What is Cryotherapy and Who Should Get It?

09 May. 2019

Cryotherapy means “cold therapy” and refers to any treatment that involves below freezing temperatures. It is still a relatively new type of therapy, so a lot of the benefits are anecdotal rather than scientifically proven. Cryotherapy is becoming more and more mainstream in spas around the world, though, and is popular among people who are looking for a holistic approach to wellness that doesn’t include injections, surgery, or medication.

Cold reduces inflammation, which is one of the main reasons people use cryotherapy. A lot of people claim that cryotherapy can help alleviate pain in either a localized area or throughout their whole body. Some elite athletes actually see such an improvement in their pain and performance that they get cryotherapy treatments a few times a day.

Whether or not cryotherapy makes sense for you is a personal decision. Here are some things to consider before you take the (cold) plunge.

Cryotherapy booth

What is Cryotherapy Used to Treat?

Cryotherapy has been used to treat a number of ailments. Doctors use it to eliminate nerve pain in patients suffering from certain conditions, including cancer.

Cryotherapy treatments that you see in your spa is more geared toward soothing sore muscles or as a holistic way to treat certain conditions including the following:

Man having cryotherapy

1. Migraines

Migraines can take over your life, so finding ways to treat them can make a huge difference in your life. Cryotherapy is one option that treats migraines by numbing nerves in the neck area. Research in this area is still ongoing, but it’s believed that applying cold to your neck when you’re suffering from a migraine actually cools the blood that passes through the intracranial vessels, thereby reducing your migraine symptoms.

Woman having cryotherapy

2. Mood disorders

People who have mood disorders such as depression and anxiety might get some relief from cryotherapy. That’s because the cold temperatures you’re exposed to in whole-body cryotherapy can trigger positive hormonal responses. Your body will release endorphins and adrenaline, which can help people who suffer from mood disorders.

Cryotherapy for acne skin

3. Acne and skin conditions

Cryotherapy has been shown to improve the symptoms and appearance of atopic dermatitis, which is characterized by dry, itchy skin. Cryotherapy reduces inflammation and boosts levels of antioxidants, which can both help treat acne and other skin conditions.

Can cryotherapy help with weight loss?

While there hasn’t been extensive research on the connection between cryotherapy and weight loss, the best answer here is that the treatment doesn’t directly help with weight loss, but it can have a positive indirect impact for people who are trying to lose weight.

Here’s how. The treatment can alleviate muscle aches and pains that might otherwise keep you from being active. Getting regular treatments, therefore, can make it more likely that you get back into your fitness routine faster after an injury or period of soreness. Further, your body does burn more calories when it’s cold in an effort to stay warm. However, studies so far suggest that there isn’t a direct correlation between getting cryotherapy treatments and losing weight.

If you’re an athlete or have a condition that causes inflammation or pain, consider adding cryotherapy to your holistic wellness routine.