User experience during cryotherapy: minimize pain through freezing temperatures

What does cryotherapy feel like?

This is one of the most common questions patients have when considering trying out whole body cryotherapy. This treatment has benefits such as targeting and treating pain and inflammation in the body, improving skin, helping with sleep, and decreasing anxiety. It’s certainly an investment in the improvement of the body and even the mind, but one can’t help but wonder how it will feel, in both a positive and negative sense.

For one, it will definitely will be the coldest anyone has ever felt. The liquid nitrogen reaches a temperature colder than ever naturally recorded. This is what the process is like: first, the patient has to prepare for the session by wearing the correct gear. The user strips down to their underwear and changes into a robe with gloves and boots. During this time, the cryo chamber begins to cool inside. Once at a lower temperature, the patient then steps into the cryo chamber and disrobes. It is crucial that the patient wears gloves and boots the whole time to prevent frostbite. Cryotherapy sessions range from 2–3 minutes long. Remember that if anyone offers longer than that, it’s too much time.

Inside the chamber fills with freezing-cold liquid nitrogen. The temperature slowly drops until it reaches the lowest extreme of under 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Since the body then concentrates blood flow to the core, it helps to turn in circles so the body increases its circulation. Due to the decreased blood flow, inflammation reduces and the cold will soothe aches and pains. The cold envelopes the whole body, except the head. It will feel like standing the the middle of an arctic tundra.

Also, a common defense mechanism to the skin’s drop in temperature is to shiver.

When it’s over and the patient steps out, all the blood that rushed to the core will rush back to the extremities. In turn, giving off an energized feeling. While inside the chamber, the body also released endorphins as a survival tactic. The released endorphins will create an endorphin high that will last hours. A user that tries the treatment at least once, will feel energized and refreshed. The cold will have also soothed aches & pains, and will have reduced swelling in problem areas of the body. Skin may even feel softer or more firm as well.

A second consideration: Is it painful?

In regards to whole body cryotherapy, it is only painful if someone does not take the proper steps to protect themselves during a session. Frostbite can occur if the user does not wear gloves and boots to protect their extremities. The extremities are vulnerable during a session because the body goes into survival mode. While in survival mood, blood flow decreases in the extremities to protect the core, where the internal organs are. The pain of frostbite will not occur if the user wears the right protection (at most places both men and women wear underwear, too). Each business that offers cryotherapy must provide these items. Cryotherapy could also be potentially painful if the user forgets to take off a watch or jewelry below the neck since metal can freeze. Again, following the simple step of removing these items will prevent problems.

Some are more sensitive to the cold than others, and it can feel uncomfortable. It helps to remember that the session is short; it lasts 3 minutes and in that time you do have to bear the cold. However, unlike an ice bath it is a dry contact with the skin which is more pleasant. It helps to move around or turn in circles to increase circulation. Besides, the door is able to open from the inside in case it really is too uncomfortable. Other than this it will actually make your body feel energized afterwards. Stepping out of the cryo chamber is an invigorating experience and the treatment is worth trying out for the potential benefits.

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