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18 January 2023

What Is Cryotherapy? The Benefits and Precautions of Using This Treatment

What is Cryotherapy used for?

Cryotherapy literally means “cold therapy” – a short-time usage of sub-zero temperatures or the freezing of tissue. It is a medical procedure used to treat a variety of diseases and conditions. It works by destroying abnormal cells on the surface layer with extremely cold temperatures. This was first discovered by a Japanese rheumatologist Toshima Yamaguchi in the 1970s and was introduced to the US, Europe, and Australia in the 1880s. This form of therapy has been used by doctors for decades and is still gaining popularity due to its efficiency in treating numerous ailments.

There are different cryotherapy methods for applying cold temperatures depending on the location of the affected tissue.

1. Direct contact cryotherapy, which utilizes an ice pack or liquid nitrogen directly to affected areas or tissue that requires treatment. This method helps reduce pain and swelling in small areas. This method is the oldest and easiest way to treat injuries. Its widespread use is due to its efficacy, ease of use, and low expense but can be uncomfortable for some people.

2. Topical cryotherapy, in which liquid nitrogen is applied topically to skin lesions and/or early-stage skin cancer that are benign, precancerous, and/or superficial. This procedure uses an extremely cold substance to kill and remove tissues to treat various skin problems, such as warts and skin tags. It also reduces scarring by targeting only lesions and requires very little downtime after the procedure.

3. Internal or Intralesional cryosurgery approach involves the insertion of a thin probe containing liquid nitrogen into tumors.

Cryosurgery or cryoablation is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat tumors on the skin, as well as tumors inside the body. This type of treatment uses extremely cold temperatures to freeze and destroy abnormal cells while preserving surrounding healthy tissue. A cryoprobe is an instrument that the medical provider uses to apply the freezing temperatures directly to affected areas.

In a typical cryosurgery procedure, liquid nitrogen is delivered through fine needles that are inserted directly into the tumor site. The ice crystals formed by the low temperature disrupt cell membranes and cause the destruction of the targeted tissue while preserving any healthy cells nearby. Recovery time is typically short with few side effects experienced by patients. This procedure is usually safer and less invasive than surgery.

Cryotherapy is commonly used for the treatment of precancerous cells and tumors such as prostate cancer, breast cancer, cervical, liver, and lung cancer. This procedure is recommended when disease and other problems make conventional surgery difficult or risky. For early-stage prostate cancer, this minimally invasive procedure uses extremely cold temperatures to target and destroy the cancerous tissue without damaging the surrounding healthy cells. Cryosurgery is safe, has a low risk of side effects, and the ability to target specific areas (e.g. localized prostate tumors in men) makes it a preferred option for many patients who are not suitable candidates for surgery or radiation therapy.

However, it is not recommended as a primary treatment option and should only be used under the guidance of a qualified medical professional. Cryotherapy requires minimal recovery time and can be performed in an outpatient setting with local anesthesia in most cases.

4. External or systemic cryotherapy, is an increasingly popular medical treatment in spas and clinics in the United States to treat medical conditions and improve overall well-being. Contrary to popular belief, cryotherapy does not just involve immersing oneself in an icy tank for long periods of time. In fact, there are two distinct ways in which it can be delivered: localized or whole-body cryotherapy.

Localized cryotherapy involves targeting only one area of the body with intense cold temperatures to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. This method can be administered by immersion baths, ice packs, or even through the use of a cooling device that attaches directly to the affected area. The best part is that this process is surprisingly quick – often taking only 10 minutes or less. At River Oaks Drip Spa, we offer whole-body cryotherapy sessions that would only last 3 minutes or less with the help of a controlled environment like a cryosauna.

Cryosauna is often compared to a stand-up tanning bed, where the cold liquid nitrogen surrounds the body from the neck down. They are designed with an opening at the top to let participants breathe freely, to eliminate the feeling of claustrophobia.

In general, cryotherapy triggers a physiological response that can improve blood circulation, and helps to reduce discomfort, swelling, muscle spasms, and inflammation in the area being treated. Ideal for those who don’t have time for longer treatments such as massage therapy.

What are the benefits of Cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy (also known as cryosurgery) is often regarded as a cheap, low-risk treatment for problematic areas of your body (such as a sports injury) and provides a therapeutic benefit. Cryotherapy can also be beneficial to patients who have undergone surgery or are recovering from surgery.

  • Improve athletic performance and wellness
  • Reducing cold sensitivity
  • Improves blood flow circulation – your body will be able to better deliver oxygen and nutrients to areas that need it most. It may also help clear blocked arteries for those suffering from circulatory issues such as stroke or hypertension.
  • Relieves joint pain – it lessens the effects of certain chronic conditions like arthritis.
  • Reduces Inflammation and treats pain – it reduces any swelling and numbs any pain felt in the affected area or injury thus improving healing times.
  • Reduce symptoms associated with varicose veins.
  • Speed muscle recovery – it rapidly cools tissues down in order to help the muscles recover from strenuous activity more quickly. The reduced blood flow also helps to remove lactic acid build-up which typically causes post-exercise soreness.
  • Increases Energy – Cryotherapy releases endorphins, a natural source of energy without consuming stimulants like caffeine or sugar which boost mood levels. Additionally, it can be beneficial for athletes who need an extra energy boost during a workout or competition. Professional sports teams often use cryotherapy chambers as part of their training regimen to improve overall performance and gain an edge on the court or field.
  • Boosts metabolism for weight loss – It is making waves in the medical and fitness community due to its potential for helping people reach their desired body composition goals. This causes metabolic changes in the body which stimulates thermogenesis, or heat production, resulting in increased calorie burning.
  • Alternative to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for weight loss in order to lose body fat without losing muscle mass.

Cryotherapy’s benefits for physical fitness are substantial, its insufficient to be used as the only method of increasing general fitness. Therefore, cryotherapy should be viewed as an auxiliary method of supporting physical fitness.

What are the Precautions for using this treatment?

Some people try cryotherapy as an alternative way to relieve stress, for personal enjoyment, or for relaxation. But it’s crucial to be aware of what to expect before you start this treatment.

It is generally safe, but it is important to consult with your doctor before trying cryotherapy especially if you belong to certain high-risk groups such as pregnant women, children, people with heart conditions, and serious high blood pressure should not try cryotherapy. Your doctor will be able to determine whether or not this type of therapy is right for you based on your current health and any underlying medical conditions you may have. If approved by your physician, then they can provide guidance on what precautions need to be taken while using cryotherapy in order to ensure safety throughout the process.

A person must never sleep during the session. It should be timed to ensure it is not longer than the recommended timeframe.

cryotherapy varies from person to person, and some individuals may have to curtail their activity for several days after the procedure. Your doctor will let you know when you can resume your regular routine. You may need to have multiple cryotherapy sessions to completely remove damaged tissue.

Some people who have internal cryotherapy need to reduce their physical activity for a few days after the procedure. Your healthcare doctor will let you know when you can return to your regular routine. You may need more than one cryotherapy treatment to totally eliminate all the abnormal tissue.

A cryotherapy appointment is among the quickest and least painful. Patients do not need to do anything to prepare for the service, but they should not apply makeup, lotion, or powder to the area being treated.

Experience the incredible health benefits of a whole-body Cryotherapy session today. Feel your body’s physical and mental stress melt away, while also improving circulation and metabolism. Don’t wait – contact us now to book your session and kick-start your journey to improved wellness.

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