A health and beauty practice called cryotherapy that has been popular in Europe for quite some time has been gaining a lot of steam in the U.S. Drastically reducing body temperature, either locally or generally, is said to have some far reaching health benefits, including reducing the signs of aging. These techniques are employed in many areas of medicine, including physical therapy, sports medicine, and plastic surgery.
How it Works
Cryotherapy refers to a range of treatments that use fast, dramatic cooling of the body to promote health and healing. Local cryotherapy treatments are performed using a device that is placed directly over the treatment area, cooling the skin to temperatures in the 30s in the specified area. General cryotherapy involves a person walking into a moisture-free, pressure-free chamber, where the air is cooled to as low as -264 degrees fahrenheit. The temperature of the entire body is lowered, and the skin’s temperature drops below freezing. A general cryotherapy session lasts only 2-3 minutes.
Healing and Detoxing
When localized cryotherapy is applied to a joint or area of the body where an injury has occurred, it can really promote healing. Reducing inflammation in an injury allows healing to take place, reduces pain, and increases range of motion. Cryotherapy can be used to reduce inflammation immediately, and the effects can last up to several days. When you’re exposed to far below freezing temperatures during general cryotherapy, their blood leaves your extremities and heads into the brain and vital organs to keep them warm and protected. Once the blood rushes to the vital organs, it is cleaned and detoxified there. When you warm up, the blood that returns to your extremities is fresh and clean. The rush of endorphins and adrenaline associated with this process makes you feel totally refreshed and vibrant for days.
Nearly all of the signs of aging in the skin can be attributed to a breakdown of collagen and elastin, which gives way to fine lines and wrinkles as we age. When the surface of the skin is cooled to freezing temperatures during cryotherapy, the collagen that lies beneath is disrupted, and responds by increasing production. This results in brighter, firmer skin as it regains elasticity. Cryotherapy is being added to the list of anti-aging treatments for many medical spas and cosmetic surgeon offices. The treatment takes just a few minutes, has almost no side effects, and produces some great results. The famously young-looking Demi Moore swears by the procedure!
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