What is Local Cryotherapy?
The application of ‘cold’ for the treatment of injuries is widely used in sports medicine (Swenson et al., 1996). Over the years many of us have been most familiar with using the frozen bag of peas on the injury or wrapping some ice in a towel and resting it on the injury. Despite these treatments having some positive effects on healing the injury there is a much more superior treatment, local cryotherapy.
Used in Sports Medicine
Local cryotherapy is used in sports medicine for the treatment of both acute and chronic injuries of soft tissue. Here at Cryojuvenate we use an electric appliance, which blasts out cold air (at different flows) at a temperature of -32 degrees Celsius (much colder than your bag of frozen peas) for a 10 minute period. The local treatment provides a rush of oxygenated blood, a natural analgesic effect and a reduction in muscle tension to the targeted area (Bleakley et al., 2004). Post-treatment, this circulation of blood in the treatment area increases the rates of healing and recovery in the injured tissues (Swenson et al., 1996). Additionally, the natural analgesic effect provided from the treatment and the relaxation of muscles allows the individual to gradually increase their exercise tolerance, strengthen the muscles and joints reducing the risk of injury in the future (Bleakley et al., 2004).
Having a block of local cryotherapy treatments close together (5-10 treatments) not only helps the individual to recover quicker and return to sport/exercise but it is also the most effective way to maximise the healing effects at the injured site. This is largely due to the increased circulation of blood and metabolic processes remaining higher for longer. Cryostimulation will reduce the intensity of pain and swelling occurring from an injury, which is especially important for athletes who take part in professional training sessions and are regularly challenged with these types of problem (Bleakley et al., 2004).
What are the benefits from the local cryotherapy treatment?
- Reduced recovery time for injuries
- Enhances sporting performance
- Reduction in the regeneration phase
- Reductions in inflammation
- Reduction of pain
- Reduction of spasm
- Improvement of joint function
- Decrease in muscle tension
- Reduction of post traumatic treatments
- Overall quicker return to training
- Decreased Fatigue
- Enhances healing post surgery
- Improves circulation
- Decrease swellings
- Decrease of chronic pain syndrome
- Enhances recovery of muscle and ligament strains
- Speeds up recovery of tendon injuries
Who will benefit from local cryotherapy?
Athletes who are at risk of injury will benefit from local cryotherapy, enabling them to return to sport quicker. However, these treatments are not only applicable to elite athletes or sports players. They are useful for anyone who has an injury and wants to speed up the healing process as well as individuals who have had surgery and want to enhance their recovery. As well as being an effective treatment for injuries local cryotherapy is also showing promise in other health conditions, including the treatment of psoriasis (Shamsadini et al., 2005), arthritis (Hirvonen et al., 2006), chronic pain conditions and various other skin conditions.
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Bleakley, C., McDonough, S. and MacAuley, D. (2004). The use of ice in the treatment of acute soft-tissue injury: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. The American journal of sports medicine, 32(1), pp.251-261.
Hirvonen, H.E., Mikkelsson, M.K., Kautiainen, H., Pohjolainen, T.H. and Leirisalo-Repo, M. (2006). Effectiveness of different cryotherapies on pain and disease activity in active rheumatoid arthritis. A randomised single blinded controlled trial. Clinical and experimental rheumatology, 24(3), p.295.
Shamsadini, S., Varesvazirian, M. and Shamsadini, A. (2005). Cryotherapy as a treatment for psoriasis. Dermatology online journal, 11(2).
Swenson, C., Swärd, L. and Karlsson, J. (1996). Cryotherapy in sports medicine. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 6(4), pp.193-200.