Cryotherapy has generated some recent hype in the athletic and medical communities from its use by many professional athletes including Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and Floyd Mayweather. You may be wondering what exactly cryotherapy does that has brought it into such popularity. Cryotherapy, or cold therapy, is actually something that most athletes and non-athletes have used at some point in their life. By definition, it is simply the use of cold temperatures to assist in the reduction of pain or inflammation. Newer technologies have allowed this type of treatment to go from an ice pack strapped to an ankle to an entire body surrounded by liquid nitrogen at sub-zero temperatures.

The process involves one stepping into a cryotherapy chamber wearing minimal clothing, like socks and gloves, in an attempt to keep the extremities from getting too cold. Liquid nitrogen at temperatures from -100 F to -274 F surrounds the body lowering the skin temperature to approximately 30 F.  During this time, thermoreceptors in the skin send a signal to the brain telling it to send the blood to the body's core in order to maintain internal body temperature. This process is known as vasoconstriction. Toxins are flushed from peripheral tissues and the blood is enriched with oxygen, enzymes, and nutrients at the core. The body activates its natural healing abilities and releases endorphins for further benefit.

So, now the question stands: Does it work? Most who have used it will swear by it for everything from decreased recovery time, to improved immunity, to increased energy, and more. Overall, the support in favor of cryotherapy is strong and the risks, when performed in a controlled environment, are few and far between.

Fortunately, cryotherapy isn't just for pro athletes. Many therapeutic locations in the area offer this type of treatment to the public, including locations like CryoActive in Rocky River.The old saying of "Don't knock it 'till you try it" seems to fit well when it comes to cryotherapy.