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The advent of cryo technology and its popularity among athletes has spurred widespread research on the mechanisms and benefits of sports cryotherapy. Here are eight major benefits of cryotherapy, uncovered by sports medicine researchers:
Cryotherapy has an immediate analgesic effect on soft tissues by numbing sensitized nerve endings, providing short-term pain relief. It has also been found to significantly reduce delayed onset muscle soreness, commonly felt 1-2 days after intense training.
Inflammation is a common response to intense exercise, thought to contribute to DOMS, and a natural immune response to tissue damage. Cryotherapy dramatically reduces inflammation in soft tissues as superficial blood vessels constrict, shunting fluids away from joints, muscles and connective tissues.
During and after exercise, oxidative agents are produced inside muscle cells that cause damage to the cells and cell membranes. If cell membranes break, which is common in intense sports, the agents are then released into the intercellular space, causing further damage. Whole body cryotherapy (WBC) disrupts post-exercise cellular activity, inhibiting and reducing muscle damage.
Weight bearing exercise has been shown to increase bone mineral density, but WBC may have an even more profound osteogenic effect on bone formation. One study of rugby athletes found that WBC significantly increased levels of osteoprotegerin, a cytokine receptor that inhibits the production of osteoclasts, thereby decreasing bone catabolism and promoting bone formation.
While research has gotten mixed results, some studies have found that regular WBC sessions had a beneficial long-term effect on hemoglobin levels and red blood cell formation in athletic populations. This is important, since red blood cells transport oxygen to muscle cells during physical activity, enhancing ATP production.
WBC has been shown to trigger the release of endorphins, the feel-good hormones that give you a general sense of wellbeing. WBC also promotes the release of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that increases alertness and enhances reaction time. Norepinephrine is also a mood-enhancing hormone.
Regular WBC sessions are found to enhance lipid metabolism and improve the overall lipid profile of athletes by increasing HDL cholesterol levels and decreasing LDL levels.
Elite athletes do everything they can to gain a competitive edge over their rivals. But you don’t have to go pro to enjoy the benefits of sports cryotherapy for faster recovery and enhanced performance. Contact Cryo Den today to schedule your whole body cryotherapy session. And be sure to ask about localized cryotherapy to reduce pain and inflammation, and accelerate the healing of sports injuries.