What is cryotherapy

What is cryotherapy

What is cryotherapy? A complete guide to cryotherapy in India

Cryotherapy simply put is cold therapy that uses low temperature for medical therapy, It’s primarily used as a pain treatment and is claimed to offer many other benefits.

Cryotherapy was developed in Japan in 1978 by Toshima Yamaguchi,

He noticed the effects of lower temperatures to be beneficial for many of his patients with rheumatoid arthritis, who came back from hilly areas after the winter holidays.

This 1970’s development for treating rheumatoid arthritis started getting great traction around the world and has been a trend in the alternative therapy industry ever since.

Well to understand the benefits of cryotherapy we can look at a simple treatment around us that we have been using for decades to treat pain.

Putting ice packs on the areas of pain, The use of ice or lower temperatures to treat pain has always been in society. Even the Greek physician Hippocrates (regarded as the father of medicine)  practiced it.

Cryotherapy in India has gained huge popularity in the past couple of years and is gaining even more demand in the urban communities.

Even after all the buzz around cryotherapy it still is not approved by the US FDA as a therapeutic treatment and many others in the scientific community do not believe in its effectiveness.

US FDA has been a benchmark in the healthcare industry for defining international standards of medical devices and practices.

While talking about whole body cryotherapy US FDA said that

“The problem is, this so-called “treatment” hasn’t been proven to do any of these things.”

So let’s understand in detail about cryotherapy in India and its claimed benefits.

Cryotherapy in India

  1. What is cryotherapy: The science behind cryotherapy
  2. Benefits of cryotherapy
  3. What to expect while going for cryotherapy in India?
  4. Is cryotherapy effective?
  5. Precautions for cryotherapy in India
  6. Cost of cryotherapy in India
  7. Bonus Feed –Have you heard about cryonics?: Live forever by freezing yourself.

What is cryotherapy: The science behind cryotherapy

Cryotherapy in India
Whole Body Cryotherapy
Image Src: Cryo Sydney

Cryotherapy is a pain treatment that uses low freezing temperatures to treat the irritating nerves.

There are many types of cryotherapy available in the market like ice pack therapy, partial body cryotherapy, whole body cryotherapy, and cryosurgery.

How does cryotherapy work?

When you get hurt or injured your body increases blood flow in that area, This leads to swelling of the injured area and this also promotes inflammatory cells to accumulate.

This swelling causes a restriction in our muscle and joint movement.

Cryotherapy induces low freezing temperature that causes vasoconstriction or narrowing of the walls of blood vessels, This decreases the blood flow in the pain area and reduces inflammation.

This is how the pain is relieved when we apply low temperatures or ice packs to the pain area and while a localized approach like this is a type of cryotherapy,

The whole trend associated with cryotherapy in India is the whole body cryotherapy.

whole body cryotherapy is performed in special cryo chambers, where you enter a cryo-chamber with minimalistic clothing and your body is subjected to −110° to −140°C for 3 minutes.

The basic claimed science behind cryotherapy chambers is primarily forcing the body’s natural response to cold temperature.

When you go into the chamber your body responds to low temperature (−110° to −140°C)  by vasoconstriction (narrowing of the walls of blood vessels) as a protective measure.

By vasoconstriction, your body basically redirects blood from blood vessels and capillaries in your skin towards your torso region where most of your vital organs are located.

This blood is then enriched with white blood cells, red blood cells, enzymes, and anti-inflammatory along with hormones like endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine.

You stay in the chamber for 3 minutes which gives your body time to do this process and enrich the blood,

The real healing process starts when you get out of this cryo chamber,

When you get out of the body in a much warmer temperature it initiates a completely opposite process called vasodilation (The broadening of the walls of blood vessels).

Now all the blood that is accumulated in the trunk region re-circulates enriched blood to your entire body which is the healing process.

The benefits associated with cryotherapy are based on all the factors that enrich your blood during this process.

Let’s explore this further by discussing the benefits of cryotherapy.

Benefits of Cryotherapy

Benefits mentioned below include the holistic benefits of cryotherapy and not just whole body cryotherapy.

7 benefits of cryotherapy

Benefits of Cryotherapy
  1. Reduces pain and inflammation

    Cryotherapy leads to

    Cryotherapy induces low freezing temperature that causes vasoconstriction or narrowing of the walls of blood vessels, This decreases the blood flow in the pain area and reduces inflammation.

