If you’ve watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier, you might be familiar with the concept of cryogenics. While freezing yourself to keep your body from ageing (and dying) may sound like the stuff of sci-fi movies, a more realistic version of cryogenics already exists in the form of cryotherapy. This unique form of therapy involves exposing your entire body or parts of it to sub-100 degrees Celsius temperatures, for a huge range of purported benefits.
Cryotherapy was initially created in the 2000s to relieve pain related to arthritis problems. It’s not that far-fetched an idea, considering that ancient humans have been using ice to treat injuries for centuries.
- Sports recovery
Majority of people who undergo cryotherapy now are athletes who believe the therapy will speed their bodies’ recovery after exercise and promote muscle recovery.
- Cancer treatment
Certain localised forms of cancer can be treated with cryotherapy as the drastic temperatures can kill cancer cells. Cervical cancer and basal skin cell cancer are some types of cancers where the therapy can be administered to localised regions of the body.
Wellness enthusiasts might be attracted by this benefit. Lower body temperatures help to burn calories by forcing the body to expend more energy to retain a normal temperature.
- Skin and facial treatment
Another benefit for the wellness enthusiasts. Cryotherapy facials are said to be beneficial because they can shrink your pores and exfoliate the skin by freezing dead skin cells, making your skin glow.
- Mental benefits
While there’s not much supporting evidence in this area, cryotherapy treatment is said to have a positive effect on people suffering from depression or anxiety.
Is it too soon to speak though? Many of these benefits are purported ones, with their only backings being isolated success stories. More research has to be done into most of them, so don’t count on this miraculous treatment too quickly. Besides, there are other health risks to consider. Not everyone is suitable for this treatment, especially people who have suffered or are suffering from stroke, seizures, high blood pressure or claustrophobia.
Cryotherapy shows little sign of becoming a mainstream treatment in the near future, but there are some who are willing to invest in this novel treatment. If you plan on trying it out, do get your doctor’s certification that you’re suitable for it and make sure you visit a licensed practitioner for your session. Who knows, your experience just might impact future research!