Lebron James, Floyd Mayweather, Odell Beckham Jr., Michael Phelps and Canelo Alvarez swear by them. The Phoenix Suns, Memphis Grizzlies, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Saints are just a few of the teams that have them in their facilities. Christiano Ronaldo, ESPN's most famous athlete in the world, even has one in his house. We are talking about cryotherapy chambers.
In 1978, Japanese rheumatologist Dr. Toshima Yamaguchi successfully treated pain and inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis by putting patients in a chamber and exposing their bodies to extremely cold temperatures for short periods of time. Today, advanced cryotherapy chambers are not only being used to treat chronic conditions such as arthritis, they have also been proven as an excellent resource for sports recovery. This includes both sports injuries as well as general soreness from rigorous training or competitive play.
So how does it work? A patient enters the chamber wearing only gloves, socks, and undergarments. The temperature is set to about -160 oC and the patient stays in the chamber for 2.5 to 3 minutes. While they will be very cold for a few minutes, patients will find it was well worth it.
Cryotherapy enhances antioxidant capacity and aids in cardiovascular recovery. It also alters inflammatory pathways that are related to recovery. Cryotherapy treatment slows the onset of fatigue, increases cardiovascular recovery rate, and decreases creatine kinase (a product of muscle breakdown) following a difficult training session. This makes cryotherapy more effective than a typical ice bath in a fraction of the time. These findings were published in the Journal of Athletic Training.
Elite athletes are taking advantage of the benefits of cryotherapy, but recreational athletes and people suffering with chronic pain can also utilize this effective, affordable treatment.