THE COLD RUSH
Cryotherapy, which literally means “cold therapy,” is a technique where the body is exposed to extremely cold temperatures for several minutes. The exposed skin reacts to the extreme temperature by sending messages to the brain that stimulate natural regulatory functions of the body. The blood vessels constrict, immediately decreasing inflammation and swelling in the affected area by rapidly flushing the tissue of fluid and waste.
Many people wonder why not just use an ice pack; what’s the difference? There are several benefits with local cryo that you just can’t get with ice.
- Local cryo allows the skin to get to a consistent, therapeutic temperature without the use of moisture so there is NO pain.
- Icing is not cold enough or fast enough to create vasodilatation, and the brain feels the slow freezing effect of the ice then wants to send blood to the area to warm it up. This warming attempt can slow the inflammatory process and also slows the removal of lactic acid in the tissue which is the cause of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
- With ice there is no way to sustain a constant, beneficial temperature.
Another benefit of local cryo over icing is once the cryo process is complete you can move and engage the area immediately whereas icing leaves you numb and stiff until the treated area warms up.