How Does Cryotherapy Help Enhance Athletic Performance

  • Athletes & Recovery  •   November 12, 2019

If you’re an athlete, you might know that faster recovery is crucial for having a consistent and frequent training schedule, which is the key to maximal performance and skill development. Recurrent injuries and delayed recovery can hinder your practice and prevent you from reaching your utmost performance level. Luckily, whole body cryotherapy can significantly accelerate recovery and help you achieve your goals. For this particular reason, whole body cryotherapy has become an increasingly popular technique for sports recovery and pain management among athletes.

Is Whole Body Cryotherapy Really Effective?

If you’re wondering if whole body cryotherapy can really improve your performance, you’re at the right place. Let us walk you through the scientific evidence that supports the claims made by whole body cryotherapy.

A study conducted by the University of Milan published in the Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that a session of whole body cryotherapy immediately after exercise was effective in muscular recovery and inhibiting the inflammatory process. Another study issued in the Journal of Health Today used a controlled and experimental group to look at the recovery time. The findings proved that the group receiving whole body cryotherapy after exercise showed significant improvement in all areas as compared to the control group.

Dr. Rhonda Patrick, a biomedical scientist, suggests that cryotherapy is more effective for professional athletes who are involved in vigorous training than those doing regular training. Strenuous training or over-training induces muscle and tissue damage, which causes an inflammatory response in the body and leads to an increase in the level of pro-inflammatory cytokines. In such cases, your body needs to produce anti-inflammatory cytokines to maintain the balance and reduce inflammation. Whole-body cryotherapy speeds up the process and helps to prevent extensive muscle or tissue damage.

We hope the literature above is enough to convince you to give cryotherapy a try. Let’s now look at how it works to enable you to feel and perform better.

Speeds up Recovery

With constant training sessions, championships, and games, etc., most athletes are always on the move and don’t get enough time to recover. Whole-body cryotherapy is a quick fix for rejuvenating the muscles and keeping the body in its peak condition. Research published in the journal of Public Library of Science revealed that Cryotherapy increased neutrophil count in trained runners, which could stimulate the formation of new blood cells and reduce muscle soreness after a training session.

Its anti-inflammatory effect reduces the number of inflammatory markers post-exercise in the body. The therapy helps to relieve acute and chronic pain caused by muscle soreness, inflammation, and stiffness. The stimulation of anti-inflammatory response allows the body to recover appropriately during the tapering phase and enhance the performance. Moreover, cold temperature numbs nerve endings and reduces the intensity of muscle and joint pain.

Boosts Energy

Whole-body cryotherapy has long been used by high-performance athletes and professional teams to outperform their opponents. One of the most notable benefits of getting whole body cryotherapy as sport and fitness treatment is that after faster recovery, athletes will not feel exhausted and worn. They will have more endurance and vitality to perform better in the next training session. A study published in the Journal of Athletic Training reported a 4% increase in stroke effectiveness of professional tennis players after five days of cryotherapy. It means that players hit more balls in the target zone as compared to the players who didn’t have cryotherapy treatment.

Exposing the body to extreme cold puts it into alert mode and boosts the immune system, offering an immediate upsurge of energy and consequent strength. Increased blood circulation after whole body cryotherapy delivers oxygenated and nutrient-filled blood to the tissues and muscles. This doesn’t only help with the muscle recovery process, but also provides the body with the fuel required to perform at top speed. Better blood flow to the brain aids in improving cognitive abilities, such as concentration. Since your fitness performance is correlated with your mental functioning, the better concentration will enhance your physical output.

Hormonal Shot

With an improvement in blood flow, nutrients, oxygen level, your immune system is profoundly stimulated. This results in balancing hormonal levels in the body. A wealth of research demonstrates the impact of whole-body cryotherapy on hormones, including testosterone, cortisol, and catecholamines. Your body releases large amounts of norepinephrine after a whole body cryotherapy treatment. This hormone is responsible for prolonged focus, vitality, and positive mood. All these skills are essential for athletes to give their best and gain a competitive edge. Depletion or reduction in norepinephrine has been associated with lethargy, inattention, lack of concentration, and depression.

A lower level of cortisol is regarded as positively correlated with performance outcomes. An increase in cortisol can lead to poor performance. In a study by the University of Canberra, Australia, whole body cryotherapy was shown to decrease the levels of cortisol from 13-25% in a group of elite rowers who were given the therapy for five days prior to exercise.