Cryotherapy is the high-end recovery trend that can supercharge your performance and put muscle pain on ice.
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Let’s get one thing clear straight away, Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) is far more than a high-tech ice bath. It’s a technique that’s been deployed by professional sports teams for years and is now being used to enhance the performance of recreational athletes alike – that’s you by the way.
It involves the use of genuinely freezing temperatures to aid recovery and reduce musculoskeletal pain in a number of minutes. Whilst wearing your bathing suit, dry socks, slippers, and gloves provided, you simply step into the specially designed Chamber. Then all that’s left to do is grin and bear it.
Here’s the lowdown on this sub-zero trend.
How Does it Work?
Once the treatment begins, you’ll be enveloped by a cold, dry mist at -90ºC. But don’t worry about frostbite, it actually only lowers your skin temperature to 5ºC. For around 180 seconds this ice-cold shock will shunt your body into the ‘fight or flight’ response. Blood flow is therefore forced away from the outer extremities to protect the major organs of the body.
This is where the clever part kicks in. Once the session ends, re-oxygenated blood that had retreated away from your arms and legs surges around the body, back into your muscles and delivers a payload of anti-inflammatory and healing benefits to speed up and aid recovery. It’s a recovery mechanism that’s been proven to work at length by research published in the Journal of Human Sport and Exercise.
Not only does it speed up your muscles’ return to maximum performance, this influx of natural anti-inflammatories can also prevent injury for those embarking on a tough new training programme. Cryo is therefore an ideal investment for those finally looking to crack a 40-minute 10K or complete their first triathlon.
And the pain reduction will go well beyond simply abating hard-earned DOMS. Cryo is also an excellent ally when it comes to recovery from a genuine injury that is keeping you out of the gym. Research states that the relief of pain allows for an intensification of physiotherapy, which gives your doctor an edge, and will get you back under a barbell ASAP.
A course of cryotherapy also increases the release of endorphins, which improves mood and sleep quality and therefore maximizes your mental recovery as well as physical. A well-rested mind and replenished stores of willpower are what really makes the difference when you have to dig deep in training, after all.
In as little as three minutes cryotherapy promises to reduce pain, speed recovery, improve sleep and even fire up your calorie burn. What are you waiting for? It’s time you joined the big freeze.