Worldwide, more than 1.5 billion people suffer from chronic pain and as much as they try to cope, it can have a devastating effect on everyday life. Almost 59 percent of chronic-pain sufferers reported an impact on their overall enjoyment of life.
When it’s broken down further, the number of people in constant pain can be shocking. More than 50 million Americans have arthritis and experts estimate that 80 percent of the population will experience back pain in their lifetime.
Whether you’re suffering from arthritis or some other form of chronic pain, people are always looking for a way to get relief. One method that is helping people find relief is cryotherapy. Whole body cryotherapy involves exposing the entire body to temperatures between -100 degrees Celsius and -140 degrees Celsius (-148 degrees Fahrenheit to -220 degrees Fahrenheit) for therapeutic purposes.
Reviews are still mixed on cryotherapy, but there’s no doubt it’s growing in popularity. The global cryotherapy market was valued at $2.5 billion USD in 2015 and is expected to reach $5.6 billion by 2024.
More than 500,000 cryotherapy sessions have happened since 2011 and the benefits of cryotherapy and the use of a cryo chamber for athletic recovery has been endorsed by athletes such as LeBron James.
Though study results have been mixed, there are several benefits to cryotherapy and the use of a cryo chamber. What are the benefits of cryotherapy? These cryo chamber benefits include:
- Increases in energy
- Help with weight loss and fat burning
- Reduced inflammation
- Reduction in the symptoms associated with depression and anxiety
- Help with pain reduction and relief for sore muscles
- Increased sex drive
- Reductions in the symptoms of chronic-pain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis
So if you’re experiencing chronic pain and are considering cryotherapy, what might you expect from a session?
Whole-body cryotherapy involves entering an upright cryo chamber, which is padded and closed around most of your body except for your head and neck.
Cold gas at the temperatures mentioned above surround your body and machines are typically set to control how cold they get and how long a session goes for. Although the inside of a cryo chamber can get extremely cold, this extreme cold usually only lasts for a few minutes.
Inside the cryo chamber, you wear minimal clothing and cover your hands, feet, mouth and ears to prevent any cold-related injuries.
As mentioned above, a session inside a cryo chamber can have numerous health benefits. When it comes to pain relief and reducing inflammation, the cryo chamber acts like an ice pack only on a much larger scale. Those who support cryotherapy argue that being exposed to extremely cold temperatures helps release endorphins, which help improve mood.
In addition, the release of endorphins helps reduce stress, improve energy and gets people thinking more clearly. A small 2008 study found that in a third of people with depression and anxiety, cryotherapy reduced the symptoms by at least 50 percent.
With so many potential benefits, you may be wondering where can I get a cryotherapy session done? The United States Cryotherapy website can help you locate a center near you. Keep in mind that a whole-body session can range in price and might only last five minutes or so.
If you’re considering a whole-body session inside a cryo chamber, this YouTube video and this video from Business Insider can help you to determine whether the treatment is right for you.