Cryotherapy: The Ice Cold Cure

Movie stars and athletes alike seek out cryotherapy, the coolest non-invasive therapy.

Do you feel like exposing your body to freezing temperatures resembling Antarctica, the coldest spot on Earth? Well, enter a cryotherapy chamber. This therapy involves entering a freezing chamber, with a temperature that can reach -180°C, using pressurised liquid nitrogen vapours. Try holding an ice cube against your skin for half a minute; it’s unpleasant, but not unbearable. When the skin is exposed to liquid nitrogen the feeling is similar, just colder. What’s the point? Well, as the skin’s surface is frozen through exposure to the cold, blood is encouraged to rush from the skin and muscles to the core of the body, enhancing elasticity and soothing sore limbs. And after exiting the chamber, your red blood cells are flushed to the extreme providing anti-inflammatory properties.

The concept of cryotherapy originated from Japan and was pioneered in Europe as a way to relieve chronic pain and arthritis for patients and to help speed up the healing process after surgery. The cold air helps control swelling and inflammation as well as reducing overall pain.

Glacial Therapy
As a non-invasive treatment cryotherapy has become extremely popular in the field of professional sports and athletics. Actually, icy therapy is nothing new; using ice packs is one of the oldest therapeutic treatments used to accelerate recovery from an injury. But the cold in a cryotherapy chamber is far more intense than an ice pack and can target the whole body relieving swollen joints and sore muscles, even providing an instant energy boost, which is why it is popular with football players.

“The countless benefits of cryotherapy are sought out by all kinds of people from different age ranges and body types. From muscle and injury recovery, to weight loss, skin rejuvenation, fighting acne and scars…the list goes on,” says Benny Parihar, Managing Partner at CRYO Health in Dubai, who with his partner, Kai Stubbe, opened the first CRYO Health facility in Emirates Towers in Dubai in 2013.

The Feel-Good Factor
When the whole body is exposed to cryotherapy the immediate effect of skin cooling brings pain relief that lasts for minutes, but the resulting release of endorphins can reduce pain and inflammation in some people for weeks. Women who have just given birth or recovering from surgery can benefit from it to manage pain as a non-intrusive treatment to cool down tissue temperatures and relieve muscle spasms and swelling. The therapy is also a great complement to exercise and dieting to help speed-up weight-loss results and to help women and men get into shape.

“Cryotherapy is a quick, painless and non-invasive way to reach numerous health and beauty benefits. The three-minute ‘Whole body Cryotherapy’ treatment is known for benefits such as cellulite reduction and increased metabolic and caloric burn up to 800 calories in a single session, while the facials help with reduction of spotting and pigmentation, as well as reduction of fine lines and wrinkles for healthier, beautiful looking skin,” Parihar says. “Local cryotherapy on the other hand is used for muscle and injury recovery as well as helping with pain relief.” It is also a curative treatment for acne and scar removal.

Fit for the Stars
The treatment is an essential component in the fitness regimes of a number of local professional athletes, including Emirati CrossFit champions Shaikha Al Qassemi and Marwan Al Marri. CRYO Health also welcomed TV personality Joelle Mardinian for a session. Others who have tried the sub-zero treatments include personalities such as Priti Malik of Virgin Radio, Natalie Price of Dubai 92, Al bin Zayed and Natalia Shustova among others. For best results, two to three sessions per week for a month are recommended.

Does it sound too good to be true? Well, go ahead and take a step into the cold. As the temperatures are on the rise in our part of the world walking into a chamber chillier than Antarctica, the coldest spot on Earth, seems like a good idea, especially when bearing in mind the cool results.

Beauty Boost: Cryotherapy facial
As a beauty treatment, cryotherapy works in a similar manner. The pressurised liquid nitrogen vapours activate increased production of collagen in the deeper layers of the skin, allowing it to regain elasticity. As the therapy tightens the skin, it can also combat cellulite with visible results after just one session. As the body freezes, the blood vessels widen, allowing more oxygen to reach the cells, and the extreme cold temperature leaves the skin looking smoother and tighter.

How it’s done: After cleansing the skin, a therapist applies a gentle acid peel. A stream of liquid nitrogen vapours delivers ultra-cold temperatures from the cryotherapy machine to the skin. Afterwards a moisturiser is applied and skin is left radiant and tight, with blemishes minimised and pores closed. Non-intrusive and with fast results, cryotherapy is on its way to overtake treatments like Botox in popularity, simply because nothing is injected into the body.

Chilly cure: Cryotherapy provides a non-invasive treatment, speeding the healing process for many ailments, including:
- Treats acne, eczema and psoriasis
- Cares for muscle inflammation, arthritis, headaches, migraines and osteoporosis
- Speeds up the body's recovery after intense physical training
- Tightens skin reducing wrinkles and cellulite
- Promotes a deeper sleep
- Improves the inflammatory response, which leads to a better recovery
- Boosts metabolism, useful for weight loss and energy levels
- Increases neuro-muscular response
- Treats a variety of superficial benign (non-cancerous) lesions, warts, and other benign lesions

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