The Benefits Of Cryotherapy – It Might Be The Chill Out You Need Now
6 minutes read
Want to know the ‘coolest’ treatments in wellness right now? It’s incorporating the benefits of ice or cryotherapy in your treatment or product plan. Yep, the big freeze is coming to a spa, fitness or skincare regimen near you. There are cryotherapy chambers and tools to boost mind and body. Here’s everything you need to know about going below zero.
What is cryotherapy used for?
Cryotherapy means ‘cold therapy’ taken from the Greek’ cryo’ meaning cold and ‘therapeia’ for therapy or cure and is utilized for many medical, aesthetic, and well-being uses.
Historians say it dates back to Ancient Greek and Egyptians, who applied special cold compresses to ease pain.
Within a surgery, it might be employed to help remove warts or unhealthy cells or skin tags by freezing them off. However, in the wellness industry – it’s more commonly incorporated into whole-body chambers (a bit like a cold version of a sauna) and with devices or beauty tools in facials. So, if you see cryotherapy on a treatment list – all you need to know is it will be cold, like sub-zero, Siberia cold. We are talking around -110°C. Brrrrrrrr.
What are the potential benefits of cryotherapy?
Regularly used by elite athletes (and now pop stars – think Harry Styles post gig) and hailed as the ultimate in total body and mind rejuvenation. The potential benefits may include the following:
- Aiding sports recovery – experts suggest it speeds up your muscles’ healing process and creates an influx of natural anti-inflammatories that can prevent further injury. However, it needs to be used straight after your workout, game or competition or else you won’t reap the benefits.
- Relief of joint, muscle and arthritis pain – as above, it may trigger your body’s anti-inflammatory response. According to a study published in Medical News Today: “2000 patients found that cryotherapy offered temporary relief from the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, the research found that cryotherapy with ice packs could reduce the damaging effects of intense exercise. People who used cryotherapy also reported less pain.”
- It’s a mood booster – it encourages the release of endorphins, which is your body’s natural pain reliever. It can help create a natural high or feelings of pleasure you get from activities like running, eating chocolate or spicy foods, or well-being practices like massage or meditation.
- It may help with insomnia and sleep issues – it generates hormonal responses and also may help assist with more REM cycles, leading to a better night’s sleep.
Emilie Martinsen-Konigsfeldt, founder of the Apogii clinic in Notting Hill, was one of London’s first medical-grade whole-body cryotherapy at -110°C chambers. She says, “The Apogii Icelab is a twin-room chamber for an intense three-minute adrenaline hit to supercharge your current health and workout programme.”
“Cryotherapy offers an intense three-minute adrenaline hit to supercharge your current health and workout programme.”
We couldn’t agree more. Sarah Joan Ross, Beauty Daily’s Editor, says: “The Scientific community might still be researching, but after trying it for myself, a 3-minute treatment did help to release endorphins and add a sense of euphoria. Post-treatment, I was more energetic and alert, my decision-making was sharper, and I slept better.”
Cryotherapy facial techniques and products
Of course, ‘ice’ seems the obvious product to de-puff and cool. However, in reality, it’s messy, uncomfortable and melts within minutes. It also doesn’t have a smooth surface, so that can snag on the skin. As an alternative, we suggest rolling with a dedicated tool.
Fraîcheur Paris is leading the way with their easy-to-use glass Ice Globes, £59.95. With the medical-grade anti-freeze interior, they remain cold for up to an hour and easily navigate facial contours. In addition, they lower skin temperature–so they are perfect post-treatment, in hot weather or if you have water retention around the eyes, cheeks or jawline.
Editor’s Tip: Buy now, as there’s a Black Friday 50% discount.
The Clarins Cryo-Flash Cream-Mask, £53, is an intensive ten minute treatment for a quick burst of freshness. Inspired by all of the best and latest cryotherapy techniques, its genius ingredients (menthol and organic evening primrose extract) lower the temperature of the skin by 4 degrees – an impressive two times colder than a traditional cryotherapy facial. The result? Minimised pores, replenished radiance and skin that feels firmer and more energised.
Invest in the V Shaping Facial Lift Tightening & Anti-Puffiness Eye Concentrate, £42; the plant-based, caffeine-loaded formula, along with the unique alloy metal applicator, acts as a cooling transmitter, reducing puffiness all around the eye area. It’s even better when kept in the fridge. When used first thing in the morning, it refreshes and perks you physically and visually and helps you get rid of tired eyes – it’s a great start to the day.
Can cryotherapy help with ageing?
There’s mixed scientific opinion. Cigdem Kemal Yilmaz, a Chemical engineer, skincare formulator, and the founder of Skin Masterclass, says: “Skin icing is a cryotherapy treatment in which the skin is exposed to ice-cold temperatures. Many market options are available, such as ice globes and ice barrel rollers. It can eliminate puffiness, especially around the eyes, soothe sunburn, and reduce swelling and inflammation as cryotherapy constricts your blood vessels. This can visibly reduce tiredness on your face and improve blood flow for a very short time (the results are not long-term). Nonetheless, claiming it reduces signs of ageing, such as wrinkles or helps with acne is shooting too high. Cosmetic ingredients such as retinoids (for ageing) and azelaic acid and salicylic acid (for acne).”
Try: Super Restorative Range. Organic harungana, used in Madagascar’s traditional medicine to heal wounds, works 40% more effectively than the far better-known retinol.
Cryotherapy vs ice bath
Cold is cold, right? Wrong. Sitting in an ice bath versus a regulated cryotherapy chamber is an entirely different experience. Cryotherapy is dry ice, not wet, and you are exposed to these sub-zero temperatures for a few minutes. While an ice bath – also called cold water immersion (CWI), is a long experience of between 10 to 15 minutes in icy water, where temperatures plummet to around 50-59°F. It would be best if you used a thermometer and stopwatch to get the timings and temperature right and follow instructions from a trusted source.
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Who should not do cryotherapy?
Pregnant women, people with blood pressure issues, asthma, seizures, claustrophobia, anaemia, DVT or heart conditions should avoid cryotherapy. Rare reports of allergic reactions to the cold have been documented. And abusing even a regulated chamber for more than 3-5 minutes could be fatal. Always speak to a qualified medical practitioner before trying cryotherapy, and never use a chamber alone.
Side effects of cryotherapy
Sometimes the coldness can injure the skin, resulting in pinkness, rashes or mild frostbite. Also, impaired breathing, skin tingling numbness and increased blood pressure have been reported in rare cases.
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