This article originally appeared on Evolve MMA. Read the original article here.
Ever wondered how the world’s top athletes like Lebron James, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Floyd Mayweather stay on top of their game? Well, they all have a common, cool secret when it comes to recovery – and we’re about to reveal it to you.
If your aching muscles and body soreness have been keeping you away from the gym, then perhaps you might want to read on. We understand that you have fitness and/or body goals that you wish to achieve, and that’s why we’re here to tell you that there’s a way to reduce your downtime and maximize your performance – so that you can make every moment in the gym count. Ready to take your training to the next level? Then start recovering more effectively and boost your athletic performance with cryotherapy, the most advanced treatment available to cleanse and heal your entire body.
Psst! Cryotherapy can be for you, even if you’re not a very active individual. Is your office job leaving you with aches and pains? Sitting at a desk in front of your computer from 9 to 5 can lead to a sore back or aching shoulders. The best part about cryotherapy is that it can help you ease these ailments while also boosting your energy levels, among the other benefits that you reap from your session!
What is cryotherapy?
Back in 1978, Toshima Yamaguchi, a rheumatologist in Japan, discovered that subjecting the body to extreme cold played a part in enabling rheumatoid arthritis patients to move better and feel less pain for up to four hours post treatment.
Fast forward to today, this treatment is still made available and is now more accessible than ever. Cryotherapy consists of exposing the whole body to sub-zero temperatures (around -150°C) for 3 minutes. In order to do so, the person will stand in a cryosauna, in minimal clothing, so as to be bathed in the cold air.
How does cryotherapy work?
When the body is exposed to the -150°C temperature in the cryosauna, its sympathetic nervous system is stimulated via the skin’s cold receptors. This tightens up the blood vessels and constricts peripheral tissues, sending blood from the skin surface, muscle tissue, and surrounding joint space to the core to protect core temperature.
While the blood is traveling to the core, it passes through the cardiovascular system, where it is cleansed of toxins and supplied with oxygen, nutrients, and enzymes.
During the 3 minutes that the body is in the cryosauna, the blood continues to be cleansed as it loops between the vital organs and the cardiovascular system, while the activated cell pathways cause an increase in metabolic rate and the release of norepinephrine. This thermogenic effect also inhibits collagenase, preventing the breakdown of collagen.
When the body exits the cryosauna, it vasodilates, and the oxygenated, enriched blood performs a full systemic inflammation flush back through the body, stimulating the rate of tissue repair and triggering muscle regeneration as the body restores homeostasis.
Benefits of cryotherapy
1) Decreases muscle recovery time
A study has shown that cryotherapy improves acute recovery during high-intensity intermittent exercise in thermoneutral conditions. These improvements are believed to be induced by enhanced oxygenation of the working muscles, as well as a reduction in cardiovascular strain and an increased work economy at submaximal intensities.
So, if you’ve been dealing with muscle aches or body soreness – be it from an intense workout or a long day in front of your laptop – this is one of the quickest and most effective solutions to ease your body’s soreness and help you to feel as good as new.
2) Enhances athletic performance
Not only will cryotherapy help your body recover more effectively, it can also boost your athletic performance. A study conducted by physiologists for the International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health found that people who underwent cryotherapy showed a significant increase in anaerobic power. The subjects of the study also showed an increased pain tolerance to fatiguing exercises. So don’t be surprised if you find that you’re able to maximize your performance during your next workout or at your next competition once you start doing cryotherapy.
3) Reduces inflammation
During cryotherapy your body’s production of norepinephrine (an anti-inflammatory hormone) significantly increases, reducing inflammation in the body. This reduced inflammation helps your body heal and recover faster, and reduces pain in problem areas. During the session, your body also undergoes low doses of physical stress from the cold. Such stress keeps your cells on their toes and can then bring about an adaptive response which strengthens your immune system. This happens because of the increase of your body’s immune cells. This boost to your immune system helps you destroy viruses and fight off tumor factors.
4) Pain management
As mentioned previously, the anti-inflammatory norepinephrine gets released during cryotherapy. Hence, this helps to relieve body pain, so you can go about making the most out of your day. Besides that, the nerve signal transmission slows, resulting in fewer messages from your body to your brain. Thus, reducing your perception of pain.
5) Increases energy levels
Due to norepinephrine’s role in neurogenesis, the production of new neurons in the brain, it helps increase energy levels, as well as improve focus, mood, and sleep. Cryotherapy will also increase the production of dopamine, giving you an energy and mood boost. So expect to feel rejuvenated and ready to power through a workout after your session! What’s more, your body will also release endorphins, which boosts your mood and makes you feel more motivated to take on the day ahead!
6) Promotes weight loss
If you are looking to burn fat and lose weight, then cryotherapy can help you out. This is because cryotherapy gives your metabolism a boost and helps you to burn up to 800 calories in the 8 hours after your session.
When your cold receptors are activated by the cold air in the cryosauna, your body goes into thermogenesis, increasing your metabolic rate. During thermogenesis, your metabolism is boosted because your body burns calories to produce heat.
7) Boosts collagen production
Collagen, which is the protein that helps to heal our bodies and helps keep our cartilage, joints, skin, and hair strong, also increases in production after cryotherapy, while collagenase (an enzyme that breaks down collagen rapidly) slows down. What’s more, cryotherapy also inhibits cortisol, the stress hormone, which can break down collagen as well as disrupt your sleep patterns and healthy blood sugar. So, if you’re looking to stay looking fresh and slow down the aging process, cryotherapy is for you!