We all know that icing an injury can help to reduce the symptoms of pain and help with rehabilitation.
Athletes and dedicated sportspeople use ice baths and ice immersion to help their muscles recover after intensive exercise. And proponents of cold-water swimming rave not only about the benefits to their muscles and joints, but to all sorts of other areas of their health and even mood disorders.
Being freezing cold in controlled circumstances has been proven to benefit us in many ways – it stimulates an increase in metabolism, reduces inflammatory responses and increases hormones such as endorphins to positively affect mood.
But icy lakes and baths full of ice cubes are not really accessible for most of us. Cryochambers – or Whole Body Cryotherapy – have become popular with professional athletes over the last decade, and the results have been so positive that they are being introduced as a key part of many physical therapy and wellness programmes.
Simon has been using a cryochamber for a while now. His personal experience with it has been incredibly positive: with full immersion once or twice a week, he has experienced higher energy levels, improved mood, reduction in eczema and tightening of skin. It has also helped with weight loss.
At The Lanserhof Clinic at the Arts Club in London, German orthopaedic consultant Dr Sebastian Kunz oversees the cryotherapy treatments. He explains that the cryochambers are used in combination with a number of other therapies to help manage inflammatory conditions and diseases, rehabilitate musculoskeletal injuries, reduce chronic pain, and as part of lifestyle improvement programmes.
Dr Kunz spent many years working with premier league football teams in Germany – and has seen the benefits of ice therapy for recovery from both injuries and intensive training.
While he accepts cryotherapy can’t replace the need for surgery – ‘I would not say that you would use cryo instead of getting a knee replacement – that’s not how it works.’ He explains that it can be hugely beneficial for symptomatic relief of inflammatory conditions including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, tendonitis, skin conditions such as dermatitis and even migraines.
Dr Sebastian Kunz emphasises that the benefits of cryotherapy are most effective in conjunction with other physical and wellness therapies. The benefits of whole body cryotherapy won’t radically improve your condition without lifestyle, diet, exercise and other medical or psychotherapeutic interventions.
The Lanserhof clinic at The Arts Club offers holistic treatment options, physical therapy and nutrition plans for a range of conditions and injuries. The anti-inflammatory effects of cold therapy have been shown to be highly effective in combination with the other treatments available.
How does it work?
Whole Body Cryotherapy brings the body down to an incredibly low temperature – between -110 C and -160 C – for a short period of time (usually three minutes or less). This sudden and sharp drop in temperature impacts different elements in your body.
Whole body cryotherapy applied for short times has been shown to stimulate physiological reactions which result in analgesic, anti-swelling, and hormonal, immune, and circulatory system reactions.