Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) is a cold air therapy designed to reduce musculoskeletal pain and inflammation. The therapy works by standing inside a cryotherapy chamber for a treatment session that lasts 2-3 minutes. Cold air is blown over the body to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, causing a dramatic peripheral vasoconstriction followed by a dramatic vasodilatation. The Cryosauna (what I’m standing inside of) uses gasiform nitrogen to lower the skin surface temperature by 30-50 degrees Fahrenheit over a period of two-three minutes. The Cryochamber is cooled using liquid nitrogen, but clients are not in direct contact with the gas. The skin reacts to the cold and sends messages to the brain that acts as a stimulant to the regulatory functions of the body. It produces the scanning of all areas that may not be working to their fullest potential. The skin exposure to the extreme temperatures also triggers the release of anti-inflammatory molecules and endorphins.
Research conducted over the last two decades has established therapeutic efficacy of cryotherapy in a wide range of clinical areas. Most research has been focused on pain management and athletic performance. It has been shown to effectively reduce pain and swelling and improve physical performance. Due to the numerous adaptive physiological responses, cryotherapy has also been studied as an adjunct treatment for atopic dermatitis, cardiovascular health, depression, Multiple Sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, adhesive capsulitis, etc. As Dr. Scott says during our interview, cryotherapy can certainly be used on its own, but it really enhances other treatments that manage pain and helps speed up recovery.
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