If you’ve ever sprained an ankle, or sustained a similar injury, then you probably know the go-to remedy: Put some ice on it. The same is true for post-surgical recovery. When your body is sore or swollen, doctors often tell you to use cold compresses or ice packs.
The same principle lies at the heart of cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy. The general idea is to submerge your entire body in ice-cold water, ideally staying submerged for several minutes. This may not sound like your idea of a good time, but actually, cold therapy is an increasingly common way for athletes to promote recovery and to expedite healing. It’s also proven a useful remedy for individuals who live with chronic pain.
But how does cold therapy work, exactly? And what are some of the benefits you can expect? Here’s a quick primer.
Cold Therapy 101
Cold therapy is all about subjecting your body to extremely low temperatures for a few minutes, and is recommended following injury, surgery, or strenuous activity.
So how does cold therapy work, exactly? The ice-cold temperature restricts blood flow to the target area for a short time. This reduces inflammation, swelling, and nerve activity. As a result, cold therapy can help to relieve pain, specifically around muscles, tendons, and joints.
While you may seek localized cryotherapy to treat a particular injury (e.g., an ice pack for that sprained ankle), plunging into an ice bath for a few minutes can promote full-body recovery, helping you attain all-around muscle recovery after a strenuous session of exercise.
Four Benefits to Cold Therapy
There are a number of specific reasons why people turn to cryotherapy. These include:
- Recovery from surgery. Following surgery, it’s pretty common to experience several days of swelling and physical discomfort. Many doctors recommend cold therapy as a way to alleviate these symptoms, and to ensure a smoother recovery. Cold therapy can help surgical patients regain normal functionality faster than they would otherwise.
- Soothe injured muscles, joints, and tendons. After a minor injury, such as a sprain or a bruise, you may experience pain as a result of swelling and inflammation. Cryotherapy not only helps to speed up healing times but can also mitigate any discomfort you feel during the healing process.
- Recharge your muscles. Another reason to try cold therapy is to recharge your muscles after a really vigorous session at the gym. Cold therapy can help muscles to repair themselves, allowing you to get ready for your next game or intense training session more quickly.
- Reduce overheating. If you’re running too hot, an ice bath may be just the thing. By submerging your whole body for as long as possible, you can bring your temperature back down to a normal, healthy level.
Getting Started with Cold Therapy
If you’re ready to take the plunge (pardon the pun), it’s important to keep a few basic safety tips in mind.
- First and foremost, you should always talk to a doctor to make sure cold therapy is right for you. Or, if you’re an athlete, talk to your trainer.
- For your first plunge or two, have an observer with you. Again, if you’re an athlete, this can be your trainer.
- Don’t overdo it with your first plunge or ice bath. If you can’t stay submerged for seven or eight minutes, see if you can make it for one or two.
- Remember to start warming up as soon as you get out of the ice bath. Immediately change out of your wet clothes, and maybe grab a hot beverage.
- Avoid taking a hot shower right after an ice bath. The sudden shift in temperature may actually cause you to pass out.
The bottom line? There are many potential benefits to trying cryotherapy… assuming you do it safely.
Connect with Asé Pure Naturals
At Asé Pure Naturals, we’re big believers in holistic health remedies… including cold therapy, but particularly CBD.
We’re pleased to offer a full inventory of natural, holistic, vegan, cruelty-free, non-GMO CBD products, all made in the USA. Take some time to explore our inventory , and reach out to Asé Pure Naturals with any questions about our variety of CBD oils.