, you will feel really energetic because of the endorphins released by the body. Endorphins are the body’s feel-good hormone which also behaves as a reward system to encourage positive actions. Endorphins are the same chemicals released during an orgasm. So, imagine a fraction of that feeling!
The cryotherapy session involves extremely low temperatures and the body reacts by lowering the blood flow to extremities like the skin surface. Body heat is then preserved within the core of the body to keep the essential body organs running. At the same time, metabolism rates are increased in order to increase the oxidation of glucose to provide energy and consequently, heat for the body.
After 3 minutes in the cryotherapy chamber, all this energy-filled blood is spread throughout the body as it tries to adjust to the normal room temperature. This provides a rush of energy which makes you feel energetic. Additionally, the brain also stimulates the hypothalamus to produce endorphins as a reward for the positive action. Both of these will create an uplifting and enjoyable mood that lasts for hours afterwards.
The main purpose of cryotherapy isn’t for this feeling though. Technology was invented for better reasons. Any pain felt before the session will not be felt anymore because the cold temperature causes nerve endings to become numb. This is why cryotherapy is often recommended when someone has critical pain due to an injury or medical conditions like arthritis.
To be clear, cryotherapy does not cure chronic pain. But by reducing pain levels, it allows the individual to engage in physical therapy that will address the source of pain.
Cryotherapy is also used to speed up the recovery of muscles after an intense workout. Physical activity causes the muscles to become over-exerted and they become inflamed resulting in soreness which forces you to rest. The low temperatures in the cryotherapy chambers reduce this inflammation quicker than just plain rest. When this is coupled with the rush of endorphins, it allows you to continue your exercises.