Cryotherapy: What are the benefits?

Cryotherapy is whole-body exposure to dry air vapours at sub-zero temperatures which stimulate blood circulation, endocrine system, Immune system and Central Nervous System. Cryotherapy is used to decrease the metabolic output of soft tissue post-exercise, reducing lactic acid (LA) output and inflammation.

The process for this stimulation is constriction of peripheral blood vessels (vasoconstriction) which redirects blood flow to the core to conserve the heat. This reduces the metabolic load of muscles by decreasing cellular metabolism, inflammation and pain perception. Cryotherapy is used after training to decrease lactic acid formation and promote repair and recovery.

After a cryotherapy session when returning to normal environmental temperatures blood redistribution around the body stimulates increase in Oxygen and nutritional supply to the muscles.

Lactic acid (LA) is formed as a by-product of the anaerobic energy system (when Energy is produced quickly without the use of Oxygen). An accumulation of LA can cause the muscle to slow down or to stop working efficiently. Muscles constantly produce lactic acid, even at rest, and it is therefor present in blood. At rest the balance between the rate of production of LA equals that of the rate of removal, which results in stable blood lactate concentration. As the workload increases, the muscles increase their anaerobic Energy output and lactic acid increases also. This leads to accumulation of lactate in the blood and removal of LA from muscles to be slowed and therefor the onset of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) approx. 2 days after training.

Ice baths and Cryotherapy chambers are used by athletes to reduce DOMS and promote healing and repair of soft tissue.

Kildare Osteopathy does not provide Cryotherapy facilities.