What is Whole Body Cryotherapy?
Whole Body Cryotherapy, also known as WBC, is a method of treatment in which the body is exposed to extreme cold temperatures- more than -200 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 2 to 4 minutes. Since the late 1970s, this method has been used to treat chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis- it is only the past few decades that it was adopted in Western medicine to reduce muscle soreness for athletes.
However, these days, it’s being used in spas as an alternative to weight loss, improvement of skin conditions and complexion, mood support, and so much more. However, more and more people are using it, despite the fact that it’s not regulated by the FDA and it’s not meant to diagnose, cure, prevent, or treat any condition.
While it’s true that it has been established as an effective method of treatment for athletic injuries, the experts say that it’s not necessarily mainstream to carry it into other benefits such as weight loss, skin improvement, and more.
However, there are some people who swear by it. You feel cold when you first step into the chamber. You get the shivers- but you don’t feel frozen.
The treatment is only 2 to 4 minutes, so while your skin is affected, your organs stay safe. If you feel too cold, you can always open the door and step out.
However, before you decide that you’d like to try whole body cryotherapy, there are some things you should know about what the evidence and experts are saying regarding the purported benefits of this procedure.
What Does Whole Body Cryotherapy Facilitate?
Alleviation of Muscle & Joint Pain
Have you ever twisted your ankle or had another type of acute injury and put ice on it? If so, you have treated yourself to an effective form of cryotherapy. When you experience an injury, it’s very effective to put ice/cold packs on the affected area for up to 15 minutes at a time three to four times each day.
However, the truth is, it’s not clear that there are benefits to icing your whole body. There are many pro athletes who are doing this for a quicker recovery- but the evidence is not there to determine if it is more effective than simply resting.
Facilitates Weight Loss
The theory behind this thought is that the cold temps make your body work harder, which burns calories, to keep yourself warm. The spas that are offering cryotherapy claim that one single session will burn hundreds of calories and that repeatedly doing this will increase your metabolism, which helps your body to burn more calories throughout the day.
The reality is that there are so many better ways that you can lose the extra weight. While it’s true that being cold does work to boost your metabolism, it’s a stretch to say it’s effective for weight loss. Instead, you need to make some changes to your eating habits and start getting more exercise. WBC is only a 3-minute treatment. It’s not a magical cure- it doesn’t work that way. True, lasting weight loss only comes with some effort on your part.
Keeps You Looking Young
While there are some people who are using cryotherapy on a regular basis and claiming their skin looks better, if you’re looking for the fountain of youth, this is definitely not it.
It is true that by decreasing your body temperature, the inflammation within your body is reduced- it’s not a long-term solution.
Instead, you should be doing what has been proven to be effective: don’t smoke, consult with a dermatologist about FDA-approved skin treatments, and do what you can to protect yourself from the damaging rays of the sun.
The truth is, as with anything else, there’s no magical cure that’s going to help with your anti-aging efforts. It actually depends heavily upon the condition of your skin and how much you are willing to spend to make yourself look younger. You must do what you can to keep yourself healthy and avoid unhealthy things- and do things that you know are good for your skin.
Relief of Anxiety & Depression
There are some that claim a feeling of “euphoria” when they step out of the cryotherapy chamber. While it may be true that this procedure could temporarily improve your mood and energy, most of the studies have not been conclusive regarding whether or not it effectively treats mental illnesses.
The theory is that being cold causes your body to release endorphins and increases your body’s adrenaline. It does get your blood flowing and can be helpful for those who are anxious and depressed. However, it’s not clear if these effects are long term or not.
After all, anxiety and depression are very complex. The truth is that it’s best to see a mental health professional if you are feeling anxious and depressed. Of course, you can do both. Any type of alternative medicine is a nice addition to the traditional methods of treatment you would be using it.
Finally, while it’s true that cryotherapy does have plenty of benefits- they’re not all necessarily conclusive in their effectiveness. You definitely want to speak with your physician before you undergo any alternative method of treatment. Women who are pregnant should definitely not use cryotherapy. In addition, individuals who have heart conditions and hypertension don’t need to be using it either.
Cryotherapy does seem to be effective and safe as long as it’s being used properly, as using it improperly can cause frostbite and actually be fatal. Still, there are many people out there who have been using it and are seeing the results they want to see- and will continue to use it for as long as they can.