Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about whole body cryotherapy (WBC)
What is cryotherapy?
If you've ever put an ice pack on a sprain, or sore muscle you've used cryotherapy.
Whole body cryotherapy is the exposure of a person’s whole body to temperatures of -166°to -300° Fahrenheit for a short amount of time, usually 3 minutes or less. Your body reacts to the extreme cold and activates several mechanisms that have significant long-term medical and cosmetic benefits
What are the benefits and why would I want to expose myself to that type of cold?
Well, there are many types of benefits and a growing body of research that describe the natural benefits to athletes and individuals using cryotherapy.
Positive effects on the endocrine system:
The extreme cold exposure causes the body to have "fight or flight" survival reaction causing the body to turn up its metabolic rate in order to produce heat. This effect lasts for 5-8 hours after the procedure, causing the body to ‘burn’ 500 – 800 additional calories over the next few hours following a cryotherapy session. After several cryotherapy sessions, the increase in metabolic rate tends to last longer between treatments. Another ‘survival reaction’ to the extreme temperatures is the release of endorphins (natural hormones released by the body) that have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, and improve mood disorders. Cryotherapy has been studied for the successful treatment of medication resistant depressive disorders. Some people have also experienced a noticeable increase in libido, lending to the use of cryotherapy for ED and other sexual disorders.
When you do cryotherapy the outer skin (abut 1/8 of an inch deep) is briefly exposed to freezing temperatures, activating an increased production of collagen in deeper layers of the skin. The skin regains elasticity and becomes smoother and even-toned after cryotherapy, significantly improving conditions such as cellulite and skin aging.
The anti-inflammatory properties of cryotherapy are also used to treat chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis and dermatitis.
Positive Effects on the Musculoskeletal:
Pre-performance and post performance, athletes are using whole body cryotherapy to prepare as well as recover from injuries and improve their performance.
During cryotherapy skin vessels and capillaries undergo severe vasoconstriction, moving the blood from the limbs to the core in order to keep the core body temperature from dropping, followed by vasodilation after cryotherapy. This migration of blood to the core increases the flow of blood through the bodies circulatory and lymphatic systems. Lactic acid, toxins and other stored deposits are flushed out of the layers of the skin and muscles and blood perfusion is improved after several treatments. The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of cryotherapy can help relieve, muscle fatigue, muscle soreness, muscle spasms and joint disorders such as rheumatoid- and osteoarthritis.