Cryotherapy is a technique in which either a person’s whole body or some part of it
is exposed to temperatures which are extremely cold, for several minutes at a time.
The purpose of exposing the whole body to such cold temperatures is that some
significant health benefits are achievable by regular sessions of such exposure.
Typically, a person would stand in some kind of enclosure or chamber which surrounds
the body, but which also has an opening at the top where the head can be above the
chamber. The temperature in the enclosure will then drop to between -166°F and –
300°F. The individual being treated would only stay in this ultra-cold environment for
between two and four minutes. It’s possible to derive health benefits from a single
session of cryotherapy, but the best results are achieved when it is used with
regularity. Here are some of the known health benefits of using cryotherapy:

Improves Mood Disorders

Exposure to super cool temperatures can trigger physiological hormonal responses,
including the release of noradrenaline, adrenaline, and endorphins. The release of these
hormones can counteract the effects of depression and anxiety, and can help an
individual achieve a much better frame of mind. Studies have shown that whole body
cryotherapy (WBC) has been very effective as a short-term treatment for both anxiety
and depression.

Numbing Agent for Pain

For many years now, athletes have been using cryotherapy as a means of treating
sports injuries which they have incurred, because cryotherapy has the ability to numb
local areas of the body which are painful. Nerve endings which have become irritated
for any reason can be effectively numbed, thus reducing or eliminating pain felt in that
area. One common way of bringing about this result is having a doctor insert a small
probe into tissue near the site of the injury and/or the pain. This technique has been
proven to be effective for acute injuries, chronic pain, and even for pinched nerves.

Reduces Symptoms of Migraines

The symptoms of migraines can be significantly reduced by using cryotherapy, to numb
and cool some of the nerves situated in the neck. Some studies conducted have shown
that migraine pain can be significantly reduced by applying a neck wrap with frozen ice
packs inside, directly to the carotid arteries in the neck. Scientists believe that the
effectiveness of this technique is directly attributable to the fact that it cools the blood
which passes through intracranial vessels. Since the carotid arteries are close to the
surface of the skin, they are very accessible and treatable.

Helps to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

More research is needed in this general area to confirm the effectiveness of cryotherapy
as a technique for reducing the likelihood of a person developing dementia or
Alzheimer’s disease. However, some promising results have already been noted after
using whole body cryotherapy. The anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects
achievable through cryotherapy appear to be an effective counteraction to those
stresses which occur in Alzheimer’s disease. Two of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s are the
oxidative stress and the anti-inflammatory stress which typically accompany the
disease, and regular treatment by cryotherapy may help to relieve these situations
before they can develop into full-blown dementia.

Reduces Arthritic Pain

A reduction of pain related to arthritis has been consistently noted in patients who have
localized arthritis, and who have undergone cryotherapy treatment. Since the treatment
itself is very tolerable, it can be effective at numbing localized pain for most patients.
With much of the pain being reduced or eliminated, it then becomes possible to use
more aggressive physiotherapy techniques, thus increasing the effectiveness of overall
rehabilitation programs.

Treatment for Dermatitis

Some forms of chronic inflammatory skin disease such as atopic dermatitis have been
treated successfully by using cryotherapy. Dry and itchy skin can be improved
considerably through cryotherapy, because it has the ability to enhance antioxidant
levels in the blood, while also reducing inflammation. For this reason, both localized
cryotherapy and whole body cryotherapy can be very effective in the treatment of
atopic dermatitis. Studies have also been conducted on laboratory mice to determine
the effectiveness of using cryotherapy to treat acne and other skin conditions. While
promising results have been achieved in these experiments, more research is needed to
confirm the results.

Weight Loss

Scientists have theorized that when a person is exposed to extremely cold
temperatures, it triggers the production of brown fat. This kind of fat uses a great
many more calories in an effort to warm up the body, and it causes extra body fat to be
burned. This is not to say that there is a direct connection between cryotherapy and
weight loss, but many cryotherapy practitioners have discovered that regular use of the
technique has help them achieve their objectives for weight loss. This is an area that
requires further study and research in order to precisely determine its effectiveness,
but it does appear that weight management can be achieved by regular use of
cryotherapy.

Boosts the Immune System

A study which was conducted on a number of young men discovered that whole body
cryotherapy was effective in boosting the immune system. A total of 10 sessions were
administered to each of the men involved in the study, and after each session their
white blood cell counts were monitored. It was found that counts of lymphocytes and
monocytes, as well as interleukin-6, steadily increased, providing the body with
additional anti-inflammatory capabilities. With this kind of boost to the immune system,
an individual would have a better chance of fighting off disease and other attacks
against the body.