It is a while since Cryotherapy has been a part of the headlines. It wasn’t until most of the leading athletes and celebrities began to endorse its use. Quite quickly, it was discovered how celebrities like Christine Aguilera was able to lose weight so safely and rapidly. From repairing the injuries of athletes to help celebrities in losing weight, is it worth a shot? If it is, what are some of its other benefits?
Cryotherapy, the new pain relief treatment also serves as the contemporary-day ice bath to treat the specific wounds of the athletes. Moreover, it has also become the most preferred sensational among top celebrities that want to lose their weight, shed their obesity, stop aging by giving away a few bucks to treat their body in an extremely abnormal and cold temperature. Among the different types of Cryotherapy methods, Whole Body Cryotherapy is the most commonly used method that lasts for three of the exposure of skin to the temperature from -200°F to -250°F. The treatment has some pros and cons as well, this paper aims to figure out them.
Ever since a while, Cryotherapy was introduced in the 70s, it became a common practice among the elites for some reason to benefit their body, such as weight loss is one of the most claimed advantages that the treatment aims to give. However, according to different speculations reported by researchers, it is not entirely true.
Moreover, does it serve as the anti-aging process, or these are just some of the falsely claimed benefits. This essay will highlight some of the pros and cons of the method and will pay specific attention to its claimed benefits.
II. The Process of Cryotherapy
By definition, it is stated as the “Cryotherapy is a pain treatment that uses a method of localized freezing temperatures to deaden an irritated nerve. Cryotherapy is also used as a method of treating localized areas of some cancers (called cryosurgery), such as prostate cancer and to treat abnormal skin cells by dermatologists.”
The Cryotherapy treatment asks for an essential sitting in the deep-freezing tank for some minutes. It helps the people to lose weight, improve their athletic performance, reduce their muscles pain, even improve their sleep and cause slow aging. According to some researchers, this is the argument that has supported, and these are the benefits stated that an individual could seek by receiving a Cryotherapy treatment. However, how can one support the use of “Whole-body Cryotherapy” that has potential health risks, and even major side effects attached to it? But it is proven that the treatment has lesser side effects and more benefits.
III. The Effectiveness of Cryotherapy
As it is stated by the researchers, “The use of ice or freezing materials to conduct a treatment of something technically qualifies as the process of Cryotherapy by definition. Hence, the most long-standing and common form of Cryotherapy is the application of ice or cold packs to injuries to cause blood vessels to constrict, which reduces blood flow and alleviates pain, swelling and inflammation.”
There has been a long debate on the long term effects of the process, and the healing of the localized area which can also be called as the specific part where Cryosurgery is applied. Cryosurgery is specifically used in treating prostate cancers. This is another major benefit.
IV. The Weaknesses of Cryotherapy
It is known as the standard practice among the health professionals and the hospitals; however, cryosurgery is the use of immensely cold substances even different formulas like liquid nitrogen to freeze and remove the lesions. This helps in reducing the pain of the affected part. However, the removal of lesions results in different side effects like headaches, migraine, and fidgetiness of the body.
According to several practitioners, the act of deliberately and forcibly letting the individuals undergo in a highly abnormal freezing temperature is harmful. It is a forced phenomenon with one’s body, which the body usually does not allow however due to the trendy aspects of Cryotherapy jesters the people to invest money in such a treatment like this. Some elite athletes like Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and some actresses like Mandy Moore, Demi Moore, Kate Moss, Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Alba have undergone this process to help them from aging and being weak. However, this forced anti-aging method has caused them certain problems in the long term.
IV. Cryotherapy’s Main Benefits
The Weight Loss:
As the major responsibility of this process is to kill the cells, and affected parts, therefore, it plays a central role in shedding the weight. As the research states, “Some people claim that WBC can even improve appearance, slow aging and shed body weight, with WBC even being labeled as a new weight loss trend.” So the question lies why people can’t rather exercise and eat healthily and drink protein drinks to keep them healthy and young rather than undergoing a bitter cold treatment for some minutes? But, in this rapidly moving era, people don’t have time, and therefore they seek for time-effective methods like Cryotherapy to treat their body.
Some claims on the internet state, “Those running Cryotherapy facilities, ranging from decreasing inflammation to redirecting blood flow to vital organs to convincing the body that it is in danger so that it boosts its immune system and metabolism.”
Most of the current evidence focus revolves around the effects of “Whole Body Cryotherapy” and how it does help in preventing the musculoskeletal pain and inflammation.
Health professionals have provided some statements such as “The use of WBC to relieve pain and inflammation from conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, enclosing spondylitis and injuries. However, a recently published systematic review of the literature did not find compelling scientific evidence that WBC is effective in preventing and treating muscle soreness after exercise in adults. Without nearly enough scientific evidence, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not yet approved WBC as a medical treatment.” (Degraeve, 4-5)
The investment of these elites does not bother them to spend thousands of bucks on a treatment that solve a number of their issues in the course of some minutes. And, as Hollywood and Sports is the number one influencer in the global, therefore several other citizens gets impacted by these elite class and follow the same method of investing their money in a time-effective treatment like this, and this is how Cryotherapy paved its way.
Some scientifically claimed evidence have supported and provided an explanation that “Whole Body Cryotherapy” is a treatment to stop aging, anti-age, lose weight, or it will promise to involve any preventive measures for obesity.
