Cool Down This Summer: Everything You Need To Know About Cryotherapy

The days are as hot as ever + we can’t get enough of the summer of sweat ++ sun, but one of the latest trends in health + fitness is to chill out ; ). Cryotherapy [meaning cold therapy] involves standing in a closet-like tank, while enduring 2-4 minutes of subzero temps. We’re not talking Chicago winter cold here — a Cryotherapy chamber is typically -200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is twice as cold as dry ice! People from professional athletes [i.e. Lebron James], olympians headed to Rio, celebrities [i.e. Jennifer Aniston + Jessica Alba] + lifestyle bloggers to CHAARGies, looking for new ways to help their bodies recover from exercise, have tried the recovery treatment.

This may sound a bit tortuous, but you’ve probably done a lesser version of Cryotherapy. Applying ice or cold packs to injuries for 15 minutes helps heal the body in similar ways. The cold causes blood vessels to constrict, reducing blood flow, which alleviates pain, swelling ++ inflammation. Cryotherapy then, is like a super-charged ice pack which helps speed up the recovery process.

Cryotherapy originated in Japan in the 1970’s to treat multiple sclerosis + rheumatoid arthritis ++ has been commonly used by elite athletes ever since. While there are still few studies to provide scientific evidence, the potential benefits of cryotherapy other than reducing muscle soreness, can include improving athletic performance + weight loss.

By forcing your body to stay warm in cold temperatures, the Cryotherapy performed burns calories + can potentially keep you burning calories throughout the day. It is not approved by the FDA though, so don’t think you can swap your sweat seshes entirely for Cryotherapy!

If you’re especially sore after a special event [like a marathon], Cryotherapy could possibly help expedite the recovery process, so you can feel like a functioning human being again. However, Cryotherapy should not take away the importance of actual recovery. While you may think you can handle working out every day of the week, rest days are a necessity to allow your body to fully recover.

Cryotherapy spas are opening around the world, but they could cost you a pretty penny [it doesn’t hurt to #TreatYourself every once in awhile]. In Chicago, a Cryotherapy session lasting under 5 minutes can cost between $40-$60. Some people swear by them, visiting 3-5 per week!

If you are brave enough to withstand the frigid cold of Cryotherapy + want to try something new, it’s important to understand your body is not infallible + needs real recovery. If you don’t want to take an entire day off, consider yoga, foam rolling, simple stretching, a massage, or compression therapy. As always, listen to your body + do what feels good + right to you. Catch you on the cool side ; )

++Mary Kesinger [@itsmaryk] // VirtCHAARG Chicago

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