Being cold is very hot indeed
Cryotherapy is has been very popular in Europe; it is available in many conventional hospitals as well as spas. In therapeutic centers, cryotherapy involves standing in chambers filled with cold, dry air at temperatures as low as -135°C (-211°F).
Cryotherapy (Cryogenic chamber therapy) is a treatment whereby the patient is placed in a cryogenic chamber for a short duration, i.e. no more than three minutes, which is comparable to ice swimming, and if used properly, will not destroy tissue. The term "cryotherapy" comes from the Greek cryo meaning cold and the word therapy meaning cure.
Whole Body Cryotherapy initially originated in Japan in 1978. However, it was a group of Polish scientists who took the idea and made Whole Body Cryotherapy the effective physical therapy it is today. The Olympic rehabilitation centre in Spala, Poland opened in May 2000 and has been used as a training and injury rehabilitation centre for many sporting bodies.
The chamber is cooled, typically with liquid nitrogen, to a temperature of –110°C. The patient is protected from acute frostbite with socks, gloves and mouth and ear protection, but in addition to that, wears nothing but a cotton bathing suit. The patients spend a few minutes in the chamber. During treatment the average skin temperature drops 12°C, while the coldest skin temperature can be 5°C. The core body temperature remains unchanged during the treatment, while after it, it may drop slightly. Curiously enough, some patients compare the feeling to sauna at +110°C. Release of endorphins occurs, resulting in analgesia (immediate pain relief).
Patients report that the experience is invigorating and improves a variety of conditions. These include symptoms of psychological stress, insomnia, rheumatism, muscle and joint pain, fibromyalgia, itching, and psoriasis. The immediate effect of skin cooling and analgesia lasts for 5 minutes, but the release of endorphins can have a lasting effect, where the pains and signs of inflammation as found in blood tests remain suppressed for weeks. The effects of extreme cold and endorphin release are scientifically studied. Recent research from the Scripps Research Institute, in California, has shown that reducing the core body temperature of mice makes them live longer, but cryotherapy, where people are exposed for short bursts of time to extremely cold temperatures, maybe the latest spa treatment for antiaging, anti cellulite and more radiant skin and hair.
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Spa Treatments are used primarily to relax, pamper, cleanse, and beautify, as opposed to the more therapeutic cryotherapy treatments. Spa treatments include the following categories:
Cold Spa Modalities may use cold gel packs, ice bags, ice massage, ice globes, ice baths and cooling gels.
Contrast Baths in spas have you alternate between hot and cold baths. These will stimulate blood circulation and flush out toxins.
Cryotherapy Chambers are not as prevalent in the USA at this time although it is rumored that it is used by sport teams. The closest is the Arctic Room at the Qua Spa in Las Vegas where the temperature is 12°C (55°F).