Cryotherapy is an exciting, therapeutic treatment in which the body is subjected to beyond cold temperatures ranging from -200°F to -300°F. On a trip to your local cryotherapy clinic you’ll experience temperatures colder than those you’ll find on a trip to Alaska!
Maybe you’re wondering if this kind of cold immersion therapy is safe? Fear not! Cryotherapy clinicians are experienced and skilled in this ultra-cold form of therapy, and have the ability to design and administer effective treatments that last only for a short period of time to keep clients safe. Read on below to find out just how long cryotherapy treatments last, and the amazing benefits they offer.
The Length of Standard Cryotherapy Treatments
There’s really no such thing as a “standard cryotherapy treatment.” This is because cryotherapy can refer to a whole host of different treatments. As cryotherapy literally means “cold therapy,” any therapy involving cold treatment technically falls under the cryo-umbrella. In fact, something as routine as applying an ice pack to an injury is technically a form of cryotherapy. But, for our purposes, cryotherapy refers to whole body, localized, or facial forms of treatment. Each entails a different treatment with a different procedural time length, so we’ll discuss each form of therapy individually.
Whole Body Cryotherapy
To start, whole body cryotherapy is perhaps the most popular form of cryotherapy, and also the most technologically sophisticated. With treatments lasting about three minutes, patients step into something called a ‘cryosauna,’ a tube-like chamber cooled by liquid nitrogen to a temperature between -225°F and -250°F. All the body except for the head is exposed to these ultra-cold temperatures. This form of cryotherapy is designed to improve athletic recovery and performance, decrease joint pain and inflammation, increase metabolism, heal skin, and provide deeper sleep and better moods. Definitely the most intense option, whole body cryotherapy also provides the widest range of benefits.
Localized cryotherapy is a popular, targeted form of cryotherapy, with treatment time clocking in between five and ten minutes. While whole body cryotherapy is a general treatment that aids in a host of issues, its localized counterpart is far more specific. It targets select bodily discomforts, and like massage therapy, addresses pain in a particular area. It does this by using a hose to concentrate liquid nitrogen into a pressurized beam of vapor. The vapor is then applied to the specific area of discomfort, increasing microcirculation, reducing pain and inflammation, and boosting endorphins. The treatment is finished once an infrared thermometer detects the desired skin-surface temperature.
Increasing in popularity is the cryotherapy facial treatment, also sometimes known as CryoToning Facial. This ten minute treatment is purely cosmetic, and is recommended for those looking for an interesting and effective alternative to traditional cosmetic facials. The treatment is non-invasive, and involves which vaporized nitrogen passed over the face, neck, and scalp. Interesting, when a person gets a cryotherapy facial, they don’t have to remove their makeup!
The Effects of Cryotherapy Treatments
Upon exiting the cryosauna chamber and your whole body cryotherapy treatment, you’ll immediately start feeling buoyant and rejuvenated. As your body temperature begins returning to normal, blood vessels dilate and endorphins––the hormones that make us feel alert and energetic––rush through the body. These effects typically linger from six to eight hours.
Additionally, your blood vessels will dilate and rush the oxygen rich blood back throughout the body, which in turn directs collagen, the protein used to improve skin elasticity and repair muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments, to the areas it is most needed. Some cryotherapy advocates even suggest that, in an effort to warm itself back to equilibrium, the body undergoes a metabolic reaction that can burn up to 800 calories in the hours after treatment.
Along with treating pain and discomfort at the applied area, localized cryotherapy also increases microcirculation (circulation of blood in the smallest blood vessels) and promotes collagen growth. Like whole body cryotherapy, it also boosts endorphins, adrenaline, and norepinephrine production. Endorphins activate the body’s opiate receptors, which help to relieve pain and boost mood. These effects continue throughout the day after treatment, which helps the body to relax and sleep more restfully. The treatment has also been shown to be effective in improving external inflammatory conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea, though repeated treatment is required.
Finally, cryotherapy facials also accelerate collagen production, which results in a lifted, tightening effect in the face, and boost microcirculation, which increases blood flow, reduces toxins, inflammation, and puffiness in the face. In addition, as the nitrogen passes over the scalp, follicle growth is stimulated to produce a thicker, healthier head of hair. While you’ll immediately notice a reduction in puffiness, a diminishing in pore size, and a cleaner, brighter, healthier complexion in the days post-treatment, cryotherapy facials work better with consistent use. The more you undergo the procedure, the more elastic and smooth your skin will become. And that’s another crucial point: some cryotherapy treatments respond best with continued use, so if you’re undergoing cryotherapy for a specific reason make sure to give the treatment the requisite time it may need. That’s not to say a single cryotherapy session won’t be of great benefit––it can aid recovery time and improve mood––but the full benefits of cryotherapy won’t be activated unless the treatment is repeated.
Whether you’re trying out whole body, localized, or a cryotherapy facial, you are sure to enjoy the effects of this quick and effective treatment. All three treatments can be safely performed up to twice per day. But while cryotherapy is completely safe for most people, it is not recommended for pregnant women, those with high blood pressure (>over 150 not controlled by medication), those with major heart or lung conditions, those with poor circulation or severe Raynaud’s Syndrome, those with cold-activated asthma, or those with neuropathy (nerve disease) in the legs or feet. Interested in cryotherapy? Book your Cryobar appointment today!