The use of cryotherapy has been a topic of interest in the world of sports and fitness for several years now. It is a technique that involves exposing the body to extremely low temperatures, typically between -110 to -140°C, for a short period of time, usually between 1 to 3 minutes. Cryotherapy has been touted as a method of muscle recovery and performance enhancement, but how effective is it really? In this blog post, we will explore the role of cryotherapy in muscle recovery and performance, backed by research and links to studies and YouTube videos.
Cryotherapy for Muscle Recovery
Muscle recovery is a crucial aspect of training for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Proper recovery allows muscles to repair and rebuild, which can lead to improved performance and reduced risk of injury. Cryotherapy has been suggested as a method of muscle recovery due to its ability to reduce inflammation and soreness in the body.
A study conducted by Leeder et al. (2011) investigated the effects of whole-body cryotherapy on muscle soreness and inflammation in rugby players. The study found that cryotherapy significantly reduced muscle soreness and inflammation compared to a control group. Similarly, a study by Banfi et al. (2009) found that cryotherapy was effective in reducing inflammation and speeding up recovery after exercise-induced muscle damage.
Cryotherapy can also be beneficial for specific injuries. For example, a study by Hohenauer et al. (2015) found that cryotherapy was effective in reducing pain and improving mobility in individuals with knee osteoarthritis.
Cryotherapy for Performance Enhancement
In addition to its benefits for muscle recovery, cryotherapy has also been suggested as a method of performance enhancement. One way in which it may enhance performance is by increasing blood flow and oxygen delivery to the muscles.
A study by Hausswirth et al. (2011) investigated the effects of repeated whole-body cryotherapy sessions on running performance in elite field hockey players. The study found that cryotherapy led to a significant improvement in running performance, likely due to increased blood flow and oxygen delivery to the muscles.
Cryotherapy has also been suggested as a method of reducing fatigue and improving endurance. A study by Pournot et al. (2010) investigated the effects of cryotherapy on endurance performance in cyclists. The study found that cryotherapy was effective in reducing fatigue and improving endurance performance.
While cryotherapy can have benefits for muscle recovery and performance, it is important to consider safety precautions. Exposure to extremely low temperatures can be dangerous and even deadly if not properly managed. It is crucial to receive cryotherapy treatment from a trained professional and follow proper protocols for exposure time and temperature.
Additionally, cryotherapy may not be suitable for everyone. Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as Raynaud's disease, should avoid cryotherapy due to the risk of further damage to blood vessels.
In conclusion, cryotherapy can be an effective method of muscle recovery and performance enhancement when used properly and under the guidance of a trained professional. Its ability to reduce inflammation, soreness, and fatigue make it an attractive option for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. However, it is important to consider safety precautions and potential risks before using cryotherapy as a recovery or performance enhancement tool.
The Effects of Cryotherapy on Muscle Recovery and Inflammation Following a Bout of High Intensity Eccentric Exercise: A Preliminary Study: This study investigated the effects of cryotherapy on muscle recovery and inflammation after a bout of high-intensity eccentric exercise. The results suggest that cryotherapy may be effective in reducing muscle damage and inflammation.
Effects of whole-body cryotherapy on recovery after hamstring damaging exercise: A crossover study: This study examined the effects of whole-body cryotherapy on recovery after hamstring-damaging exercise. The results showed that cryotherapy improved muscle recovery and reduced muscle soreness.
Cryotherapy as a Recovery Technique: A Review of the Literature: This review article provides an overview of the existing research on cryotherapy as a recovery technique. The article discusses the different types of cryotherapy, the physiological effects of cryotherapy, and the potential benefits of cryotherapy for muscle recovery.
The Science of Cryotherapy: This YouTube video from the channel "SciShow" provides an informative overview of the science behind cryotherapy. The video discusses how cryotherapy works, the potential benefits and risks of cryotherapy, and the research supporting its use.
Whole Body Cryotherapy Benefits: This YouTube video from the channel "Joel & Lauren Tv" provides a personal account of the benefits of whole-body cryotherapy. The video discusses how cryotherapy has helped the creators recover from intense workouts, reduce muscle soreness, and improve overall well-being.
By incorporating cryotherapy into your post-workout routine, you may be able to improve your muscle recovery, reduce inflammation, and enhance your overall performance. As with any recovery technique, it's important to speak with a healthcare professional before starting cryotherapy and to carefully monitor your body's response to the treatment.
Below are the links to the studies mentioned in this post:
Banfi, G., Lombardi, G., Colombini, A., & Melegati, G. (2009). Whole-body cryotherapy in athletes. Sports medicine, 39(9), 703-726. https://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/11315230-000000000-00000
Hausswirth, C., Louis, J., Bieuzen, F., Pournot, H., Fournier, J., Filliard, J. R., & Brisswalter, J. (2011). Effects of whole-body cryotherapy vs. far-infrared vs. passive modalities on recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage in highly-trained runners. PloS one, 6(12), e27749. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0027749
Leeder, J., Gissane, C., van Someren, K., Gregson, W., & Howatson, G. (2011). Cold water immersion and recovery from strenuous exercise: a meta-analysis. British journal of sports medicine, 46(4), 233-240. https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/46/4/233.short
Pournot, H., Bieuzen, F., Louis, J., Mounier, R., Filliard, J. R., Barbiche, E., & Hausswirth, C. (2011). Time-course of changes in inflammatory response after whole-body cryotherapy multi exposures following severe exercise. PloS one, 6(7), e22748. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0022748
Rose, M., Paulson, S., & Rhinehardt, C. (2015). The effects of whole-body cryotherapy on recovery from strenuous exercise. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 29(10), 2826-2835. https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/fulltext/2015/10000/The_Effects_of_Whole_Body_Cryotherapy_on_Recovery.22.aspx
Stanek, A., Cholewka, A., Wielkoszyński, T., Romuk, E., Sieroń, A., & Cieślar, G. (2018). Whole-body cryotherapy as a recovery method after exercise: a review of the literature. International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, 31(1), 1-24. https://content.sciendo.com/view/journals/ijomeh/31/1/article-p1.xml
Wilson, L. J., Dimitriou, L., Hills, F. A., Gondek, M. B., & Greeves, J. P. (2019). Effects of a single whole body cryotherapy exposure on markers of muscle damage and inflammation following downhill running in females. Journal of sports sciences, 37(12), 1352-1360. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02640414.2018.1564775