Benefits of cryotherapy
The theory for whole-body cryotherapy (WBC) is that by immersing the body in extremely cold air for several minutes, you could receive a number of health benefits. The individual will stand in an enclosed chamber that surrounds their body but has an opening for their head at the top. The enclosure will drop to between negative 150-190 degrees. They’ll stay in the ultra-low temperature air for between two and three minutes.
You can get benefits from just one session of cryotherapy, but it’s most effective when used regularly. Some athletes use cryotherapy twice a day. Others will go daily for 10 days and then once a month afterwards
Reduces migraine symptoms
Cryotherapy can help treat migraines by cooling and numbing nerves in the neck area. One study found that applying a neck wrap containing two frozen ice packs to the carotid arteries in the neck significantly reduced migraine pain in those tested. It’s thought that this works by cooling the blood passing through intracranial vessels. The carotid arteries are close to the skin’s surface and accessible.
Numbs nerve irritation
Many athletes have been using cryotherapy to treat injuries for years, and one of the reasons why is that it can numb pain. The cold can actually numb an irritated nerve. Doctors will treat the affected area with a small probe inserted into the nearby tissue. This can help treat pinched nerves or neuromas, chronic pain, or even acute injuries.
Helps treat mood disorders
The ultra-cold temperatures in whole-body cryotherapy can cause physiological hormonal responses. This includes the release of adrenaline, noradrenaline, and endorphins. This can have a positive effect on those experiencing mood disorders like anxiety and depression. One study found that whole-body cryotherapy was actually effective in short-term treatment for both.
Reduces arthritic pain
Localised cryotherapy treatment isn’t the only thing that’s effective at treating serious conditions; one study found that whole-body cryotherapy significantly reduced pain in people with arthritis. They found that the treatment was well-tolerated. It also allowed for more aggressive physiotherapy and occupational therapy as a result. This ultimately made rehabilitation programs more effective.
Treats atopic dermatitis and other skin conditions
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease with signature symptoms of dry and itchy skin. Because cryotherapy can improve antioxidant levels in the blood and can simultaneously reduce inflammation, it makes sense that both localized and whole-body cryotherapy can help treat atopic dermatitis. Another study examined its effect for acne, targeting the sebaceous glands.