Whole body cryotherapy (WBC) is all the buzz these days as athletes and celebrities alike embrace it as a viable therapy for performance and beauty. But WBC offer even deeper benefits for health and overall wellness. Whether you want to treat metabolic disease, slow aging, lose weight, sharpen your brain or sleep better, WBC can help you look, feel and perform better in every aspect of your life.
History of Cryotherapy
Cryotherapy, or cold therapy, has been used for centuries to treat a range of health disorders. The Ancient Egyptians used it as early as 2500 BCE to treat injuries and inflammation. Napoleon’s famous surgeon used cryotherapy in performing amputations to control bleeding and reduce pain during the historic retreat from Moscow in 1812. In the 1840s and 50s, Dr. James Arnott of Brighton, England used a mixture of salt and ice to treat cancers, noting a shrinking of tumors and reduced pain in his patients.
While our predecessors used ice and freezing cold water to treat various health conditions, modern cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen to promote rapid cooling of the skin’s surface. Liquid nitrogen was first used therapeutically in 1913 by American neurosurgeon Irving S. Cooper. Dr. Cooper designed a liquid nitrogen probe capable of achieving temperatures of -196°C. He used the device to treat Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders by freezing the thalamus of the brain.
Today, some 200 years later, are we beginning to understand the precise science behind cryotherapy’s remarkable benefits.
How WBC Works
While some brave athletes still subject themselves to ice baths after practice or training, or after a big game, most cryotherapy treatments today are done in a cryosauna, where liquid nitrogen rapidly drops temperatures to as low as -274º F.
The treatment only lasts for two or three minutes, long enough to rapidly cool your body’s surface temperature to approximately 32º F, shunting blood away from the skin’s surface to the vital organs. During a cryotherapy session, your head remains outside the chamber.
WBC at the Biochemical Level
WBC taps into your body’s survival mechanisms, using them to promote healing and create energy. When the surface of your skin is frozen, blood is shunted away from the surface, carrying with it fluids and toxins, and delivering them swiftly to the liver and kidneys for processing and elimination. As your blood circulates within the internal cycle of your vital organs, it becomes infused with oxygen and micronutrients. In the process, your vital organs are stimulated to operate at an accelerated rate, improving their function. At the same time, dead cells, byproducts of cellular re-genesis, are eliminated from the circulatory system and moved to the lymphatic system for elimination.
As your session ends and your skin begins to warm again, cleansed and enriched blood floods back to the surface, infusing your skin and muscles with oxygen and nutrients.
WBC at the Energy Level
Your body’s energy network consists of 12 main energy meridians located deep within, and many lateral meridians reaching the skin’s surface. When the energy flow in any of the meridians is blocked, some organs do not receive enough energy to function properly. When energy flow is impeded, the aging process accelerates as vital organs underperform.
The science of physics teaches us that if we take a long wire of one meter or more in length and warm one end of it while cooling the other, the difference in temperature at the ends creates an electric current in the wire. Cryotherapy has much the same effect on the body’s energy systems. By cooling the surface to freezing, we create a 68.6º F difference between surface and core temperatures, causing a strong flow of energy in the meridians and restoring the energy flow to blocked areas.
WBC at the Neurological Level
Your nervous system is an intricate circuitry that delivers electrical impulses between your brain and every living cell in your body. This incredible communication system constantly takes inventory of every function within your body, on the lookout for deficiencies and delivering resources for healing and repair via the immune system.
WBC heightens the brain’s awareness of metabolic deficiencies while at the same time reducing inflammation and taking pressure off the neural bodies to restore function. WBC also stimulates the release of endorphins after a session, making you feel happy and energized.
Where to Get WBC
WBC is popping up everywhere, and many celebrities and professional athletes have personal cryosaunas in their homes. In NYC, you can enjoy WBC in a relaxed spa-like setting at InVita Cryo NYC. Located in the heart of trendy historic SoHo, InVita Cryo NYC offers a unique menu of services geared to active adults who want to remain young, healthy and beautiful, year after year. Make you appointment today, and be sure to ask about CryoFacial for young glowing healthy skin.