Cryotherapy for Sports
WHAT IS SPORTS CRYOTHERAPY?
Sports cryotherapy is based on the application of cold in order to obtain therapeutic benefits. This therapy has been used since Egyptian times as a health and wellness treatment. Testimonies of its use in multiple cultures throughout history, Turkish bath, cold pool, immersion in icy water, etc., have been found. Therefore, it is not a new treatment. Cryotherapy in sports as we know it nowadays, was developed in the late 70’s in Japan by Dr. Toshima Yamauchi, in his search for a technique that rapidly cooled down the body surface, avoiding freezing the subcutaneous part. This Japanese doctor achieved this effect through the use of nitrogen in a gaseous state creating the first whole body cryotherapy chamber. He developed it and used it for treating of patients who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, obtaining very promising results. Investigations carried out in the last two decades, specially in Europe, Germany (Dr. Fricke) and Poland (Dr. Zagrobelny), have confirmed the therapeuthic efficacy of cryotherapy in many areas. The main investigation lines are related to treating pain and musculoskeletal disorders. The cryotherapy procedure is developed in cabins that use evaporated liquid nitrogen, reaching very low temperatures between -110ºC to -196ºC for a short period of time of 2 to 3 minutes in a controlled environment. This process involves a decrease in the temperature of the skin below + 5 ° C, not affecting this circumstance to the body’s core temperature, which remains constant, thanks to internal thermoregulation mechanisms.
The shock effect produced by the cold stimulus and the extreme reduction in the superficial temperature of the skin generated in a few minutes, induces a systemic effect as a consequence of the “stimulus-reaction-adaptation” process. This leads to a series of neuroreflex mechanisms that will generate a very beneficial body response at muscular, circulatory and neuroendocrine levels.
What are the benefits of sports cryotherapy?
What are the benefits of cryotherapy in sports?
- Increase in the physical performance
Blood flow increases and chemicals are released, allowing the athlete to achieve greater power as well as higher top speed and greater resistance to fatigue.
- Recovery after the effort
Applied after great efforts, cryotherapy enhances muscle recovery. This implies great benefits in periods of high physical demand. It is especially designed for preseasons, competitions, tournaments or championships. Its relaxing action causes a significant reduction of discomfort and muscle fatigue.
- Recovery from injuries
In addition to preventing injuries, cryotherapy enhances recovery. It reduces considerably the time of convalescence due to inflammations caused by traumatisms and overexertion. It also reduces pain and enhances muscle regeneration.
- Mental balance
Cryotherapy fosters the release of endorphins, which are neuropeptides that create a state of well-being, a sense of happiness and relaxation. In addition, it provides emotional stability to the athlete, feeling of vigor and increased motivation.
Who uses Cryotherapy in sports?
In United States, most teams from NBA, baseball and American football use cryotherapy on a regular basis. In Europe, its use is increasingly spreading, and large football teams like Real Madrid or Villarreal already have their own Cryosense booth. Big sports stars Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James, Floyd Mayweather, Conor McGregor or Gareth Bale use this therapy as part of their preparation for high-demanding competitions.
Analysis of Sports Cryotherapy VS Ice Baths
Ice baths are still one of the most common methods for applying cold in sports. Although professional athletes use this treatment in muscle recovery and injury rehabilitation, cryotherapy has many more advantages at the sports level. Cryotherapy in sports has proven to be more effective, more pleasant and with less undesirable effects. For these reasons, its use is beggining to be increasingly widespread amongst football clubs and high competition athletes.
Below a comparative table of both procedures will show us very clear information about their characteristics and the differences between each other. With this information you can decide if you are interested in Cryotherapy or in Ice Baths
Fig 1. Comparative table of Cryotherapy with Ice Baths
|Process||Extremely cold air
(-140ºC to -196ºC)
|Very cold water
(7ºC to 15ºC)
|Skin reached temperature||1ºC to 5ºC||7ºC to 15ºC|
|Treatment time||2-3 min||15-20 min|
|Increase in Hemoglobin||YES||NO|
|Oxygen increase in blood||YES||NO|
|Immune system||Stimulation||Without changes|
|Risk of hypothermia||NO||YES|
|Time to resume exercise||Immediate||12 to 24 hours|
|Increase collagen production||YES||NO|
|Time and temperature control||YES||NO|
|Posterior joint stiffness||NO||YES|
|Prevention of muscle damage||YES||NO|
|Accelerates muscle regeneration||YES||NO|
|Adverse effects (colds, cystitis)||NO||YES|
WHY CRYOSENSE SPORTS CRYOTHERAPY?
Cryosense uses cutting-edge technology and components from well-known brands that meet the most strict quality standards, as well as avant-garde design and security systems that guarantee an unbeatable performance.
Reasons for choosing Cryosense:
1. Cryosense is the safest cryosauna on the market. It incorporates several protection devices. The equipment is designed so that in the event of unforeseen situations, certain mechanisms will be activated resulting in the orderly and automatic shutdown of the cabin, without the optimum operating conditions of the cabin. The most important safety features include: oxygen level sensors, safety collar, user height adjustment and a security door. In addition various systems adapted to the room in which the cabin is installed are included. In fact, Cryosense is the first cryosauna certified as safe by gas suppliers.
2. Cryosense is the only cryosauna capable of focusing the cold at different heights. Thanks to the incorporation of monitored pipe systems, the operator can choose the output of cold in upper, middle or lower sections. Thus, a cyclist may opt for a lower focus, whilst a tennis player may choose the upper, or the homogeneous distribution by the three levels of height. This way, the treatment increases its effectiveness.
3. Cryosense is the best cryosauna for treating the shoulders and neck. Thanks to its safety collar, the entire body except the head, is in direct contact with nitrogen gas.
4. Cryosense is the only cryosauna on the market capable of combining, if desired, cold and heat. In this way, thermal contrast is added to the applications and advantages of cryotherapy. This improves the performance and the results of the session and makes the thermal jump between heat and cold greater.
5. The Cryosense design is unique, a futuristic exterior made by the designer Francisco Podadera. Its minimalist interior executed with high quality leather, a screen inserted in the dome with icons, images and information of the session, LED’s that change their colour with temperature, etc.