The use of extreme cold as a form of treatment originated in Japan, where it has been used since the 1970s in the treatment of various pain conditions and rheumatic diseases and multiple sclerosis. Studies have shown that cryotherapy, increases the body’s ability to produce antibodies to pain relief, speeds recovery, reduces inflammation and skin diseases, and also has a positive effect on sleep quality, relaxation, and general physical and mental well-being. The effects of cold treatment could be compared to freestyle swimming, but the effects extend deeper into the tissues and last much longer.
Nervous and hormonal effects of extreme cold
Under the influence of extreme cold, subcutaneous cold receptors are activated and transmit information about cold exposure to the brain’s thermoregulatory center. It activates our body’s sympathetic nervous system, which enhances as a coping measure e.g. production of testosterone, endorphins, cortisol and noradrenaline. They cause, among other things, narrowing of the superficial blood vessels, relief of pain and an increase in the feeling of pleasure.
Possibilities for use in extreme cold
The effects of extreme cold are immediate and are felt as a reduction in pain, relaxation of body and mind, an increase in general well-being and alertness and energy, and an improvement in sleep quality. Cold treatment is, among others, ideal for the following ailments and goals:
- Treatment of nerve pain, muscle pain and swelling
- Treatment of rheumatism, fibromyalgia and inflammation
- Treatment of skin diseases such as atopic skin and psoriasis
- Reducing asthma symptoms
- Improving the flow of tissue and lymph fluids
- Promoting muscle relaxation and recovery
- Accelerating the process of tissue regeneration and healing
- Relieving stress symptoms and improving sleep quality
Super cold as a recovery enhancer
Top athletes and goal-oriented fitness enthusiasts often feel that they receive help from a top cold treatment for faster recovery and relief from workout-induced muscle pain. Many athletes feel that cryotherapy also reduces muscle stagnation and feel their muscles feel more relaxed and lighter after a top cold treatment.
Extreme cold in the treatment of acute injuries
In acute injuries and surgeries, among others, extreme cold reduces swelling and speeds up the healing process as well as recovery to work and sports. It also reduces pain in the injury or surgery area through its effect of triggering muscle tension as well as reducing swelling.
Cold in the treatment of chronic ailments
In the treatment of chronic ailments such as plantar fasciitis and pain in the shoulder, knee and lower back, extreme cold not only relieves pain, soothes irritability and inflammation, but also improves the elongation of muscles and connective tissue structures. It provides an opportunity for more painless (active and passive) rehabilitation and treatment of the disability area.
Contraindications to cold treatment
Cold treatment should not be used in people with heart disease or people with a pacemaker or prosthetic valve. It is also not recommended for pregnant women. For people with significant hypertension or cold allergies, it is advisable to discuss the use of cold treatment with your doctor.