For years, athletes and medical professionals have used forms of cryotherapy like the application of ice to treat
injuries. In fact, it’s not uncommon to hear stories about endurance athletes spending 10 – 20 minutes in an uncomfortable ice bath (50 degrees F) post exercise in an effort to speed recovery. Cryotherapy decreases blood flow, inflammation, and pain; for these reasons, it is often used to treat acute injuries.
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a result of micro tears in the muscle. Activities like downhill running, heavy lifting, and lowering a weight slowly tend to cause more soreness than uphill or level running. This exercise-induced muscle damage results in soreness, inflammation, pain and discomfort, and temporarily decreases strength which can delay recovery. There is a direct relationship between blood flow and skeletal muscle activity. Within the microcirculation, the terminal arterioles control flow distribution, and the capillaries respond to blood flow changes based on muscle metabolism. At the onset of exercise, the number of perfused capillaries increases to provide more surface area for oxygen exchange and decreases the distance for oxygen diffusion. This leads to increased blood flow through the capillaries of working muscle. Eccentric exercise has been shown to increase blood flow by 78% and cause delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) 24 to 72 hours after exercise.
Benefits of Cryotherapy vs Ice Bathing
The concept of cryotherapy to reduce pain and promote healing is nothing new. The ancient Egyptians used cryotherapy as early as 2500 BCE, and it has been used ever since to treat injuries and control pain, bleeding and inflammation. Elite athletes have been know to soak in an ice bath at temperatures around 50º for 10 to 20 minutes after a game or event, enduring discomfort in the interest of speedy recovery.
By comparison, WBC is much quicker than ice bathing, and discomfort is minimal. The procedure uses a cryochamber cooled by liquid nitrogen to temperatures dropping as low as -184º F. A session lasts only a scant three minutes, during which time the top layers of skin drop to freezing, shunting blood and fluids away from the skin’s surface. Excess fluids and toxins are delivered to the lymphatic system to be eliminated, while red blood cells circulate among internal organs to maintain them at optimal core temperature. As the body warms, nutrient-rich oxygen-saturated blood returns to the skin and muscles, nourishing and replenishing cells and promoting new cell generation.
Cryotherapy speeds recovery and reduces post-workout soreness
Cryotherapy promotes anti-inflammatory properties, which decreases recovery time by up to 50%, to improve ability to train, recover and perform. Adding cryotherapy to your regimen will help keep your body in peak physical shape and give you an edge on your opponents. This therapy allows for more intense, higher volume training; enabling you to maximize your full potential and enjoy these benefits.
Whether training as a professional, collegiate, high school, or recreational athlete, Cryotherapy can help you recover faster, stay stronger and enjoy a more comfortable, pain-free workout.