The tale of getting into a freezing cold ice bath after a tough workout is as old as time. Trying to ease the pain by barely dipping in your toe until you work up the courage to slowly sink down into the painful water is sure to bring back some intense memories. Most athletes will be sure to have a funny story that comes along with ice bath – or anyone who has ever attempted to work out their soreness would be able to give you the rundown. This rundown might also be followed by talks of just feeling stiff and practically immobile for the rest of the hour.

The reasons for taking ice baths are in an attempt to force the nervous system in your body to go into protective mode against the cold temperatures. Ideally, the nervous shock will lead to the thickening of blood viscosity and can eventually release endorphins to help the muscles. The not ideal situation – but also common – is during an ice bath when the overexposure causes muscle tissue damage or even worst case could potentially lead to hypothermia. Throughout the prolonged exposure period the body will just try to maintain constant temperature; danger and discomfort are inevitable after so long.

Unlike an ice bath, cryotherapy is a shorter version and is actually a dry form. The two methods are often compared but a cryotherapy session only lasts on average 3 minutes and uses non-toxic nitrogen gas to achieve the freezing temperatures. The process is painless, less severe, and there are more benefits to be reaped. Since it is a more immediate reaction, recovery procedures for the body will be triggered and directed right towards the blood flow. Blood circulation begins to improve, natural anti-inflammatories start working, and serotonin and endorphins are produced.

Overall choosing a cryotherapy session instead of sharing the water with other sweaty individuals is the more effective option. The recovery process will be accelerated after cryotherapy, leaving you to enjoy the time after feeling good and looking good.

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