Dr. Michael Santo, Physical Therapist, Titleist Performance Institute Certified, and owner of Function Physical Therapy.
Clients ask me all the time, “Does cryotherapy really work?”
It’s a bit like asking if a plant will grow if you give it water or if the moon has lunar phases – it’s all in the science. Cryotherapy is the scientific reaction your body has when exposed to sub-zero temperatures. Think of it as the modern day ice bath or similar to applying ice packs all over your body.
Here’s how full-body cryotherapy works:
- You stand in a “chamber” and are surrounded by subzero temps (-100° to -274° F) for up to three minutes.
- Skin surface temperatures will hit about 30°F in less than a minute
- The body goes into survival mode and instead of regulating your skin. temperature, it sends blood to your vital organs causing your blood vessels to narrow.
- As your body warms up, the blood vessels re-open allowing a rush of new enriched blood into your core that’s full of nutrients and oxygen.
Typically, this process doesn’t happen in our bodies without the assist of cold temperatures.The benefit of this new blood to your body and central nerves is a great way to speed up body recovery as it aids to reduce inflammation, relieves muscle soreness and chronic pain. There are many additional benefits to cryotherapy, including but not limited to: cold thermogenesis (burning fat with the cold), improved sleep, enhanced immune system, and increased energy levels. Most of my clients come to me with injuries and in order to maximize performance in the long run and prevent injury, it’s important to work towards proper recovery.
As with most things, different people will have different results and you should consult a doctor before trying it.