The cryotherapy or clioterapia is, in general, the application of cold with both therapeutic and aesthetic purposes. It is done using nitrogen vapor, so the cold does not harm the body in the least.
The treatment is carried out in cabins that can reach 200 degrees below zero . Cryotherapy has a wide range of applications, both in sports and aesthetics: it improves the condition of the skin, eliminates toxins, helps in the treatment and recovery process of injuries …
This treatment is having an increasing acceptance among athletes. One of those who most rely on cryotherapy as a sports treatment is Cristiano Ronaldo , who has decided to install a machine in his own home. It is not the only case since, for example, all NBA teams have a cryotherapy cabin in their facilities.
What is cryotherapy?
All human beings have a series of mechanisms that allow us to maintain our body temperature within adequate limits, regardless of the ambient temperature. Thus, in the case of adults, the usual temperature ranges between 36.5ºC and 37.5ºC. However, large variations can occur depending on a wide range of factors: sex, sedentary or active life, type of diet, phase of the menstrual cycle in the case of women …
Well, on this basis, cryotherapy is based on how the body acts when the environment is colder than body temperature . It is the internal part that generates the greatest number of reactions; meanwhile, the peripheral system undergoes what is known as vasoconstriction to prevent internally generated heat from escaping through the skin. It is at that moment when what is popularly known as “goose bumps” is generated. If the body is still unable to regulate temperature, all vascular systems are vasoconstricted.
Thus, cryotherapy is based on altering the body’s thermoregulatory mechanisms . This treatment manages to generate this “goose bumps” effect, but without causing all the vascular systems to become vasoconstricted. In this way, it closes the peripheral vascular system, while the central one is responsible for generating a large blood circulation, which reaches all cellular levels, as well as the different mechanisms of metabolic nutrition .
Origin and evolution
The origin of cryotherapy is in the year 3,500 BC ; the Edwin Smith papyrus made references to the use of cold as therapy.
Several thousand years later, in 1961, Irving Cooper developed the first closed cryogenic probe system, ushering in the modern era of this treatment.
It was in 2007 when elite athletes began to use cryotherapy as a treatment to accelerate recovery and increase their athletic performance.
Effects on the body of cliotherapy
Cryotherapy has a series of very beneficial effects on the body.
- Analgesic: cryotherapy is a very effective treatment for the treatment of pain, both acute and chronic. Thus, its use is common, for example in patients with fibromyalgia . This is explained because extreme cold slows nerve conduction, thus reducing the sensation of pain.
- Anti-inflammatory: Cryotherapy is a powerful anti-inflammatory. The application of extreme cold on the skin causes a decrease in inflammation through vasoconstriction.
- Metabolic: this treatment promotes a series of reactions to compensate for the drop in temperature in the most superficial layer of the skin. Thus, it activates the metabolism and favors the elimination of accumulated fats in the body.
- Relaxation: cryotherapy promotes the release of endorphins such as serotonin , better known as the hormone of happiness. That is why, beyond its benefits for the skin and joints, it produces a great feeling of well-being.
Below we indicate which are the main benefits of cryotherapy as both an aesthetic and sports treatment.
- Strengthens and improves the function of the heart system by increasing the volume of the heart, but not the heart rate.
- It favors the insulin mechanism in the body . In addition, it improves the secretion of pancreatic enzymes such as insulin.
- It considerably improves the digestive process and helps the evacuation of feces. Thus, cryotherapy is of great help to avoid certain diseases such as constipation .
- It favors the absorption of B vitamins, which are essential for the proper functioning of the body.
- Promotes the elimination of toxins by the body, thus improving the health of both tendons and muscles and joints.
What is cryotherapy for?
As we have pointed out, cryotherapy is a treatment that can be applied for both aesthetic and sporting purposes . Below we explain in detail its different applications.
One of the main advantages of cryotherapy in the world of beauty is its effects on both the skin and the hair are practically immediate since practically all toxins are eliminated from the body.
