Cryotherapy: The Cold, Hard Truth

Cryo,,, crowd ink, crowdink

There are certain subjects in the fitness industry no one ever seems to agree upon. How much protein do you really need? What workout program is best for muscle growth? Is there really a need for cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy – the immersion of the body in a chamber, as cold as -1ºC, for up to a 3 minute period – has, for years, been touted as the king of all muscle recovery practices. LeBron James uses it, Cristiano Ronaldo has a system at home and Floyd Mayweather can’t stop talking about it. But is it really a miracle treatment?

Before 2017, there was very little scientific evidence to support cryotherapy’s positive effects. However, new research and findings indicate that cryotherapy has little to no effect on either short or long-term performance.

A study by Abaïdia et al. found cold water immersions at 10ºC to be more effective than cryotherapy, in eliciting muscle recovery and decreasing post-workout soreness.

An additional study by Peake et al. found that the effects of these immersions are similar to active recovery (5 minutes on a spin bike, stretching etc.), where both forms equally minimize inflammation and stress responses in the body.

When all is said (through chattering teeth) and done, it would appear that taking care of your muscles with a good cool-down procedure, post-workout nutrition and adequate rest, is all anyone needs to speed up the workout recovery process.

Looks like this cold case is officially closed.