5 Things to Know About Cryotherapy

  1. Cryotherapy is the therapeutic use of cold temperatures. The word “cryotherapy” often brings to mind full-body deep-freeze chambers, but using an ice-pack on an injury is also a cryotherapeutic technique!
  2. It can be expensive. One cryotherapy session (the kind where you go inside a full-body cold chamber) can cost up to one hundred dollars, and isn’t often covered by insurance.
  3. It is usually safe, but the extreme cold can be shocking and unpleasant. People with conditions such as high blood pressure or heart problems are advised to not try cryotherapy. Despite the freezing temperatures, stepping into a cold chamber for a few minutes at a time is not harmful. While minor frostbite could potentially occur, and staying in for longer than a few minutes can be dangerous, the extreme temperatures have not been shown to cause major harm when all precautions are properly followed.
  4. Modern cryotherapy is relatively new, so all the evidence of its health benefits has not been thoroughly examined. Claims of it helping weight-loss or boosting metabolism have not been investigated thoroughly, but it may be effective in treating muscle pain/inflammation. Cryotherapy has been most commonly used to treat athletic injuries. Cryotherapy as a concept, however, has been around for a very long time.
  5. Preparation for a cryotherapy session involves wearing loose-fitting clothing, gloves, and socks to protect the skin. Moving around if possible to promote blood-flow can be beneficial. It’s going to be cold, with some cryotherapy chambers reaching 250 degrees below 0, so expect some discomfort at first.

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