cold therapy

Cold Therapy Benefits

Ice packs and a cold shower in cold therapy can be traced back to ancient times. Obviously, not to the ice age or something, but yes, to the Egyptians who 2500 BC used it to treat inflammation and injuries. Or how Hippocrates used cryo therapy to ease swelling in 400 BC.

Hence we can say cold therapy is nothing new that has come up recently and is not traditional. The development of delivery of these therapies can be recent, but the concept is historical. Returning to the contemporary world where Cryotherapy is no experiment but an established method of pain management. Please continue reading the blog to learn more about it.


What is Cryotherapy?

The word Cryotherapy has Greek origins and is made by combining the word “Cryo,” meaning cold, and “Therapeia,” which translates to therapy.

The theory behind whole-body Cryotherapy (WBC) is that by submerging the body in icy air for many minutes, you can reap various health advantages. The subject will stand in an enclosed chamber or a tiny enclosure that surrounds their body but has an aperture at the top for their head. The temperature within the cage will decrease to between -200 and -300°F. One will be in the ultra-cold air for two to four minutes.

The cold sensation decreases blood flow to the affected body part, significantly reducing inflammation and swelling, which causes pain, specifically around a joint or a tendon. It can sometimes suppress nerve activity, which also relieves pain. Cold therapy is a sort of physiotherapy that involves applying a cold pack or immersing in ice water to an afflicted region for 15 to 20 minutes, generally twice a day.

What are the benefits of Cold therapy?

Cryotherapy can be beneficial after just one session, but it is most successful when used regularly. Cryotherapy is used by some sportsmen twice a day. Others go after every day for ten days, then once a month.

  • Reduces Muscle Spasms 

Muscle spasm reduction is one of the main advantages of Cryotherapy. This is frequently a pain reaction, as muscles surrounding the injury constrict to protect it. This is muscle guarding, and it protects the muscles from additional harm. Because ice relieves pain, the muscle relaxes due to reduced discomfort. Cryotherapy may also help to alleviate muscular spasms caused by overuse.

  •  Alleviates Arthritis 

Regionalized Cryotherapy isn’t the only treatment that works for serious illnesses. According to research by NCBI, whole-body Cryotherapy significantly decreased pain in persons with arthritis. The therapy was found to be well-tolerated. As a result, more severe physiotherapy and occupational therapy became possible. As a result, rehabilitation programs were more successful.

  • Helps with Migraine

Cryotherapy can aid migraine treatment by chilling and numbing nerves in the neck. Another NCBI study found that putting a neck wrap comprising two ice packs to the carotid arteries in the neck significantly decreased migraine symptoms in individuals who were evaluated. This is considered to function by chilling the blood as it passes through intracranial arteries. The carotid arteries are accessible and close to the skin’s surface.

  • Helps with non-cancerous/low-risk tumors

Tumors can be treated using targeted, localized Cryotherapy. It’s known as “cryosurgery” in this scenario. It kills cancer cells by freezing them and surrounding them with ice crystals. Or in other words, Cryotherapy uses  severe coldness to kill cancer cells. It is medically also known as cryosurgery or cryoablation. The doctor uses Cryotherapy to eliminate cancer cells by freezing them. It is now used to treat select low-risk malignant tumors, including prostate cancer.

  • Psychological benefits 

Whole-body Cryotherapy utilizes freezing temperatures that might cause physiological hormone secretion. During this process, adrenaline, noradrenaline, and endorphins are all released. This can be helpful to people who suffer from anxiety and despair. According to a study by NCBI, whole-body Cryotherapy is beneficial in the short term.

  • Cosmetic Benefits 

Cryotherapy facials are a noninvasive cosmetic technique that, unlike certain peels or microdermabrasion, does not leave skin red or raw. A machine-operated device pumps liquid nitrogen over the face during the facial. It claims to brighten skin, tighten pores, and maybe even lessen the appearance of small lines and age spots in as little as 15 minutes. 


Cryotherapy at home.

Cryotherapy has a plethora of amazing advantages. However, learning how to use cold treatment appropriately might be difficult. But thanks to some methods that can make it easy for us to do it.

  • Chemical ice pack

Chemical cold packs are bags filled with liquid that quickly cools when struck or shaken. Water is the liquid contained within the bags, and another inner bag or tube holds ammonium nitrate within the water. These packs work on the endothermic chemical reaction for cooling. For the reaction the chemicals absorb all the energy in the pack.

  • Cold Shower 

Many individuals prefer hot showers over cold ones. However, some research suggests that utilizing cold water may be helpful to both physical and mental health. A cold shower can help a person feel more attentive, according to its impact on the body. Cold water immersion and contrast water treatment can aid in healing and reduce tiredness.

Making a cold compress takes only a few minutes and may frequently give immediate comfort. A compress can be made using ordinary objects such as ice, packed frozen veggies, or even a frozen cloth. A frozen or cooled substance, such as an ice pack or a cold, wet washcloth, is used as a cold compress. When done correctly, they can assist in alleviating pain, inflammation, and temperature. Cold compresses can be purchased commercially or created at home. But one ca get some products like a cold wrap or cold strap in case of regular discomfort 

  • Ice bath

While ice baths were initially reserved for professional athletes looking to push their bodies to their limits, they have grown in popularity in recent years. One can create an ice tub at home by simply filling the tub halfway with ice and halfway with water. Ice baths make your body feel good and ease sore muscles. It also decreases the body’s inflammatory responses. But an ice bath has its own risks like hypothermia and cardiac arrest. And avoid it if you have an open wound.


When not to use cold therapy?

We all use ice packs or heating pads to treat various issues ranging from arthritis to muscle sprains to inflammation. Cold therapy can aid in pain relief in plenty of situations and injuries. However, understanding when it may be helpful and when one should avoid it is also crucial. Hence the scenarios when one should avoid cold therapy are as follows :

People with sensory impairments that make it challenging to experience certain sensations should avoid using cold treatment at home because they may not be able to tell whether it is harming them. Diabetes, for example, can cause nerve damage and decreased sensitivity.

Cold treatment should not be used on tight muscles or joints.

If you have weak circulation, you should avoid using cold treatment.

Knowing when to utilize cold therapy and when to employ heat therapy will significantly improve the treatment’s efficacy. Some scenarios will need the use of both. For example, arthritis patients may use heat to relieve joint stiffness and cold to ease swelling and acute discomfort. If either therapy aggravates the pain or discomfort, discontinue it immediately.

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Written By

Kanak Tiwari

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