You’ve probably seen some of the Instagram influencers that you follow have posted about cryotherapy, a treatment that involves short exposure to subzero temperatures, (as low as minus 300 degrees for about two to five minutes).
All the cool kids swear by it, with Jennifer Aniston, Floyd Mayweather, and Christiano Ronaldo backing it as an effective skin treatment, weight loss aid and athletic performance enhancer.
We’ve decided to investigate what all the fuss is about.
First things first: how does it work?
Despite only recently gaining public attention, cryotherapy has been around for centuries. If you’ve ever applied the pressure of a frozen bag of peas to a sore knee, (or a hungover head) then technically, you’ve already tried cryotherapy.
WBC, (Whole Body Cryotherapy) is just a colder full body version of this frozen vegetable treatment, and comes in three forms:
1. A room filled with air cooled by liquid nitrogen (cryochamber)
2. An open-topped chamber (cryosauna)
3. A device that delivers localised cryotherapy to particular areas, e.g. an ankle or a wrist
Does it hurt?
Surprisingly not. The experience is similar to standing in front of a freezer, not jumping into an ice bath.
Just why is it so cool?
Originally developed to help the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, cryotherapy has since grown into a cure-all treatment for anything from muscle soreness, cellulite, and asthma to low libido, insomnia, and anxiety.
This, of course, makes you question the treatment’s legitimacy. After all, how can one treatment do all that?
Lance Mald, CMO of Kryogenesis – a popular facility in the United States – says cryotherapy is far from a miracle cure-all treatment, with the most typical regular clients being athletes looking to speed up muscle recovery and those who suffer from chronic pain.
So what are the actual benefits of cryotherapy?
Known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-analgesic, and antioxidant properties, cryotherapy has been shown to decrease inflammation, speed recovery, and prevent excessive exercise-induced soreness.
What do the nerds say?
Most of the available research on cryotherapy is limited and focuses on pain and inflammation. Both a 2012 review and a 2015 Cochrane review didn’t find any real evidence that cold therapy reduces pain or muscle soreness, despite the many athletes who use it for precisely these purposes.
If you’re a professional athlete or suffering from chronic pain, cryotherapy might be worth a whirl. But if you’re looking for something to burn fat, remove cellulite and leave you looking like Jennifer Aniston, well, then, you’re probably out of luck. Either way, it’s clear that more research on its safety and effectiveness is needed.
As an effective alternative, you can take Releaf MSM with Curcumin, which has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can assist to relieve pain and maintain healthy joints and connective tissue.