Post-workout pain is considered as a sign that athletes have challenged their bodies enough for improving strength. Athletes crave for the post-workout soreness so they can feel accomplished. For athletes, soreness is a good kind of pain, however, once the soreness hits, it’s not so much fun to deal with. Small tears are created in muscle fibers during exercise which increases the blood flow to the area, causing inflammation. A similar response is developed after an acute injury, for example, a pulled hamstring tendon or ankle sprain. Athletes resort to the use of cold packs for muscle soreness and injury or taking over the counter anti-inflammatory medication.

Local and Systemic Cold Therapies

The application of ice to restricts blood flow to the area which basically helps in preventing the buildup of inflammation (Hohenauer et al., 2015). However, research is still inconclusive on whether cold therapy makes a difference in inflammation. When it comes to injuries, there is often confusion on if ice should be used or heat. If there is a sign of inflammation, in any case, ice should be used. Heat increases blood flow and as a result causes the inflammation to increase, delaying the process of healing and making injuries worse.

Types of Cryotherapy

The concept of immersing the entire body into an ice bath has been popular among athletes for decades, especially for severe conditions of pain. According to a study, a group of runners immersed into an ice bath for 10 minutes after a 90 minutes workout, while another group performed the same workout but recovered without the ice bath. Much less soreness was reported by the athletes who used the ice bath compared to the control group. However, the levels of creatine kinase (a marker of muscle damage) were similar in both groups. Even though muscle damage and injury remained unchanged, the use of cold therapy made the athletes feel better (Holmes, & Willoughby).

A newer form of cryotherapy that has been quite popular among athletes is the cryotherapy chamber. The temperature in a cryotherapy chamber is significantly colder compared to an ice bath. The treatment is usually short term and lasts about 3-minutes at the most. The theory behind the chamber is to reduce inflammation throughout the body for speeding recovery.

The use of cold packs directly in the area of injury or pain is the easiest form of cryotherapy. However, even though cryotherapy does not speed healing time, it is the best option for the reduction of pain after a high-intensity workout. If you are experiencing soreness in your shoulder or knee, an ice pack may be your best choice.

Counteract Fatigue

There are many different possible causes of fatigue, bringing out a feeling of lethargy and exhaustion; for example, stress, medical issues, and an unhealthy lifestyle. Common remedies for counteracting exhaustion include supplements and exercise. However, another option that has gained quite a momentum is whole body cryotherapy. The technique involves submerging in a chamber or tank for 2 to 3 minutes. The temperature of water in the tank is super low. The technique has been quite popular for a variety of health benefits and has gained increasing attention. Whole-body cryotherapy is specifically used for curing chronic fatigue. When you enter the chamber, your body is shocked by the freezing temperatures, triggering the receptors in your body to send messages to your brain. The brain responds by sending signals to your entire body for increasing blood flow; blood is withdrawn from your body and regulates body temperature; this boosts the supply of oxygen and increases energy. The effect is similar to when you splash cold water on your face to overcome the sluggish feeling in the middle of a tiring day.

Cryotherapy for Reduced Focus

Norepinephrine, a hormone, and neurotransmitters involved in mood, focus, attention, and vigilance are released as a result of cryotherapy. Almost immediately after a session of cryotherapy, one feels a sense of calm, strength and relaxation. This is possibly a result of mitochondrial biogenesis as a result of cold therapy.

Counteract Overall Lethargy

Whole-body cryotherapy sessions induce a significant improvement in the feeling of fatigue and functional status (Miller et al., 2016). Whole-body cryotherapy is similar to exercise since it has an effect on the expression of myokines. It opens a possible window for therapeutic strategies; the clinical output is often improved in terms of post-exercise recovery, soreness and stress with cryotherapy.

Benefits of Cryotherapy for Athletes

Athletes long for maximum performance and if you are one of them, full body cryotherapy would be highly effective for you. Enabling you to achieve your goals. Whether it is healing of muscles at a faster rate, reduced fatigue or fast recovery, it can help immensely.

Joint and Muscle Repair

Injuries and minor tears are very common among athletes and those living an active lifestyle. However, in order to maintain good performance and general health, it is necessary to mitigate these problems right away and naturally. WBC exposes the body to very cool air and purifies the blood, transporting oxygen and nutrients to the soft tissues of the body. This improves healing and allows your body to reach its potential.

Fast Soft Tissue Healing

Inflammation generally results in muscle aches and pain in the soft tissues. Whole-body cryotherapy stimulates circulation, which brings in healing agents such as oxygen and nutrients with the flow of blood. As the blood purifies, soft tissue healing is also increased resulting in reduced pain immediately.

Fast Soft Tissue Healing

Inflammation generally results in muscle aches and pain in the soft tissues. Whole-body cryotherapy stimulates circulation, which brings in healing agents such as oxygen and nutrients with the flow of blood. As the blood purifies, soft tissue healing is also increased resulting in reduced pain immediately.

Summing it up!

Even though cryotherapy is inconclusive as a form of fast recovery from exercise, the upside is that it makes you feel better in terms of soreness and pain.

References

Hohenauer, E., Taeymans, J., Baeyens, J. P., Clarys, P., & Clijsen, R. (2015). The effect of post-exercise cryotherapy on recovery characteristics: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One10(9), e0139028.

Holmes, M., & Willoughby, D. S. (2016). The effectiveness of whole-body cryotherapy compared to cold water immersion: implications for sport and exercise recovery. International Journal of Kinesiology and Sports Science4(4), 32-39.

Miller, E., Kostka, J., Włodarczyk, T., & Dugue, B. (2016). Whole‐body cryostimulation (cryotherapy) provides benefits for fatigue and functional status in multiple sclerosis patients. A case-control study. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica134(6), 420-426.