If you follow sports, you may have noticed that many elite athletes will hop into an ice bath or cryo-chamber after workouts, or even after an especially strenuous game. As you can probably suspect, it isn’t a mode of relaxation. Cryotherapy is very uncomfortable, but the benefits it offers our bodies can be astounding. Even something as basic as Gelpax applied to the face or localized parts of the body can deliver these icy benefits. But then, what exactly are the advantages of going through the discomfort of the cold?
There’s a reason we reach for ice packs when we hurt ourselves. Cryotherapy not only helps muscles recover quickly and effectively, but it can also help with injuries. Allowing the icy cold to settle against the impacted areas for the appropriate amount of time can help speed up the healing process, thanks to its ability to reduce swelling and inflammation.
Though working out is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, your routine can be counterproductive if you don’t recover properly. One of the main reasons people don’t see progress with their workout routines despite giving maximum effort is due to a poor recovery process. Intense workouts break down your body, and it becomes stronger as you give your body the proper rest and nutrients it needs. Cryotherapy helps the muscles get the recovery period they need quickly.
Studies have shown that cryotherapy not only helps what’s on the inside of the body, but it can also address some chronic external issues as well. The cold can reduce inflammation on the skin like acne and eczema. With acne, the cold works to close up the pores, making them smaller, so it’s difficult for bacteria and dirt to penetrate your skin. The cold also calms itchy patches on the skin, reducing them if not eliminating them.
Cryotherapy has also been used to help those struggling with depression or anxiety. When you surprise your system by hopping into the discomfort of the frigid cold, it sends a shock throughout your system. The cold will cause your heart to pick up the pace, and get the blood to start pumping to warm you up. The jolt will wake you up and give you a pick-me-up for the day that’s to come.
Most people don’t have the money or time to set up a cryo-chamber or consistently draw an ice bath. A cold shower or an ice pack targeting the problem areas can be just as effective. For example, studies have shown that cryotherapy around the neck can help fight against painful migraines or headaches, so full immersion isn’t necessary for every instance.
Cryotherapy can also be used as a preventative measure to stave off future illnesses. As we age, risk factors increase for ailments such as arthritis or dementia, and even cancer. With cryotherapy, we can work to strengthen our immune system to help fight diseases. Despite the immense discomfort, cryotherapy isn’t a long process that you have to endure to avail yourself of its benefits. In as little as two to three minutes a day, you can work toward a healthier lifestyle.