The term “cryotherapy” comes from the Greek “cryo” meaning cold and “therapy” meaning cure. Forms of cryotherapy have been used as early as the 17th century.
The scientific development of cryo systems started back in the 1980s as research clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of artificial ultra-cold temperatures. Scientists working with the basic principles of cryotherapy developed a breakthrough device: the Cryosauna. Today cryotherapy is well-known around the world.
Cryotherapy is a new technology of regenerative medicine, based on the use of the patient’s immune system. Used correctly, it represents the perfect balance between extremely low temperature applied for the exact amount of time needed for best results. Used effectively, cryotherapy creates an environment in which the body detects and eliminates the cause of a disease. Now it is possible not only to overcome the disease itself, but also to prevent its recurrence. These results cannot be achieved by using natural sources of cold: Even moderately low (-100 to -80 degrees Celsius) temperatures are ineffective. To get results, this form of medical therapy requires a lower, almost “space” temperature of -160 to -130 degrees Celsius. Only then is it possible to produce a powerful wake-up call through skin receptors, which in turn stimulate the mechanism of self-rejuvenation.
The procedure itself is safe and effective for everyone. Basically, cryotherapy is the cooling of the upper layer of the entire skin surface from its normal temperature to 30-32 degrees Fahrenheit for a short period of time (120-180 seconds).
Sports and fitness
Cryotherapy makes the traditional post-event recovery of ice baths obsolete — and is much more efficient and a lot more comfortable. Cryotherapy helps accelerate the recovery process as it improves blood flow and gets rid of waste products such as lactic acid. Athletes and fitness-committed enthusiasts are training harder with increased training loads, recovering faster and increasing speed and performance after a few sessions of cryotherapy.
Cryotherapy can inhibit inflammation, relieve pain of any origin — tendonitis, osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and migraines — and there are significant psychological benefits. Cryotherapy can ease depression and insomnia, anxiety and stress. As cryotherapy increases blood circulation, libido and sexual stamina are improved significantly.
Cryotherapy is used to treat skin tumors, pre-cancerous skin moles, nodules, skin tags, unsightly freckles and prostate, liver and cervical cancers, especially if surgery is not possible.
Cryotherapy is also being used to treat tumors in other parts of the body, such as the kidneys, bones, lungs and breasts (including benign breast lumps called fibroadenomas). Although further research is needed to determine long-term effectiveness, cryotherapy has been shown to be effective in selected patients.
After a cryotherapy session, the most noticeable effect is an improved quality of skin. Skin becomes smoother and more even-toned, regains elasticity, wrinkles and cellulite disappear and post-surgery scars heal faster. This happens as the production of collagen in deeper layers of skin is intensified. Cryotherapy helps fight all kinds of dermatitis and psoriasis by addressing the cause of the disease, not the symptoms.
Cryotherapy sessions can also contribute to weight loss through an increased metabolic rate. This process can be compared to a warm-up as the body starts to produce heat to fight the surrounding cold. As a result, the body’s metabolism speeds up.
For some, the first cryotherapy session is a little daunting, but the benefits are substantial and the science is compelling. Cryotherapy represents a breakthrough to better health and healing. It is a natural match to a commitment to fitness.
Anna Pronin is owner of Cyrotek, a state-of-the-art cryotherapeutic provider in The Camac Center in the 12th Street Gym complex. For more information, call 267-269-0465 or visit www.12streetgym.com/camac.