What is Cryotherapy?
If you’re not familiar with the use of extreme cold for healing, you might be asking yourself, what is cryotherapy?
You’ve seen the social media posts. You’ve heard the rave reviews from friends at your gym or sports team. You know cryotherapy exists but you’re still wondering exactly what cryotherapy is.
Cryotherapy – the use of cold as a healing therapy
In a nutshell, cryotherapy is a revolutionary treatment which relies on the use of cold to treat a range of ailments and to assist in overall health and wellbeing. Cryotherapy is becoming increasingly popular as evidence of its success as a healing therapy during its 30-year history are emerging throughout Western culture from its Japanese origins in the 1970’s. Literally translated ‘cryo’ means ‘involving or producing extreme cold’ and therapy means it is effective as a treatment for a range of illnesses and conditions.
How the cryotherapy chamber works
Cryotherapy involves subjecting your whole body, or parts thereof, to extreme cold. Liquid nitrogen cools the air to temperatures as low as -140 degrees. Whole-body cryotherapy takes place in a chamber (a small room with a glass door) which surrounds the entire body. Cryotherapy can also be administered with a smaller hand-held machine known as a Penguin, on a more localised part of the body to treat a particular injury or area.
During the short treatment, skin dramatically cools down which activates receptors to the brain telling the body to go into survival mode. The brain then re-routes oxygenated blood to vital organs to keep them warm. There is no danger to body organs whatsoever with the cold air only reaching less than a millimetre beneath the skin. The temperature in a cryotherapy chamber can vary from -90 degrees to -140. The lower the temperature, the shorter the treatment time.
The benefits of cryotherapy
After the treatment, the higher quality blood rich in oxygen and nutrients is then pumped around the body as normal, helping to heal targeted pain points, lowering inflammation and treating the symptoms of chronic disease and illness. When you leave the chamber, a rush of endorphins is released which elevates mood and increases general feelings of happiness. This completely natural, alternative therapy provides a wealth of physiological and mental benefits and is used in the treatment of anxiety, depression, weight-loss, cellulite reduction and anti-ageing. Additionally, it’s popular with elite athletes to heal injuries faster and to help maximise performance.
Cryotherapy is a completely natural treatment.
When you look at online videos or images, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you were about to enter a chamber made up of a crazy concoction of chemicals and artificial substances. Think 1980’s smoke machines at the local disco and you won’t be too far away from the vision that exists. But, fear not, cryotherapy is a completely natural treatment that won’t harm your body like many chemical treatments can. The ‘smoke’ you might notice is fresh air which is safe to inhale, safe to have on your skin, and safe to immerse your body in for three minutes while it gets to work on your ailments.
Cryotherapy is a way to lose weight.
While long-term weight loss is never going to be as simple as standing in a cryo chamber for 3 minutes; as part of an ongoing weight-loss program, cryotherapy can indeed help you drop those kilos. Cryotherapy speeds up metabolism as the blood pumps rapidly around the body to get to main organs and protect them from the cold. It’s this faster blood flow which boosts metabolism and can burn up to 800 extra calories per session! The same number of calories are spent by going for a gentle jog for 45 minutes. Amazing.
While cryotherapy can help you lose weight, it’s not something that can work in isolation. A regular exercise program and suitable nutrition plan are essential.
Cryotherapy is a treatment that reduces inflammation.
When an area of the body becomes injured, the body’s natural response is to protect it. White blood cells distribute chemicals into the blood stream which act as a barrier to the pain or injury. While the body is only doing what it thinks is in your best interests, this can leave the area inflamed and warm. Inflammation not only presents itself in the form of swelling and bruising around injured areas, it’s also a major cause of illness throughout the body such as cancer and arthritis. One way to reduce inflammation throughout the body, reducing the risk of illness and improving recovery time for injuries is with regular cryotherapy.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the trusty old ice-pack administered locally on injuries. This is a form of cold therapy that has been used since time began (well, since 400BC when Hippocrates declared that cold water should be applied to the blood flow surrounding injuries) to remove the heat from the source of injury to reduce swelling, bruising and inflammation. Cryotherapy works on the same principle but it causes a healing mechanism from the inside out to get to the source of the inflammation to reduce it faster.
