As someone who is constantly cold (I sleep with leggings underneath sweatpants; judge me), when I first heard about cryotherapy, I wondered why the f*ck people would pay money to feel like they're dying of frostbite.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I'll start by saying (rather, admitting) this: I'm being a bit dramatic.
Whole-body cryotherapy (WBC) is all the hype in the wellness world right now, and it basically entails getting naked and quite literally chilling in a chamber for three minutes.
The temperature in that chamber, by the way is, -270 degrees Fahrenheit.
Personally, I'd literally rather lay in a bed of porcupines than subject my body to that.
Elite Daily spoke with yoga instructor and cryotherapy enthusiast Alexa Ibarra to see if she could sway me away from my aversions.
I have been doing cryotherapy twice a week for almost a month now. It does wonders for the body post-workout because it helps injuries that cause blood vessels to constrict, which reduces blood flow and alleviates pain, swelling, and inflammation.
Ibarra says she absolutely loves how the liquid nitrogen involved in WBC can work to freeze and remove lesions, such as skin tags and moles.
Alright, I'm warming up to the idea (teheh).
As a yogi, I am always on my hands and holding my body weight up. I have found this to be as effective, if not better, than going to the chiropractor -- because it truly works multitudes of my body, including my skin which is very important to [me].
Point blank -- this therapy is not just for athletes, but rather anyone using their muscles, or even just someone looking for a healthy way to revitalize their skin.
If you're thinking of braving the cold and entering what I like to call "The Chamber Of Cryo-Secrets" post-workout, here are six benefits you're sure to feel in your body and mind.
1. Increased Endorphins
Endorphins are that feel-good group of hormones within your nervous system that are triggered by exercise.
You know that runner's high? All endorphins, baby.
These hormones activate the ability to produce a feeling of well-being, and they even have an analgesic effect (aka pain relief) on the body.
When you shock your system through cryotherapy, more endorphins are released, and your hormones are basically on cloud nine.
2. Stabilized Sleep Patterns
Making cryo treatment sessions part of your regular post-workout routine can work to stabilize your overall sleep patterns.
Repeated treatments will minimize sleep disturbances over an extended period of time -- and more sleep equals less fatigue.
And it means better recovery from your sweat sesh, too.
3. Improved Immune System
The overall immune system boost that comes with cryotherapy will do wonders for your post-workout state.
Reduced risk of illness will prevent pesky pauses in your gym grind and make you feel revitalized and relaxed.
4. Improved Circulation
Repeated exposure to the cryo sauna is said to increase your white blood cell count.
This reduces inflammation and improves blood circulation, caused by an enhanced noradrenaline (a cardiovascular hormone) response triggered by the cold.
Good circulation is key for post-workout muscle recovery, especially after a rough leg day, amirite?
5. Decreased Inflammation
If you're suffering from a fitness-related injury, you normally reach for the ice pack, right?
That's because ice reduces inflammation when applied to a bruise or inflamed area.
Cryotherapy, however, reduces inflammation all throughout the body, so healing can spread to more than one area at a time.
Full-body ice pack? Sounds terrifying and appealing all at once.
But hey, it is only three minutes, after all. Sign me up.