The History of Cryotherapy
Whole body cryotherapy was developed by Dr. Yamaguchi in 1978. He treated patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis by exposing them to short periods of below freezing temperatures. As a result, these procedures had favorable results on pain management. Dr. Yamaguchi found he could significantly reduce the soreness and pain felt by his patients during manipulation of their joints after cryotherapy treatment. He concluded that the reason for these findings was because of the rapid decrease in the temperature of the outer layer of the skin that led to an immediate release of endorphins, which then lessened their discomfort.
As a result of thorough and sustained research, Dr. Yamaguchi and his associates came to the conclusion that cryotherapy was not just beneficial for short-term joint pain alleviation, but it affects the body long-term on three different levels:
- The Biochemical Level – the circulatory system
- The Energy Level – the energy meridians
- The Information – the nervous system
LEVEL 1 – The Biochemical Level
When inside the cryo-chamber, where ambient temperature is usually around -250°F, the human body is rapidly exposed to extremely low temperatures and the skin surface temperature is quickly cooled to approximately 32°F for a short period of time (2.5 to 3 minutes). When the skin temperature reaches this freezing temperature, cold sensors in the skin send a very strong signal to the brain that the person’s life may be in danger. As a result, an innate and reflexive response by the brain gives orders to all peripheral parts of the body to constrict blood vessels, muscles, and tissue in order to send the blood to the core of the body to protect the vital organs. The blood then circulates in this “internal cycle” in the core of the body, being enriched with oxygen, enzymes and nutrients. Upon completing the treatment, when clients step out of the cryosauna, the enriched blood actively circulates throughout the body. Enriched blood creates favorable conditions for internal organ regeneration, expelling of toxins from subcutaneous layers, the cellular renewal process and elimination and replacement of damaged cells.
LEVEL 2 – The Energy Level
The energy level of the human body is made up of a network of energy meridians. Meridians are any of the pathways along which the body’s vital energy flows according to the theory of acupuncture. This distribution network of meridians called the Meridian System looks like a giant web, linking different areas of our body together. Its pathways make up a comprehensive yet complex body map that supplies vital energy to every part of the body. Philosophically, the Meridian System explains how we live and why we become sick. When the energy flow in any of the meridians is blocked, some organs do not receive enough energy to function properly.
Whole body cryotherapy helps increase energy flow through these meridians. The reason for this is based in physics, in which if we take a sufficiently long wire, and warm one end of it while cooling the other, the temperature difference leads to an electric current in the wire. The same thing happens to the human energetic system during whole body cryotherapy. When the temperature of the skin surface drops to 32°F, while the body core temperature is 98.6°F, the 68.6°F difference is sufficient to cause a strong flow of energy in the meridians, thereby restoring energy flow where disruptions may have been present. In this case, whole body cryotherapy is used as a preventive and corrective method, as it stimulates the energy flow in the human body. This allows for efficient and proper functioning of your organs in order to stay healthy. Restoration of the energy flow helps to restore the body physically, and can prevent its premature aging.
To summarize so far, cryotherapy helps enrich the blood and supply it to all internal organs and peripheral parts of the body while making sure that the organs have all the necessary energy to make full use of these materials.
Level 3 – The Informational Level
The informational level consists of the intricate network of the body’s nervous system, through which electric signals are sent from the brain to all parts of the body and vice versa. In this level, the brain sends signals to all parts of the body through the nervous system in order to determine the extent to which any part of your body may be compromised. When undergoing a whole body cryotherapy procedure, the brain examines all body parts and analyzes the returned signals. A complete picture of the body’s state of health is then created and the brain activates the appropriate resources to begin a whole body regeneration process to counteract the very cold environment experienced by the body.