Since we brought Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) to Aberdeen last year, it’s safe to say our clients absolutely love it!
Easily one of, if not the most popular treatment we offer, there have been so many success stories that we have been lucky to hear people say - such as reducing arthritic pains by 70%-80%, clearing up skin disorders, dramatic recovery from injuries, surgical recovery, treating anxiety and depression symptoms, easing general back and neck pains and so much more.
This treatment was a process first utilised in Japan in 1978 where the body is exposed to ultra-low temperatures that range between -200°F and -256 °F as an alternative to ice packs and ice baths.
When people initially get in touch to enquire on cryotherapy, some of the main things they ask are;
“will I manage it?”
“does it hurt?”
“what do I need to wear?”
“what does it do?”
And my personal favourite……………
“……is it really cold?”
Hopefully this blog will help to answer some of these questions and more. Along the way, we have also learned of other perhaps less-publicised benefits which the chamber has produced.
So we are transparent, this blog entry is based mainly on our own experiences of cryotherapy since we have offered it as a service and will include references from several sources including the manufacturer. Many people like myself often search for referenced evidence or clinical trials whilst either researching or prior to trying a treatment for themselves. Many of these will indicate that cryotherapy is no better than application of an ice pack. After having been fully immersed in the world of cryotherapy for over a year now and seeing first-hand what it has done for people, all of us here have developed our own well-founded opinions.
Ok, in all seriousness - when people ask the very logical question of if it is cold - I know what they mean. They want to know if it is the same type of cold as cold-water swimming, ice baths, cold showers etc and will it be unbearable or not. WBC is more of a cold air therapy which translates as a dry, fresh oxygenated air so you won’t experience shivering, goosebumps or other reactions that you might associate with being cold. Because of this technology, unlike an ice bath or immersion, WBC is not painful. During the treatment, you expose your skin to the extreme cold wearing only shorts and for women, shorts and a sports bra or similar. Your skin temperature will decrease between 30-45 degrees over 3 minutes in the chamber. Even if you don’t like being cold, this process will rejuvenate your body, skin and mind and you will leave with a sense of achievement that you have been able to stand in your underwear in freezing cold -125F (-90c) for 3 minutes.
Clients who have undergone our WBC say they experience a multitude of benefits, some common ones including "feeling re-energised", “a feeling of wellbeing” and “having more energy”.
Such a 'cool' photo taken during one of our cryo sessions
Other interesting stuff we've noticed that Cryotherapy can help with
At this time of year in this neck of the woods, let’s face it, we are already cold, so why would you want to visit our studio to get even more cold…?
IMMUNE SYSTEM AND SLEEP
One answer is that WBC can have a very positive effect on your immune and central nervous system and can actually help to combat cold and flu symptoms. (A popular combination of treatments is our vitamin injectables and WBC in one session). Repeated exposure to the cryo chamber can help increase your white blood cell count. This reduces inflammation and improves blood circulation thanks to an enhanced noradrenaline (norepinephrine) response triggered by the cold. Furthermore, one of the things reported back to us is that cryotherapy has proved to help people have a good night’s sleep. On top of bad colds, having a poor night’s sleep can make you feel even worse - so if you can find ways to aid sleep patterns (even if you are not suffering from a cold), why would you not want to add more hours on to your sleep? Another attribute that busy athlete’s and celebrities claim cryotherapy has on them.
People who have skin conditions such as acne, rosacea and psoriasis also contact us for WBC. We now integrate cryotherapy into the skincare programmes of clients as it has proven to have such positive effects on their complexion. Another common one we have seen is the presence of “bacne” (pronounced Back-Nee) which is known as acne - but on a person’s back, another one that WBC can help clear up significantly.
When exposed to cold temperatures, the blood vessels constrict to help maintain body temperature. When you warm up, these dilate and blood rushes to the skin’s surface, giving the complexion a glow. The cold can also open up the pores allowing deeper penetration of moisturisers. Exposure to the ultra-cold treatment is designed to shock the body into action by revving up blood circulation and boosting the immune and central nervous systems. In short, WBC is helping to reduce the signs of ageing and maintain a youthful appearance.
This is a controversial one. I was a personal trainer for 15 years and am a believer in that to lose weight – you must move more and eat well. But remember – not everyone has the ability to train hard in the gym which may be due to mobility issues, injury / medical history or even anxiety to enter such a gym-based environment. Through a combination of balanced diet and a personalised ability-based exercise plan (if they have the physical capacity), WBC can help to burn additional calories in just a single 3-minute treatment. Granted, the results may vary based on the individual, but additional weight loss may be accelerated by stimulated blood-flow throughout the body which helps to boost the transportation of oxygenated blood. We have had clients from both older populations or those with mobility issues visit us that undertake a programme with us which includes no traditional physical exercise whom have noticed weight loss benefits with WBC.
100% the most common reason people seek out WBC here at the studio, however, are those looking to improve their sports performance by way of accelerating recovery from injury and inflammation following training sessions.
PERFORMANCE & RECOVERY
Cold therapy has been used for many years to help athletes soothe aching muscles and boost their recovery. Many athletes, professional or amateur, and regular exercisers are now turning to WBC to help them to recover faster. WBC is designed to target the muscles, helping to boost blood flow and reduce inflammation. Regular sessions can help you train harder, for longer and recover quickly to help you achieve maximum results from your workouts.
Here are 4 ways that WBC can help you recover from fitness / sporting related injuries.
1. Pain Relief
The application of extremely cold air slows down the activity in the nervous system, creating a numbing sensation and decreasing the pain receptors. This is a natural way for our clients to reduce pain that might come with injury from doing too much at once without having to solely rely on over-the-counter pain relief, such as paracetamol.
2. Inflammation Reduction
Extreme cold temperatures slow down the body’s metabolism at a cellular level, enabling the body to heal and recuperate faster. It is widely known that excess inflammation can hinder the healing process and can hinder physiotherapists and massage therapists from working on the affected areas. Slowing the cellular metabolism also reduces cellular damage with the result meaning the need for the body to self-repair is reduced. So, if a client is at the point where inflammation is starting to cause an issue, a well-planned schedule of WBC sessions will be sure to help get back on track.
3. Muscle Damage Reduction
Studies have shown WBC reduces the muscular / joint damage. Even a short-term exposure to the cold air inside a cryotherapy chamber has been found to enhance muscle fibre repair, limiting the damage at a cellular level and providing a degree of protection from damage in the short term. If timed correctly e.g. straight after intensive training, muscle damage and joint stress can be managed.
4. General Wellbeing
WBC gives clients a refreshed sense of wellbeing. It can lead to a substantial increase in the anaerobic capacity and flood the body with endorphins leaving a user feeling more energised and calmer. This can help in numerous ways, such as increasing energy levels, improving mood and focus, reducing feelings of anxiety and depression, and improving the body’s resistance to illness and disease. It also can lead to an increase in dopamine levels which have been shown to increase the depth, duration, and quality of sleep that many individuals experience, helping with the body’s recovery and the mental wellbeing of the individual.
There you have it - a short synopsis of our experiences with this amazing treatment over the past 18 months or so. We look forward to hearing more success stories in the new year....!
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