If you’re someone engaged in competitive athletics, you’ll likely already know that the small details can often end up having a significant effect on your performance and overall health. You’ll likely also already be aware that in order to stay ahead of the competition, every legal competitive advantage you can benefit from is one worth pursuing.

In this blog, we take a look at full-body cryotherapy and how it can be used to great effect to improve recovery time between sessions of intense physical activity, meaning that you can train harder for longer and improve your performance. First of all, however, let’s take a brief look into the science and exactly what it is that makes full-body cryotherapy so effective.

How Does Full-Body Cryotherapy Work?

The concept of using the cold to reduce inflammation and promote healing is not a new one, however, the localized benefit that a cold pack offers is quite different from the effects of a full-body cryotherapy session. Typically speaking, the therapy involves the use of liquid nitrogen inside an enclosed chamber to create a super-cooled environment into which someone looking to enjoy the benefits of cryotherapy will step for around 2 to 4 minutes.

During the time spent in this ultra-cooled space, the human body does something pretty much everyone alive will be very familiar with – it shivers. In an attempt to maintain core temperature, the muscles start to tremble and your whole body then goes into ‘survival mode’, redirecting blood flow to the organs, making your extremities cold and numb.

When you step out from the cold back into room temperature, your body begins to warm up, allowing nutrient-rich blood to flow back into your joints and muscles, helping to promote recovery and healing. When practiced immediately after your work out, you’ll get the full benefit of cryotherapy and this effect has been recognized by science.
(NCBI 2015)

A Variety of Health Benefits

In addition to assisting with the improvement of recovery times for athletes, full-body cryotherapy also offers a variety of other benefits that will help to improve your athletic performance, which includes but are is not limited to:

Reducing Inflammation – We mentioned earlier that an ice-pack on an injury is nothing new, but full-body cryotherapy is also able to bring down inflammation levels across the body. However, you need to be careful not spend too long in the cold and negate the effects of your workouts which, of course, are designed to create muscle breakdown and inflammation.

Pain Relief – Another positive effect of the full-body cold is in relief from pain and muscle strain, as the nerves across the body are temporarily numbed – something that can be particularly helpful when recovering from injury.

Improved Flexibility – The body’s tendons and ligaments are another important factor in athletic performance and full-body cryotherapy has been found to offer an almost immediate improvement and whilst this might also be the case for ice baths, it’s still a positive side-effect of the therapy.
(IOSR 2013)

Learn more about the benefits of cryotherapy by reading our other blogs.

Accessible and Affordable

If it sounds very much like full-body cryotherapy is something that could benefit you in your athletic endeavors, the good news is that you don’t have to be Usain Bolt to be able to afford it. Whilst it may be true that a cryosauna could cost you anywhere between $6,000 to $30,000 to buy, booking a session in one will only set you back around $20-30, meaning that it’s accessible to both professional and college athletes alike.

When enjoyed on a regular basis, the benefits of full-body cryotherapy become amplified and there is much in the way of anecdotal evidence provided by people who have found that it also offers a real boost to energy levels and overall vitality.

Throw in the fact that full-body cryotherapy is something that is also able to improve the condition of the skin, boost the immune system, help with weight loss and counteract the effects of ageing and it soon becomes evident why it is becoming more and more popular with each passing day. If you haven’t already, we’d recommend that you try out a session or two and discover exactly what it is that’s causing all the fuss.

We think that once you do, you’ll want to try more.

References

Whole-body cryotherapy’s enhancement of acute recovery of running performance in well-trained athletes – Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=25561577

Effects of Cryotherapy and Static Stretching Together and Static
Stretching Alone For Improving Plantar Flexors Extensibility – Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/4e9f/9fe4bfcd985e0652bff106838569ab5ea772.pdf