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Cryotherapy, also more colloquially known as cold therapy, is a recent health trend that has grown in popularity thanks to the emergence of Wim Hof, a Dutchman who has used cold therapy as a way of life and has introduced it to the public via social media and television.
The practice is simple to follow. You expose yourself to extreme cold for various lengths of time, which is said to have multiple benefits to your mood, physical health, and cognitive function.
Among these various proposed benefits is that you can use cryotherapy to lose weight and spur you on to achieve your fitness and weight loss goals.
Here's a deeper look into the validity of that claim and if it can work for you, in addition to more information about its other potential benefits and guidance on how to practice cryotherapy safely:
What is cryotherapy, and how does it work?
Cryotherapy is an innovative health and wellness trend that has made waves over the past few years. It works by exposing the body to freezing temperatures, with some believing it can help reduce pain and inflammation and increase energy levels.
In professional settings, cryotherapy usually takes only three minutes, during which an individual stands in a cryo-sauna chamber.
At the same time, nitrogen vapor cools to temperatures well below freezing. As a patient's skin is exposed to this frigid air, it sends signals throughout their body, stimulating their endocrine and immune systems and providing various health benefits.
These effects can be replicated at home by either taking cold showers or sitting in ice baths, making the craze one that is easily accessible and something that you can do yourself without much equipment.
When subjecting yourself to cold temperatures, staying within the recommended time limit is essential to avoid potentially damaging your health. This means you should only stand in a cold shower or sit in an ice bath for a maximum of a few minutes.
Cold therapy has been used in other aspects of health and fitness before, with items such as ice packs used for targeted inflammation and pain relief.
However, cryotherapy takes that use case to an entirely new level - offering full-body benefits, including improved sleep quality, better moods, and increased metabolism.
Benefits of Cryotherapy for weight loss
Cryotherapy is becoming one of the most popular weight loss methods today. It can be helpful for weight loss on multiple levels.
The main benefit is that cold temperatures increase your metabolic rate, which can help you burn more calories and better process your food, leading to weight reduction.
In addition, a single session can help you lose a similar number of calories to light exercise, making it a beneficial addition to your routine.
Of course, not all the correlation between cryotherapy and weight loss is so direct. Many other benefits are found indirectly through how the body reacts to extreme temperatures.
For example, exposure to cold temperatures can raise your adrenaline levels, which helps give you more energy. This increased energy may help you train harder and longer, helping you burn far more fat and achieve significant weight loss faster.
Moreover, as cryotherapy helps relieve pain and sore muscles, you can recover faster between training sessions. As a result, you can exercise more frequently while limiting the risk of injury, helping you achieve your weight loss goals more efficiently.
Cryotherapy isn't going to help you lose weight alone and should be used alongside a good fitness routine.
However, those looking for an effective and natural aid to help them slim down should consider this highly beneficial method.
Potential Risks and Side Effects of Cryotherapy
Despite how beneficial cryotherapy can be, it's essential to be cautious of its potential risks and side effects, especially if you don't perform it correctly.
If you're lucky enough to have professional treatment in a cryo-chamber you risk chemical burns and frostbite due to the liquid nitrogen used. The cold air could illicit a pepper spray sensation.
If doing it at home with a cold shower or bath, be prepared to suffer from a few headaches from time to time due to the rapid cooling process, especially if you submerge your head or let the cold water drizzle onto it.
To avoid severe damage, ensure you don't perform the treatment for too long. You could go into shock if the temperature is too cold or you subject yourself to it for too long. You can even give yourself hypothermia, so it's worth being cautious and ensuring you do it safely.
Some individuals with pre-existing conditions may also want to reconsider cryotherapy, as those with coronary artery disease or Raynaud's syndrome are at significant risk of harming themselves.
Preparing for a Cryotherapy Session
If you want to experience the rejuvenating benefits of cryotherapy, it's crucial to prepare correctly.
First, drink plenty of water before your session, as hydrating your body is ideal for maximizing the effects of cryotherapy.
Refrain from eating approximately 30 minutes before your appointment as well. Additionally, wear light clothing, like leggings and a long-sleeved shirt, that covers your arms and legs when entering the chamber. Doing this can help protect you from any burns from the cold spray.
If, instead, you want to mimic cryotherapy at home with a cold shower or bath, ensure you're fully prepared for the experience.
When you first start, the cold sensation might not be pleasant. To help, try to ease yourself into the cold by beginning at a warmer temperature and then slowly reducing it until it's freezing. This gradual reduction in heat will also help prevent any shocks.
As you may lose track of time due to the cold, try to set a timer to alert you when you need to get out. It's essential to listen to this timer so that you don't put yourself at any risk, and it's worth mentioning that this timer isn't a target but a maximum allowance; you can still get the benefits of cold therapy after a short amount of time.
It's critical to focus on what makes you feel most comfortable during this process. So, remember not to worry - relax and enjoy the journey.
Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Cryotherapy Treatment
Start by listening to your body to make the most of your cryotherapy treatments. You must be in tune with it to ensure you get the most out of the cold exposure. So, if you're hurting or feel an odd sensation, be sure to stop.
Before you begin any session, take a moment to evaluate how you feel so you can adjust your treatment plan accordingly.
You don't have to subject yourself to the same temperatures each time you attempt the treatment. On days you feel good, you can spend more time in colder temperatures; on days you don't, be easy on yourself.
As said before, you must stay hydrated for this treatment. It would help if you also aimed to move around in the cryo-chamber or in a cold shower, as this helps encourage circulation. If you're taking an ice bath, try circling your legs and arms around the water and flexing your muscles to promote circulation.
After every session, give yourself time to rest and allow for a shallow period where you warm back up gradually. This technique has been found to help increase the effectiveness of treatments.
Cryotherapy is not a one-and-done treatment, so continue doing it routinely to enjoy long-lasting benefits.
If you do it regularly, remember to communicate with your care provider about any questions or issues during treatment. Whatever your needs are, cryotherapy can help if used consistently and correctly.
Should you do cryotherapy to lose weight?
Cryotherapy is an innovative health and beauty treatment that can help you naturally reach your weight loss goals.
Although the process can be challenging and uncomfortable, with the proper preparation, a professional to administer the treatment, and the helpful tips outlined above, you can make the most out of your cryotherapy sessions and experience all of its excellent benefits.
If you're looking to use cryotherapy to lose weight, subjecting yourself to cold theory can be a great way to boost performance and increase your weight-loss potential, thanks to various factors.
Regardless of what has been preventing you from achieving your goal weight and living a healthier lifestyle thus far, cryotherapy treatments could prove effective in helping you overcome those obstacles, providing that it's used alongside a dedicated fitness routine.
Plus, as it has other benefits, such as increased focus and better mental clarity, there is a compelling case for integrating cryotherapy as a part of your daily or weekly routine.
After all, your mental and physical health is linked to your weight, so working on optimizing them is the route to weight loss.
Although the best results are achieved with a cryo-chamber, you can replicate the effects with a cold shower or bath, making it an easy weight-loss and wellness activity to add to your day.