Despite the connotations of its name cryotherapy has nothing to do with having a good old cry and is actually the term used to describe a therapy which see’s the body or parts of the body exposed to extremely low temperatures.
Cryotherapy takes its name from the Greek language, in which ‘Cryo’ means ‘cold’ and ‘therapy’ means ‘cure’. Originally the procedure started out as a minimally invasive treatment which used extreme cold to freeze and destroy diseased tissue, such as cancer cells, skin tumours, pre-cancerous skin moles and skin tags etc as well as being used to treat tumours in other areas of the body.
Since it’s establishment the treatment has dripped and diluted through into other areas and is now being used in a spa setting to promote health and well-being. Contrastingly to it’s original use the spa version of treatment involves subjecting the body to very low temperatures (minus 132 degrees)for short periods of time in order to increase circulation, invigorate the mind and aid recovery. The process itself will be dependant on your injury, as though it can be used for cosmetic purposes it is usually sought to relieve ailments.
Spa treatment begins with a qualified cryotherapist performing a medical examination to ensure it is safe to continue. The next step sees the client don a special outfit which comprises of a bathing suit and protection for feet, hands, ears and mouth which ensures extremities won’t suffer from frost bite.
First it is into number one of two ice chambers with a temperature of minus 60 degrees. The chambers will usually be cooled with liquid nitrogen and will be dry as humidity would cause scalding. After 30 seconds of acclimatising your body in chamber one, it is on to the second chamber in which the temperature will be around minus 132 degrees below freezing.
Inside you are encouraged and advise to do whatever it is you like to prevent you from freezing over, whether that be dancing or shouting! After three minutes of below freezing temperatures you will come out of the chamber and will usually end with taking a swim, cycle, row etc to warm you up.
The positive effects are usually seen almost immediately after leaving the chamber as your blood circulation increases and a larger amount of nutrients and oxygen are delivered to the organs.
At this point your body will also be reacting to the extreme cold, meaning that all of the essential systems within will be kickstarted, leading to the relief of any painful and uncomfortable symptoms from ailments such as rheumatism, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, depression and much more.