Thus, it is of great interest to treat various alterations of the dermis with the different types of cryotherapy :
- Psoriasis : a chronic inflammatory disease. The cells of the skin of the affected areas reproduce at a higher speed than usual, so that they accumulate forming red and scaly plaques on the skin. It is estimated that it is a disorder that affects one hundred million people around the world.
- Atopic dermatitis : This is one of the most common skin disorders, both among children and adults. It is characterized by the development of scaly and reddened rashes on the skin.
- Cellulite : Cellulite, also known as orange peel, affects about 80% of women. It is characterized by the accumulation of adipose tissue in certain areas such as the abdomen, buttocks or hips. Cryotherapy favors the elimination of toxins and the burning of fat , making it a very suitable treatment to combat cellulite.
Cryotherapy is also used regularly to lose weight as it helps to burn fat. Of course, it is not a miracle treatment. In order to reduce weight, cryotherapy must be accompanied by healthy lifestyle habits; engage in frequent physical exercise and eat a healthy and balanced diet.
One of the main applications of cryotherapy is in the world of sports medicine. A very effective treatment to treat and accelerate the healing process of sports injuries such as tendonitis. Tendinitis is how it is known to the inflammation of a certain tendon of the body; It occurs regularly after a reminder injury to certain joints such as the wrist.
Cryotherapy is also indicated to treat muscle overloads , so common in professional athletes. It is an involuntary contraction of the muscle fibers as a result of the practice of an excessive sport activity or the erroneous execution of a certain exercise. The muscles most likely to be overloaded are those in the upper extremities, neck, and shoulders.
This treatment is also very useful after a high intensity exercise session due to its wide range of benefits. First of all, it favors the recovery of the muscular system . And secondly, it mitigates the shoelaces.
What is a cryotherapy session like?
One of the most frequent doubts among those who are going to undergo cryotherapy has to do with what a session is like. Well, this treatment requires some prior preparation. The patient must go to the center on an empty stomach for more than three hours.
Once there, first a general review of your health is carried out, paying special attention to your vital signs. The patient is then asked to undress and enter the cabin with only special socks , which have three layers of fleece.
The session has a maximum duration of four minutes. During this period of time the patient is subjected to jets of nitrogen vapor, which can reach a temperature of 200 degrees below zero. It is important to note that the body does not have such a low temperature sensation; otherwise no one could stand the session.
The nitrogen vapor is applied from the feet in ascending mode, although the shoulders and head remain outside the cabin to avoid any type of problem in the airways. While the nitrogen vapor is being applied, the patient should perform circular movements slowly.
Once the session is over, the patient takes an infusion to promote the secretion of urine and, thus, the elimination of the toxins generated during the treatment from the body.
To promote the benefits of cryotherapy , it is important to follow a correct discipline of both hydration and nutrition.
Like any other treatment, cryotherapy also has a number of contraindications that are interesting to know. It is generally a metabolism accelerator. Therefore, it is not a treatment indicated for those who suffer from any type of pathology that prevents their body from being able to maintain vascular compensation mechanisms.
Thus, cryotherapy is not an adequate treatment for those who have suffered a myocardial infarction , considered a serious vascular disorder. Similarly, it is also not recommended for those who have suffered a stroke.
Of course, those with Raynaud’s syndrome should not undergo cryotherapy either. It is a very rare disorder of the blood vessels, which narrow in the face of cold or stress . It mainly affects the hands and feet.
In the case of pregnant women, cryotherapy is not an appropriate treatment for them.
Precautions to be taken post cryotherapyHere are all the precautions that must be taken into account when undergoing a cryotherapy treatment.
- During the session it is important to get rid of any type of metallic object, such as earrings or rings.
- Of course, it is essential to correctly position the protectors supplied by the center on the feet.
- The skin must be perfectly dry .
- It is not advisable to use any type of cream prior to the session. If any body cream has been used, it is important to remove the remains that remain on the skin.
- At all times the head must be above the upper end of the booth prior to starting the session.
- To prevent the escape of vapors into the respiratory tract, it is essential to properly place the safety collar and tighten it around the neck.
In short, cryotherapy is a treatment with multiple benefits and applications in the field of health, aesthetics and sports. It has an increasing number of followers around the world thanks to the good results it reports.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.