The use of cryogenic temperatures was developed by Dr. Yamauch in Japan in 1978 for the treatment of pain and inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Cryotherapy protocols have however since been further developed in Europe and America and is now an established treatment modality for injuries and a number of inflammatory mediated diseases.
In Europe alone more than 400 whole body Cryotherapy facilities exist, mainly in hospitals and around 12000 health professionals such as physiotherapists provide local Cryotherapy for its profound results. In Poland, for instance, physiotherapists are required to ha access to local Cryotherapy equipment in order to practice within the National healthcare Fund.
Both Whole body and local Cryotherapy have been well researched offering empirical evidence for the effective adjunct treatment of many conditions.
Icing vs. Cryotherapy
Cryotherapy in this context is often confused with cold application such as icing. The treatments offer significantly different and even contrasting results. Icing cools down skin and tissue and has a penetrating effect due to high contact surface. Icing slows down cellular activities making it ideal for acute injuries but not for longer term use. In contrast, cryogenic gas is completely dry and at a temperature -75˚ to -160˚ colder than icing, stimulates the thermoregulators in the outer layer of skin with no penetrating effects. The body responds by rapidly speeding up cellular activity in attempt to generate compensatory heat. Cryotherapy is thus indicated for the sub-acute to chronic phase of injury recovery (post 72 hours) because of its stimulatory effect on the body’s healing mechanisms. Most of the benefits derived from cryotherapy are systemic in nature and are a result of the body’s thermoregulation responses to the cold exposure.
Some articles for further information:
Pain in the elderly:
Prospective study of hyperbaric CO2 cryotherapy (neurocryostimulation)
histamine levels in the blood of patients with rheumatoid arthritis
improves adjuvant-induced arthritis through down-regulation of IL-6 / IL-17
pathway but independently of TNFα
Local Cryotherapy for
Cellulite & Fat Deposit Reduction
Aids Muscle Soreness and Recovery