CryoCentral in Hoboken, N.J. What separates world class athletes from their challengers isn’t just how they train, but also how they recover. That’s why top athletes like Steph Curry and Cristiano Ronaldo, among others, in recent years have been using a new tool for full body recovery called cryotherapy.
Cryotherapy is the use of extremely cold temperatures for overall recovery, most notably in large gaseous chambers. The chamber fills up with nitrogen gas and encapsulates your body with temperatures hitting as low as -230° F.
A cryotherapy session is like a much more intense ice bath (the latter are typically used by top athletes and are around 40° F ) but they’re dry and only last about three minutes, the length of the Beach Boys’ “Sloop John B.”
“An ice bath may help you recover in terms of flushing something out of your legs, but the way this works, tiredness and soreness everywhere in your body is much less,” Alberto Salazar said in 2012 . Salazar has coached several world-class runners, including Mo Farah, who won a Gold medal at the 2012 Olympics.
However, while some of the best athletes in the world use the therapy, it has not been approved by the FDA . “The FDA has not cleared or approved any of these devices for medical treatment of any specific medical conditions.” It also urges people to talk with their doctor before trying the therapy. Robert H. Shmerling, an associate professor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, adds that people with certain conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart or lung disease, should probably avoid cryotherapy.
In fact, two Missouri State basketball players were injured in 2018 during a cryotherapy session when they developed blisters on their feet. Their coach described it at the time as “rather serious but nothing long-term.”
But clearly some professional athletes believe it helps them. Players in MLB , the NBA and the NFL trust the therapy to help them recover. And soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly purchased a chamber to keep in his house.
Even some forward-thinking sports teams have implemented cryotherapy chambers into their facilities, including some in Europe’s Premier League .
The head athletic trainer for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, Aaron Nelson, said to NBA.com about cryotherapy, “If a person has an injury, whether it’s a contusion or a strain, the blood running to the core and then coming back to the limbs with oxygenated blood redevelops injured cells and helps you heal faster.”
While the technology has been around for decades, it started to gain momentum when athletes and celebrities took to social media to show off their new recovery routines. Filling you in on everything coming up on Wednesday’s all new episodes of #Wahlburgers. 9pm/8c on A&E.
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