While one cryotherapy session will immediately reduce levels of inflammation by cooling down the heat from the source of injury, regular sessions will reduce overall inflammation levels throughout the body to reduce the risk of illness. If you have an ongoing injury, at Cryoperformance we can also target the inflammation with the portable Penguin machine which allows us to give a localised treatment to reduce inflammation in particularly affected areas.
Cryotherapy is a way to reduce ageing.
As much as we’d love to tell you it can, cryotherapy can’t actually stop you getting older! But it can reduce those noticeable signs of ageing such as facial wrinkles and fine lines. As we age, the production of collagen – the protein responsible for keeping skin smooth and supple – slows down. When collagen production slows down, skin becomes thinner, saggier and certainly more wrinkled. Unfortunately, those lines around the eyes aren’t caused by laughter as some kind old grandparents have led us to believe, but purely lack of collagen. During a cryotherapy treatment, the skin is cooled to temperatures plummeting as low as -140 degrees. Experiencing such extreme cold puts the body into survival mode and collagen production immediately stops. As soon as the body starts to warm up, it over compensates and produces an excess of collagen which is sent straight to those troublesome lines leaving you feeling great and looking even better!
Cryotherapy is more beneficial the more treatments you have.
Whatever your reason for choosing cryotherapy, you’ll notice a positive difference in the way you feel after just one cryotherapy treatment. Once you know how your body responds to cryotherapy, more frequent sessions may be recommended. Over time, inflammation will be reduced, sleeping patterns can be established, mood can be elevated, and pain levels can be reduced. The more treatments you have, the more beneficial cryotherapy is to your overall health and wellness.
Cryotherapy is cold!
While that goes without saying, people can often underestimate just how cold the treatment is! In a whole-body cryotherapy treatment, you’ll step into a chamber where temperatures fall as low as -140 degrees. You’ll be clothed in a purpose designed suit which offers little protection from the extreme temperature. But don’t let that put you off because we guarantee that after the first few seconds of adjustment, the time will pass in a flash. The doors to the cryotherapy chamber don’t lock and there’s someone on the other side to let you out at all times. If it gets too cold for you, all you have to do is wave your hand and you can step outside again. So far, no-one has ever stopped a treatment early at Cryoperformance!
Cryotherapy is a natural mood elevator.
One thing we absolutely LOVE about watching people at the end of their cryotherapy chamber is that 100% of the time, without fail, everyone comes out with the BIGGEST smile on their face! Cryotherapy promotes the release of the body’s natural happy hormone, endorphins, which can clear up even the grumpiest of moods! This good mood will last for the rest of the day, but with frequent cryotherapy treatments over time, this excess release of endorphins can reduce stress, decrease anxiety and serve as a natural treatment for depression.
Cryotherapy is non-invasive.
Unlike many pain-management and health and wellness treatments, cryotherapy is completely non-invasive. There’s no poking, prodding, or touching involved. The liquid nitrogen is administered in the air, not touching the skin, and the effects you see and feel are all caused by your body’s natural responses.
Cryotherapy is suitable for all ages.
Cryotherapy is suitable for kids and adults of all ages and there are no limits on who can receive a treatment. Recently we treated fitness role model Sophie Guidolin’s young son Ryder who has tried every other recommended treatment for psoriasis with no success. Because of his age and the localised nature of his condition, cryotherapy was administered on Ryder with the portable Penguin machine rather than in the whole-body chamber. Regardless of the condition or age of the client, Cryoperformance will be able to deliver cryotherapy in a suitable manner. Read more about little Ryder’s experience with cryotherapy.
Cryotherapy is a way to improve sleeping patterns.
Insomnia can be a vicious cycle. While leaving you exhausted, lack of sleep can lead to stress and agitation at the same thing happening again the next night which makes it harder to get to sleep no matter how tired you are. While sleeping tablets and medication can help you bring your sleeping patterns back into line, they can leave you feeling groggy the next day and negatively impact other areas of your body. Cryotherapy uses excess energy and releases endorphins which help you relax so that a good night’s sleep is almost certainly guaranteed…naturally! Frequent sessions will help re-establish sleeping patterns and get through the stress and anxiety that accompanies lack of sleep.
Now that we’ve shared all you need to know about cryotherapy, the next step is to make a booking at our purpose built cryo studio at Robina on the Gold Coast and try it for yourself! If you have any further questions or would like to make a booking please call us on 07 5562 2813 or book online.