You might have come across videos of people immersing their bodies in cold water or people using ice packs to reduce inflammation. Ever wondered what cold therapy does to your body and how effective it is? Cold therapy has a plethora of benefits and is used for several purposes.
We spoke to our expert Dr Narendra Shetty, Chief Wellness Officer, Kshemavana, who explained different types of cold-immersion therapy and if it is safe and effective as compared to other methods.
What Is Cold Therapy?
Cryotherapy, commonly referred to as cold therapy or cold immersion therapy, is a common type of treatment that entails exposure to very low temperatures. This therapy has been shown to provide a range of benefits, including reduced inflammation, improved circulation, increased energy, and improved athletic performance. There are several ways that people can undergo cold exposure, each with its own unique benefits and potential risks.
Also Read: How To Use Hot And Cold Therapy For Injury And Pain Management?
Cold Water Immersion
Cold water immersion is perhaps the most common form of cold therapy. It involves immersing the body in cold water for a period of time, typically ranging from a few minutes to up to 20 minutes. This can be done in a bath, a lake, or even an ice bath. Cold water immersion has been shown to reduce muscle soreness and inflammation, as well as improve circulation and recovery time.
Cryotherapy chambers are large, enclosed spaces that expose the body to extremely cold temperatures for a short period of time, typically one to three minutes. This method is often used by athletes and individuals looking to improve their recovery time, reduce inflammation, and increase energy levels. It is generally considered safe when used properly, although there have been some reports of frostbite and other injuries.
Cold showers involve taking a shower with cold water, typically for a few minutes at a time. This method is simple and convenient and can be done on a daily basis to provide a range of benefits. Cold showers have been shown to increase circulation, improve skin health, and boost energy levels. They are also believed to improve mood and reduce stress levels.
Also Read: Cold Shower Vs Hot Shower: Which Is Better And Why
Cold packs are a simple and effective way to provide local cold therapy to specific areas of the body. They are typically used to reduce swelling and inflammation after an injury or surgery. Cold packs can be applied for up to 20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
How Effective Is It?
In terms of effectiveness, all of these methods have been shown to provide some degree of benefit. Cold water immersion and cryotherapy chambers are generally considered the most effective forms of cold therapy, as they provide the greatest exposure to cold temperatures. Cold showers and cold packs are less intense, but can still provide some benefits when used regularly.
Is Cold Therapy Safe?
In terms of safety, cold therapy can be risky if not done properly. Cold water immersion and cryotherapy chambers can pose a risk of hypothermia, frostbite, and other injuries if not monitored carefully. It is important to start slowly and gradually increase exposure to cold temperatures to avoid these risks.
Cold-immersion therapy is a popular form of treatment that can provide a range of benefits, including reduced inflammation, improved circulation, increased energy, and improved athletic performance. There are several different ways to undergo cold exposure, each with its own unique benefits and risks. It is important to choose a method that is safe and effective for your individual needs and to start slowly and gradually increasing exposure to cold temperatures to avoid potential risks.