The first time I tried cryotherapy, I was more curious than anything. But once I learned of the many cryotherapy benefits, I was practically addicted.
First, in case you don’t know what cryotherapy is… it’s the process of using freezing temperatures to help your body heal, according to Medical News Today.
Basically, you go into a chamber full of nitrogen mist for about 3 minutes. This brings your skin’s external temperature down to about 32 degrees F.
It’s not as scary as it sounds, I promise. Well, maybe if you hate the cold, it is.
I tried cryotherapy for the first time at Polar Cryotherapy in Costa Mesa, California.
Before my 3-minute session, I signed some legal paperwork and then was given a robe and socks that went up to my knees. (Dr. Alan Christianson told me that men usually don’t need socks because their legs are hairier.)
When I went in the chamber, I took off my robe, leaving me in my bra and underwear. The chamber covered everything but my head, but the doctor said I could stick my head underneath if I held my breath.
All in all, I loved the experience. I felt so fresh and invigorated after the session was over!
Cryotherapy Benefits According to the Pros
I had experienced amazing benefits of using a hot sauna for muscle therapy, so I was intrigued to see how cryotherapy would be different.
I initially wanted to try it because I had heard so many elite athletes say cryotherapy helps their muscles recover more quickly. Even celebrities use it, including Will Smith, who swears it’s a better alternative to icing after workouts.
And it’s no wonder it’s growing in popularity. Cryotherapy benefits range from improving your mood to clearing up your skin to even increasing your libido.
Here’s what the experts say:
1. Cryotherapy can help relieve pain and heal muscles.
It’s no secret that ice is a great way to help muscles recover after an injury or after an intense workout. But Medical News Today reports that cryotherapy can even help with pain associated with arthritis.
A 2000 study revealed several patients found temporary relief from their rheumatoid arthritis while having regular cryotherapy sessions.
Healthline writes that it can even help with migraine pain and nerve irritation.
2. It can reduce your anxiety and depression.
I remember how good I felt when I got out of that cryotherapy chamber.
And apparently I’m not the only one. A study from 2008 reveals that a group of patients struggling with depression or anxiety found temporary mental relief while regularly using cryotherapy.
Speaking of mental health, another study suggests that cryotherapy’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists need to do more research on this, of course.
3. Cryotherapy benefits even include relief from skin issues and diseases.
Experts believe this is, again, because cryotherapy can help reduce inflammation and produce antioxidants in the blood.
4. It may be able to help you lose weight.
Many claim cryotherapy has helped them lose weight. This could be for a variety of reasons, of course. People may be more eager to work out since their muscles are healing more quickly or their moods are improving.
One small study showed no weight difference after 10 cryotherapy sessions. But those who do find it helps them lose weight swear by it.
Polar Cryotherapy (where I went for my first session) says regular sessions can reduce the appearance of cellulite. If you’re over 35, don’t tell me you don’t care about that…
5. Cryotherapy benefits your post-surgery healing.
By reducing inflammation, boosting the immune system, and relieving pain from the operation itself, HydraLive Therapy writes that cryotherapy can improve post-surgery recovery.
It also helps tendons heal, improves flexibility, and increases blood circulation.
6. Can it even delay aging, too?
Some say cryotherapy can even help you look younger.
Regular sessions can increase the collagen in your skin (preventing wrinkles and healing scars), help cells regenerate, detoxify your skin, and reduce fat deposits in your cheeks.
Basically, your skin will look healthier, tighter and brighter.
Not gonna lie, I’m definitely all about more beautiful skin, hair and nails as well as overall improved health.
That’s why I do regular cryotherapy sessions now. During my first session, I asked the doctor how often I should do it. He told me to start off the first week with three sessions—then go down to once or twice a month.