Hence, there is no single magic solution to losing weight besides regular exercise, healthy diet and a sufficient intake of water. Although, these elite class does claim that the secret behind their anti-aging physical appearance is the magic of drinking eight glass of water and exercising regularly.
V. The Lack of Research over Cryotherapy
“Whole Body Cryotherapy” may be highly helpful in preventing different diseases as stated above. However, there is no proof that is evident it serves as weight loss agent and obesity preventing treatment besides an individual who already experienced the process. The process may be sound, but there is no enough research to support the argument that it is a healthy choice to make that must be followed by everyone how has enough investment to undergo this experience. However, the health professionals have also shown an absolute disregard for the process, and this is why there has been a highly less funding to conduct the research and find the real benefits and drawback of the process.
VI. Treatment of Cryotherapy for Cancer
Cryotherapy treats the specific area to deaden or finish the irritated nerve or cells. And this is why it is also used to detect the localized areas for some cancers, also called cryosurgery.
It is further suggested that Cryotherapy is an effective and efficient choice to make to treat cancer, however, for weight loss and anti-aging process, it still lacks enough data. In the situation of cancer, it is stated the process lets the person undergo the treatment for detecting a specific localized area rather than undergoing a whole body therapy. Therefore, the methods used for the Cryotherapy and cryosurgery are different, and it is not consulted to every individual who is willing to lose weight, shed their obesity or want to look young by trying this so-called, falsely claimed anti-aging treatment. (Zhou, 14)
As for cancer, it is stated “In Cryotherapy, a probe is inserted into the tissue next to the affected nerve. The temperature of the probe drops to then effectively freeze the nerve. The freezing inactivates the nerve and, as a result, painful nerve irritation is relieved. Cryotherapy is a relatively safe and efficient means of treating localized nerve irritation.” (Seifert and Junginger, 152-154)
Therefore, it can be used for cancer, and not for other purposes as used by the elite class such as athletes and actresses of Hollywood. Some of the temporary side effects of the method are stated to be the reduced and unwanted nerve irritation; it sometimes even affects the tissues and causes the individual to experience unusual sensation such as hallucinations, tingling, and even numbness.
Moreover, it leads the affected area to be irritated and filled with redness. These effects are stated to be temporary, but the pain is highly problematic that the people have to go through.
VII. Types of Cryotherapy Treatment
There are different ways to conduct the process such as cryosurgery for cancer, as previously addressed. In addition to this, there are methods like ice pack therapy; partial body Cryotherapy, Whole-body Cryotherapy and each one of them have their certain adverse effects.
It typically treats skin conditions like skin tags, solar keratosis, warts, and moles and freezes the tissues at the cellular level. The procedure is usually caused by severe cold conditions that are difficult for a human to undergo and adapt the body according to the extreme, abnormally cold temperature. It is not even easy for the body, and therefore in some cases, individuals are unable to take the process, control themselves and eventually die. Such as the death of the athlete that is previously stated in the first few paragraphs. Regarding the adverse effects, the “Whole Body Cryotherapy” has the most adverse effects.
It is stated, “Systematic reviews of whole body Cryotherapy have repeatedly called for research studies to implement active surveillance of adverse events, which are suspected of being underreported. If the cold temperatures are produced by evaporating liquid nitrogen, there is the risk of inert gas asphyxiation as well as frostbite.” (Knight, 8)
Hence, the “Whole Body Cryotherapy” is the most harmful. While, on the other hand, the “Partial Body Cryotherapy” particularly devices the cylindrical chambers that have an aperture typically at the top, while the head of the patient remains outside and is not subjected to the cold stimulus. In the scenario of partial body Cryotherapy, the adverse effects usually revolve around the production created by evaporating the liquid nitrogen inside the person, and there is a huge risk of inert gas asphyxiations as well as the frostbites. It also results in severe headaches, and migraines as stated earlier.
Hence, the conclusion remains that people should not follow and influencers blindly and end up getting this treatment. This treatment is positive in many terms but must not be used without any proper consultation. It is suggested to the readers to properly consult the doctor, and ask which treatment they require in the types of Cryotherapy.
Moreover, the Cryotherapy has major benefits that could serve as a time-effective service for the busy lives of people. As stated, “A study published in the September 2000 edition of the Archives of Family Medicine showed that a combination of pressure and cold temperatures done in the Cryotherapy treatment, both applied locally via a headband, can successfully mitigate headache-related pain and also decrease the duration of a headache.” (Bellows, 17)
Knight, Kenneth L. Cryotherapy in sports injury management. Human Life Press, 1995.
Seifert, J. K., Th Junginger, and D. L. Morris. “A collective review of the world literature on hepatic cryotherapy.” Journal of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh 43.3 (1998): 141-154.
Degraeve, C., et al. “Recurrent contagious ecthyma (Orf) in an immunocompromised host successfully treated with cryotherapy.” Dermatology 198.2 (1999): 162-163.
Bellows, John Goldfreed. Cryotherapy of ocular diseases. Lippincott, 1966.
Zhou, Xin‐Da, and Zhao‐You Tang. “Cryotherapy for primary liver cancer.” Seminars in surgical oncology. Vol. 14. No. 2. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1998.