What is Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC)?
By definition, it involves single or repeated exposures to extremely cold dry air below minus 148 degrees F (-100 C) in a specialized chamber for up to 3minutes per exposure.It was developed in Japan in 1978 as a treatment for arthritis, but more recently has been embraced by professional sports teams, celebrities, and the overall health-conscious market. A cryosauna is a single-person, vertical walk-in chamber that surrounds the user’s body up to the neck with extremely cold non-toxic nitrogen gas. During cryotherapy, the chamber’s environment can drop to temperatures below minus 310degrees F (-190 C) rapidly cooling the user’s skin surface.
With claims that cryotherapy can boost muscle recovery, increase metabolism, reduce cellulite, and burn calories up to 48 hours after a session, it has drawn the attention of the healthcare community. Athletes are particularly attracted to cryotherapy due to assertions that its use can decrease inflammation, redirect blood flow to vital organs, and boost the body’s immune system and metabolism.
Elite athletes and professional sports teams who use cryotherapy include Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, the Denver Nuggets, and the Kansas City Royals, with a number saying they feel better and stronger after cryotherapy. Some even claim it improves their appearance and leads to weight loss, influencing celebrities such as Tony Robbins, Jennifer Aniston, Mandy Moore, Kate Moss, Jessica Alba, and Lindsay Lohan to try it.Some people say that walking out of a cryotherapy treatment feels like you have just been reborn, which is a primary reason it has become a must-have weekly treatment.
Mechanism of Action
Health professionals have generally accepted the use of cryotherapy to relieve pain and inflammation from conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and sports-related injuries. The benefits of cryotherapy stem from the rapid and sharp drop in skin surface temperature.
The extremely cold environment triggers the body’s powerful protective mechanisms, sending the blood from the skin surface, muscles, and surrounding joint space to the core, where it is restricted to the cardio-
vascular system and vital organs in a continuous loop. This shorter loop allows the core temperature to stay intact. It also enhances blood flow, which in turn supplies the organs with elevated levels of oxygen, nutrients, and enzymes.
When the user exits the cryosauna, the body immediately begins vasodilation, returning the blood to the skin’s surface, improving blood supply and flushing out toxins. Participants who have used cryotherapy report boosted energy levels, cellular regeneration, clearer and more radiant skin, improved collagen production, and anti-inflammatory effects that can help relieve psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema.
Furthermore, scientific studies have shown cryotherapy can decrease pain and swelling, diminish inflammation, and reduce muscle spasms and tension.
Cryotherapy can lead to a decrease in muscle tension, which translates to more effective Chiropractic adjustments and massage after just a single session. It is also an effective method for treating acute musculoskeletal injuries, chronic injuries, DOMS, most autoimmune issues and arthritic conditions.