What is Cryotherapy
Since 2011, people have undergone more than a half-million cryotherapy sessions around the world. Within the alternative healthcare realm, many are looking to cryotherapy to treat injuries, speed recovery, and boost athletic performance. If you haven’t heard of cryotherapy, keep reading to learn more about the amazing benefits of this treatment option. Cryotherapy has been around for a long time; the use of very cold temperatures as a therapeutic regimen is currently gaining more attention, and even has professional athletes turning to this technique. Our guide will help you learn more about the health and wellness benefits of whole-body cryotherapy, as well as other procedures that use cryogenics. We will help you understand how this amazing technique can help elevate your mood, enhance healing, and treat many types of problems in your body.
Whole-body cryotherapy, also called WBC, is being used more and more to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and promote healing of damaged tissue. During cryotherapy, your body is exposed to extremely cold air, usually from liquid nitrogen or argon gas.
During a whole-body cryotherapy treatment, your body is immersed in a cold chamber that emits vapors at temperatures ranging from-160℉ to -220℉ (-110℃ to -160 ℃) for usually no more than four minutes at a time (1).
The Cryogenic Chamber
A cryogenic chamber sometimes referred to as a cryosauna, can best be described as a tube enclosure.You lie down or stand up inside the tube, the lid is closed over your body, and your head is left outside of the tube to keep it at room temperature. Cold air is pumped into the chamber, or the air is created by forced convection (2).
Most people are naked inside the cryogenic chamber except for underwear, in addition to gloves and socks to protect your vulnerable extremities. While in the chamber, your session is carefully monitored by the staff at your cryotherapy facility. If at any time you are uncomfortable or want to end the session, you can simply push the door open, or your cryotherapy staff can also stop the session easily with controls or by manually releasing the door.
Understanding the Vocabulary of Cryotherapy
The use of very cold temperatures to destroy cells or to promote circulation can be called many different things. The term cryotherapy is sometimes confused with other uses of extremely cold temperatures, like cryoablation and cryosurgery. In cryosurgery, extremely cold gas, usually from liquid nitrogen, is used to destroy unwanted tissue in localized areas of the body.
Cryoablation means the same thing.
These procedures, which are performed by a physician and usually in a medical office or hospital, are used to remove and treat the following:
• Pre-cancerous skin moles, skin tags, or nodules;
• Retinoblastomas, which is a type of cancer on the retina;
• Atrial fibrillation, which is a heart rhythm disorder;
• Tumors found in various areas, including the prostate, breast, liver, cervix, lungs, kidneys, or bones.
Cryosurgery is most commonly used to remove tumors, both inside the body and on the skin.
Not all these tumors are cancerous, but some can be.If the tumor is on the skin, liquid nitrogen is applied directly to the problem area, using a sprayer or a cotton swab. This destroys the tissue by freezing it.
When the problem is internal, cryoablation techniques are employed using hollow needles that direct the frozen gas to the tumor or abnormal cells. After this procedure, the thawed tissue may form a scab, or dissolve away.
The side effects of any of these localized cryo-surgical techniques are usually minimal but can include mild pain, swelling, blisters, light bleeding, redness, and cramps.
In rare cases, hair loss or scarring may occur. A form of localized cryotherapy can also be used to deaden a nerve that is irritated and causing pain. To accomplish this, a doctor will insert a probe into the tissue surrounding the affected nerve, and the probe’s temperature is then dropped significantly to freeze this nerve. Once frozen, the nerve is inactivated, and pain should stop.
This is an effective option for those dealing with nerve pain.This technique can be used to treat many different conditions that irritate an isolated nerve.The most common include pinched nerves, also called nerve entrapments, and benign nerve growths called neuromas.
These conditions often create a great deal of pain and uncomfortableness, and cryotherapy has been effective at eliminating this discomfort in many patients. In contrast, whole-body cryotherapy is not invasive like cryosurgery, nor does it require a physician, as it is not a medical procedure.
This less-invasive and very quick exposure to extremely cold gas yields different results, compared to cryosurgery procedures.