What are 3 benefits of cryotherapy?

What are 3 benefits of cryotherapy?

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Cryotherapy, a technique that involves exposing the body to extremely cold temperatures, has gained popularity in recent years. Many individuals, including athletes and those seeking alternative therapies, claim that cryotherapy offers various health benefits. While there is anecdotal evidence and some research to support these claims, it’s important to note that whole-body cryotherapy is still being studied extensively.

In this article, we will delve into the potential benefits of cryotherapy, examine the risks and side effects, and provide tips and guidelines for its use. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine if cryotherapy is suitable for you.

Understanding Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy, derived from the Greek words “cryo” meaning cold and “therapia” meaning cure, involves subjecting the body to extremely cold temperatures for a short period. This therapy can be administered locally or as a whole-body treatment. Localized cryotherapy can be achieved through various methods such as ice packs, ice massage, coolant sprays, ice baths, and probes inserted into tissue. Whole-body cryotherapy, on the other hand, involves immersing the entire body in ultra-low temperature air for a few minutes.

Potential Benefits of Cryotherapy

While more research is needed to fully understand the effects of cryotherapy, there are several potential benefits that have been reported anecdotally and supported by limited research. Here are some of the possible advantages of cryotherapy:

1. Reduces Migraine Symptoms

Cryotherapy has been found to be effective in reducing migraine pain. A study showed that applying a neck wrap containing frozen ice packs to the carotid arteries in the neck significantly reduced migraine pain in participants. Cooling the blood passing through intracranial vessels is believed to be the mechanism behind this pain relief.

2. Numbs Nerve Irritation

Cryotherapy can provide pain relief by numbing irritated nerves. Athletes often use cryotherapy to treat injuries, as the cold temperature can temporarily numb the affected area. This therapy can be particularly beneficial for conditions such as pinched nerves, neuromas, chronic pain, and acute injuries.

3. Helps Treat Mood Disorders

The ultra-cold temperatures experienced during whole-body cryotherapy can have physiological effects on the body, including the release of hormones such as adrenaline, noradrenaline, and endorphins. These hormonal responses can positively impact individuals with mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. One study found that whole-body cryotherapy was effective in short-term treatment for both anxiety and depression.

4. Reduces Arthritic Pain

Whole-body cryotherapy has shown promise in reducing pain in individuals with arthritis. A study found that cryotherapy significantly reduced pain and improved the effectiveness of physiotherapy and occupational therapy for arthritis patients. This suggests that cryotherapy could be a valuable addition to rehabilitation programs for individuals with arthritis.

5. May Help Treat Low-Risk Tumors

Localized cryotherapy, also known as cryosurgery, is being used as a treatment for certain types of low-risk tumors. By freezing the cancer cells and surrounding them with ice crystals, cryosurgery aims to destroy the tumor. This approach has been particularly effective in treating low-risk tumors, such as prostate cancer.

6. May Help Prevent Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

While more research is needed, there is speculation that whole-body cryotherapy could help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of cryotherapy may combat the inflammatory and oxidative stress responses associated with these conditions.

7. Treats Atopic Dermatitis and Other Skin Conditions

Cryotherapy has shown promise in treating atopic dermatitis, a chronic inflammatory skin disease characterized by dry and itchy skin. The therapy improves antioxidant levels in the blood and reduces inflammation, making it a potential treatment option for individuals with atopic dermatitis. Additionally, research in mice suggests that cryotherapy may also benefit individuals with acne by targeting the sebaceous glands.

While cryotherapy offers potential benefits, it’s crucial to consider the risks and side effects associated with this therapy.

Risks and Side Effects of Cryotherapy

Like any medical treatment, cryotherapy comes with potential risks and side effects. Common side effects include temporary numbness, tingling, redness, and skin irritation. These side effects usually subside within 24 hours. However, it’s important to seek medical attention if these symptoms persist or worsen.

It’s crucial to follow the recommended treatment protocols for cryotherapy. Whole-body cryotherapy sessions should not exceed four minutes, as longer exposure times can increase the risk of adverse effects. When using localized cryotherapy methods, such as ice packs or ice baths, it’s important to limit application times to 20 minutes to prevent skin damage. Always wrap ice packs in a towel to protect your skin.

Individuals with diabetes or conditions that affect their nerves should avoid cryotherapy. The inability to fully feel the effects of cryotherapy can lead to further nerve damage.

Tips and Guidelines for Cryotherapy

If you are considering cryotherapy, it’s essential to discuss your specific conditions and concerns with a healthcare professional. They can provide guidance on whether cryotherapy is suitable for you and offer personalized recommendations. Here are some general tips and guidelines for cryotherapy:

  1. Consult with a healthcare professional: Before undergoing cryotherapy, consult with a healthcare professional to assess your eligibility and discuss any potential risks or contraindications.
  2. Wear appropriate clothing: If you are undergoing whole-body cryotherapy, wear loose-fitting, dry clothing. Additionally, bring socks and gloves to protect against frostbite.
  3. Keep moving during the session: If possible, move around during the cryotherapy session to promote blood circulation and prevent discomfort.
  4. Follow pre-treatment instructions: If you are undergoing cryosurgery, your doctor will provide specific instructions on preparation, which may include fasting for a certain period before the procedure.

It’s important to note that cryotherapy is still being researched, and its long-term effects are not yet fully understood. Therefore, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to determine if cryotherapy is appropriate for your specific needs.


Cryotherapy, a technique that exposes the body to extremely cold temperatures, has gained popularity due to its potential health benefits. While there is anecdotal evidence and limited research supporting the advantages of cryotherapy, it’s important to note that whole-body cryotherapy is still being studied extensively.

The potential benefits of cryotherapy include reducing migraine symptoms, numbing nerve irritation, treating mood disorders, alleviating arthritic pain, treating low-risk tumors, potentially preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and improving certain skin conditions. However, it’s crucial to consider the risks and side effects associated with cryotherapy and to follow the guidelines provided by healthcare professionals.

If you are considering cryotherapy, consult with a healthcare professional to determine if it’s suitable for you and to receive personalized recommendations. As research on cryotherapy continues, healthcare professionals can provide the most up-to-date information and guidance regarding its use. Call us at 205-352-9141.

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