    In whole body cryotherapy, the blood gets enriched with anti-inflammatory factors that further contribute to it.

  2.  Reduces arthritis pain

    Arthritis involves swelling of multiple joints of your body and a few studies have shown that cryotherapy is beneficial for treating it.

  3. Helps in treating mood disorders

    According to studies, During cryotherapy body releases endorphins and dopamine which commonly called the feel-good hormones, 

    Endorphins reduce pain and boost pleasure, Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with the central nervous system functions such as movement, pleasure, attention, mood, and motivation.

  4. Helps in skin rejuvenation

    It is claimed that whole body cryotherapy helps in rejuvenating your skin, low temperature promotes the body to create more collagen that improves skin health.

    During the therapy, body produces more college as a defense mechanism to protect skin under low temperature even though there is no real damage.

  5. Treating warts with cryotherapy

    Focused cryotherapy on warts freezes the area of the skin having warts, Liquid nitrogen is applied on warts and then cut off using a knife.

    This is not a permanent solution and the dormant cells may still regrow the wart.

  6. Helps in reducing migraine treatment

    Studies showed that cryotherapy to be effective in reducing migraine treatments by cooling and numbing nerves in the neck area.

    This is a benefit of applying cool neck wrap around the neck and not whole body cryotherapy.

  7. Treating low risk tumors

    This is commonly termed as cryosurgery, This can help in treating low risk cancers including prostate cancer.

There are several other claims associated with cryotherapy as well as it helps reduce weight but not much evidence is there.

What to expect while going for cryotherapy in India?

Whole-body cryotherapy in India

When you go for cryotherapy you will be asked to get minimally dressed to enter the chamber (Wearing a bathing suit, socks, headband, gloves, and surgical mask)

Then you will be taken to the vestibule chamber where your body will be subjected to a vestibule chamber at −60°C for 30-40 sec for adaptation. This step may or may not be part of your experience.

After this you will go to a cryo chamber where your body will be subjected to −110° to −140°C, Cryo chambers use liquid nitrogen to create cold air.

During the process make sure that you turn every 10-15 seconds, make sure that your head is above the chamber, and avoid breathing the fumes around you.

You will notice nitrogen vapors around you in a fog-like structure, This part of the experience is often used to advertise cryotherapy, You might have seen these pictures online.

After 3 minutes you will come out of the chamber, and return to room temperature which will start the real healing effect as described above.

Is cryotherapy effective?

The US FDA does not approve cryotherapy for therapeutic purposes

The effectiveness of cryotherapy is not universally accepted,

In fact, The US FDA (The Food and Drug Administration body of the United States) does not approve cryotherapy as a therapeutic treatment.

In its 2016 press release, The US FDA said that.

“Your rheumatoid arthritis is flaring up? A trainer at your local gym suggests a safe and easy way to treat it: a three-minute session in a freezing tank, called whole body cryotherapy (WBC). He says not only will WBC help you put an end to rheumatoid arthritis pain better than an ice bath or pack, but also promises that a couple sessions will help with depression and weight loss!

Not so fast.

The problem is, this so-called “treatment” hasn’t been proven to do any of these things.”

Most spas and wellness centers quote a variety of studies proving the benefits of cryotherapy but widely these results are not accepted and many studies disprove it.

Even though the effectiveness of cryotherapy is controversial, People love to go for cryotherapy and vouch for its effectiveness for them,

Celebrities like Will Smith, Usain Bolt, Lebron James have followed the trend and gone for cryotherapy, Many Indian celebrities like Faran Akhtar and Ranbir Kapoor too followed this global trend.

Precautions and guidelines for cryotherapy in India

Precautions to take while going for cryotherapy in India

  • You should make sure that you have no sweat on your body while entering the cryotherapy chamber as it might cause skin burning or necrosis.

  • Make sure you are in presence of a professional while you enter the chamber,

    You should not be left unattended during the process and always know that you can get out of the chamber whenever you want

  • You should not go for cryotherapy if you have the any of the following conditions
    • Pregnancy
    • High blood pressure
    • An open wound
    • Raynaud’s Disease
    • hypothyroidism
    • respiratory system disorders
    • Cardiovascular disorders
    • Neuropathy

  • You should not apply cryotherapy like ice packs and gel packs for more than 15-20 minutes directly on your skin as it can cause integumentary damage

  • Make sure all your sensitive body parts are covered and you are not wearing any metal object.

