Whole body cryotherapy (cryo for short) was developed in 1978 to help with rheumatoid arthritis.

Over the years, it has been found to help with many other issues from sports recovery to pain reduction.

Inflammation reduction is the end goal when stepping into a cryo-chamber for two to three minutes.

The body is surrounded by hyper-cooled air, where temperatures that range from minus 180 degrees Fahrenheit to minus 280 degrees Fahrenheit take the top millimeter of skin to temperatures in the low 30’s in under a minute.

By doing this, the body goes into survival mode, with the goal being that it will work as efficiently as it can to keep you alive.

What begins to happen inside the body while in the chamber is that the blood vessels in the extremities begin to constrict (vasoconstriction), forcing blood back to the core where it will work towards keeping the core warm and protected.

The blood temperature is raised and filtered better, due to being on a much smaller circulatory path.

This allows for better removal of toxins and waste and the introduction of nutrients and hormones into the system. Endorphins are released along with norepinephrine.

Upon exiting the chamber, the body begins to warm and blood vessels begin to expand (vasodilation) up to four times normal in order to get the flow back to the extremities as fast as possible.

This process will improve circulation to all areas of the body and possibly even to those areas having poor circulation prior to having a cryo session.

Many people talk about a relaxed and calming sensation after treatments. This is due to the hormones released by the body and will continue for up to eight hours.

To see long-term benefits, daily or every-other-day sessions might need to be performed for a total of 10 to 20 sessions, but that will depend on why you are doing cryotherapy.

A regular maintenance schedule is also beneficial in keeping up with positive results.

Whole body cryotherapy, although designed to assist with rheumatoid arthritis, has been shown to help with everything from fibromyalgia to tinnitus diagnosis.

Many athletes use it to recover more efficiently so they can stay in top shape. Many sports teams have them in the locker rooms for use on a regular basis.

From golfer’s elbow to sprained ankles to tight muscles and arthritic joints, cryotherapy is the latest tool for a fast, efficient, non-invasive way to help you feel better and live better.

Albert Knight is the owner of Carolina Chillin’ in Bluffton.