What good will come from shivering in an ice bath?
The answer is actually astonishing! It shocks your body and activates your autonomic nervous system thus helping reduce tissue and core body temperature. And, this, in turn, affects bodily functions such as restricting blood flow, activating the endocrine system, and altering your heart rate.
It is called cryotherapy!
It simply involves something as simple as a cold shower, a plunge into an icy pool, or some sophisticated chamber. There is research out there to suggest that regular cryotherapy sessions have a wide range of benefits. This includes reducing pain, reducing inflammation, and speeding up recovery.
Benefits of Cryotherapy
Inflammation is our bodies’ natural response to help with the healing process. Many of us suffer from chronic inflammation, which is a silent killer and at the core of almost all major diseases. Cryotherapy can help retune our inflammatory response, and reduce existing inflammation. Because it helps increase the presence of anti-inflammatory cytokines, as well as reduces pro-inflammatory cytokines.
When we exercise it causes temporary inflammation. With cryotherapy, you can reduce tissue and core temperature by reducing blood flow to areas of inflammation.
Boosts the Immune System
By reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, regular cryotherapy optimises our body to fight disease. This is due to the increase in the production of white blood cells (especially lymphocytes and monocytes) and this helps our body to fight off disease.
Reduces Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress or the imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in our bodies plays a major role in the wear and tear and determines how our bodies age. However, while we cannot prevent ageing, let’s at least fight it and slow down the ageing process. Studies have shown that it can increase the presence of antioxidants, which helps to decrease oxidative stress. So, while you sweat it out with lots of exercises, cryotherapy will increase an increase your antioxidant levels.
Enhances Heart Health
By plunging our bodies into very cold temperatures, we decrease our resting heart rate, whilst improving stroke volume, and improving heart rate variability. Cryotherapy activates the mechanism that regulates our blood pressure helping to balance and optimise our blood pressure.
Cryotherapy helps to improve joint function and arthritis. Studies have shown that cryotherapy helps reduce pain and improve joint mobility in rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. But, even if you don’t suffer from any of these ailments, cryotherapy helps improve joint function by helping muscles recover and reduce inflammation. Result freely and painless movement.
Cryotherapy increases the production of antioxidants and endorphins in the body, which in turn helps in the treatment of chronic pain.
Improves Mental State
Cryotherapy may also help you reduce anxiety and depression as it increases the production of endorphins, which cause a happy state of mind.
Improves Quality of Sleep
Cryotherapy is known to enhance the quality of our sleep. Quality sleep is a great healer as it helps our body to heal and recover and also helps enhances cognitive function.
Finally, as always, let me end by saying ‘work those sweat glands…a lot’ with plenty of physical activity! Be it regular walks, jogging, hitting the gym or taking up a sport. However, exercise (especially if it’s new to your body) will cause muscle soreness. But then there’s cryotherapy on hand to save the day!
Athletes use ice baths to help them recover faster and better. This could be a result of enhanced oxygenation of the muscles which lead to greater work efficiency and a reduction in cardiovascular strain.
So, take control of your life, today! Eat healthy by making changes in your diet and nutrition.
In the next article, we are going to talk about obesity. Are we becoming obese silently? How do we know? How do we prevent it? Await our next post to know more. Until then, eat healthy, sleep well and work those sweat glands out.
Please ensure you consult with your doctor before you make any significant changes to your diet, indulging in any rigorous physical activity or throwing yourself into an icy pool if you suffer from any hypertensive or cardiac-related ailments. Also, it would be best to remember that cryotherapy is not the panacea for your ailments and do consult a professional before you do so.
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