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Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy

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Definition

Cryotherapy is a process where you expose your body to extremely cold temperatures for short periods of time. The cold helps reduce swelling and bruising or to relieve muscle aches. It is used by athletes of all ages to help them speed up recovery times. It is even by regular people when they accidently bruise their head.

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How to Do It

Placing an ice-pack or a bag of frozen vegetables on your sore muscles or bruised body parts would be considered cryotherapy. You could also put ice cubes in a plastic bag or wrapped in a towel and place them on the body part. 

Cryotherapy spas exist that allow you to use special machines that expose your entire body to liquid nitrogen for a short period of time.

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Benefits

  • Shorter recovery time
  • Reduces inflammation and swelling
  • Numbs irritated nerves
  • Reduces arthritis pain
  • Helps with some skin conditions
  • Reduces post-op pain after joint surgery
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Time Commitment

5-10 minutes

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Why it works

Skin exposed to extremely cold temperatures causes the cardiovascular system to contract, reducing blood flow and lessening the effects of swelling. Cold applied to muscles creates a neuromuscular reaction that distributes the muscle workload, allowing unused parts of the muscle to help the overused parts.  Cold applied to nerves and joints help numbs them and reduce pain and swelling. The response from the body creates a wide range of benefits.

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Suggested Frequency

Use shortly after injury or extreme exercise or as needed if you experience bruising or swelling

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Side Effects

Exposing your body to cold temperatures for too long could result in the risk of frostbite. Be sure to apply cold for no longer than 10 minutes at a time or consult a doctor if necessary.

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Required Equipment

Ice - wrapped in towel or placed in plastic bag

Ice pack

Bags of frozen vegetables

Cryotherapy machine

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Gurus/Celebrities/Doing it

Steph Curry

Antonio Brown

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Notes

The benefits of ice and cold to treat bruising and muscle aches has been known for a long time. Newer methods of cryotherapy using liquid nitrogen may unearth even more previously unknown benefits.

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