  • Whole body cryotherapy should be restricted to 3 minutes per session.

  • Try to avoid inhaling the nitrogen fumes during the process,

    even though the fumes are non toxic they lack oxygen which can lead to shortness of breath.

Cost of cryotherapy in India

Cryotherapy in India can start from ₹2,500.00-₹6,500.00 in India per session.

Cryotherapy is becoming more trending and competitive in the Indian market and apart from medical practitioners spas and wellness centers have started offering cryotherapy as a solution.

Based on your condition doctors and physiotherapists might recommend you cryotherapy 2-3 times a week for treating diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or severe body pain.

Bonus Feed –Have you heard about cryonics? Cheat Death and Live forever by freezing yourself.

Cryonics in India

The wish for immortality among humans has been a constant, We all have wondered what it might be to live for forever at a particular period of time.

Maybe it’s possible with cryonics!

Cryonics is the process of preserving people at very low temperatures so they can be revived in the future.

Cryonics as we know it today began in 1962 when college physics teacher Robert Ettinger in his book “The Prospect of Immortality” explained that freezing people could preserve them so that future and more advanced medicine could revive them.

The basic thought behind this is that if you preserve the mind, you can preserve the person—the body itself can be fixed in the future, once we develop the technology for it.

The first step would preserve people in a way that doesn’t do too much damage.

To preserve someone, cryonics experts bring their temperature down to -196 degrees Celsius.

Usually with liquid nitrogen, in a process called vitrification,

Vitrification is used today to preserve human embryos for people undergoing IVF therapy and these preserved embryos can be revived and implanted after as long as 12 years.

But it’s a lot easier to preserve and then revive 8 cells than an entire human body. there are companies that have the option to just preserve the brain because it’s a faster process than preserving the whole body.

They figure that someday medicine will get to the point where brains can be attached to something else, or even uploaded to a computer.

But the problem is that trying to just freeze someone forms ice crystals would damage blood vessels and dehydrate cells.

So experts deal with this by totally replacing the blood with chemical cryopreservation. Basically, when it freezes, the antifreeze doesn’t crystallize the way plain old blood would.

Even with cryopreservation, though, bigger things like organs have a nasty habit of fracturing when cooled, which is bad considering that you would like to use them later.

In 2009, researchers from the California-based group called 21st Century Medicine announced that they’d used similar techniques to preserve

They unfreeze a cryopreserved rabbit kidney and placed the kidney back into a rabbit and it worked fine for 48 days.

The results are promising for the future of organ donations because it would be much easier to find a match if organs and tissues from organ donors could be preserved.

anyway, we don’t really know how much of a person’s consciousness is still stored in their brain structure, once they’re dead.

There is some evidence supporting the idea that memory sticks around after cryopreservation.

In a 2015 study, Nematode worms that were trained to respond to certain smells still responded to these smells after they were cryopreserved and revived.

That’s encouraging, but worms are a lot simpler than people.

There are always new treatments being developed, though, so it does seem likely that in the future, we’ll be able to cure at least some of the things we consider fatal now.

But reviving people so they can be cured and then go on living their lives?

That’s where cryonics runs into a lot of problems because no one has any idea how to do it.

The brain would definitely be at least somewhat damaged from the cryopreservation process

The chemicals used in cryopreserving that replaces the blood are toxic, which means more damage.

So how do we fix the damage and get everything up and running again?

Some cryonics experts say nanobots are the answer and they could go in and fix the damage, maybe even on the cellular level.

But on both the technical and medical sides of things, nanobots that could do that are a very long way off.

So when it comes to preserving people for the future, there are still a lot of unknowns but possibly one day we could just freeze ourselves out of the whole life and death cycle.

Cryonics in India has currently no developments and no research is focused towards cryonics in India as of June 2020,

It is still a pseudoscience and considering that India does not have a lot of funds invested into the medical research and development sector in general, considering to start a research for cryonics will take a lot of time.

Unless some rich person or a private organization suddenly feels a need to preserve their employee of the month.

Let me know your thoughts on cryonic in the comment section.

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