Taking The Plunge: Cryotherapy

Thermometer outdoor temperature around zero. scale thermometer, the first frost. Alcohol thermometer.

Is it therapy? Or is it just the CRY that leaps from your lungs when submerged from the neck down in in a stainless steel cylinder at minus 200 Fahrenheit that has grabbed the attention of health enthusiasts? Yes, that’s -200F to -240F, and you get to pay for it! After you shell out $50 to $100, its you and your birthday suit for two to three minutes in a haze of liquid nitrogen.

Cryosaunas are popping up all over the US and are quickly becoming the newest craze for anti-aging and chronic pain therapy. Athlete LeBron James and actress Demi Moore are just two of the eager well known people partaking in this endorphin releasing healing method. With nothing more than a pair cotton foot booties and gloves, earmuffs and for the guys, boxers (got to protect the goods), people are lining up to take the plunge.

Professional athletes have been submerging their bodies in ice baths for years to accelerate postgame recovery. Cryosaunas operate under the same principle that extreme cold therapy dramatically reduces inflammation and muscle discomfort. Others use this chilling therapy to reduce a myriad of aliments including depression, disease, muscle tension and migraines. And its not just athletes and actresses that are exposing themselves to the plunge, cryotherapy has made its way to primetime TV. On a recent episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, the giggling gaggle made their maiden voyage into a Cryochambers on camera in support of Yolanda and her on going battle with Lyme’s disease.

The extremely low temperature constricts the blood flow in the body’s extremities and redirects it to the vital organs. This is a self healing mechanism and prevents you from freezing to death. The reduced blood flow eases pain caused by muscle inflammation.

Although whole body cryotherapy was originally developed in Japan in 1978 for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, it is being scrutinized by the scientific community as research is further explored. At this point what we do know is consistency is key. An average of 2-3 cryotherapy sessions a week for a total of fifteen seems to get the best results for those suffering from muscle pain and inflammation as well as Inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and arthritis. Its still not clear if forking over the $100 bucks is any better than filling your bath with ice water. Personally, I’m saving my $100 for a great bottle of wine to be enjoyed by a crackling fire…cozy, warm, and relaxed.

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