Using cold therapy to beat pain

Cryotherapy or cold water therapy is the latest health trend to hit the town. SAPNA SARFARE reveals more about this trend and whether it is more than just a fad

Therapies come and go, but few strike your mind on a longer run. Cyrotherapy has caught everyone’s fancy. It is basically cold therapy to help recovery, energies and relax. One does get intrigued to understand it and its suitability. Dr Ashish Bhanot, Chief Bariatric Surgeon at Apollo Spectra Hospitals, calls it a therapy which is into freezing diseased cells at low temperatures for pain relief or destroys these cells. “Here nitrogen or argon gas is used for creating intense cold. Negligible pain during the process is one of the reasons for everyone to consider it. It is easy and only takes around 15 minutes to complete without any scars.”

Beauty or pain?

Anita Vankar, Spa Manager – Caressaa Day Spa at Peninsula Grand Hotel, reveals
Cryotherapy came into existence in Japan in the 1970s and later spread to the US and other countries. “It is essentially the process of using cold temperatures for their health benefits and has been used in different ways since the 1700s to decrease pain and muscle spasms, improve recovery, slow cell aging and improve health.”

While Dr Aarushi Passi, Consultant Aesthetic Dermatology, Fortis La Femme, calls it beauty therapy to look young. “Cryotherapy stimulates collagen production in the skin’s deeper layers for a smoother and younger look. It also stimulates the body by increasing blood circulation and boosting its immune system. This results in weight loss benefits and healing tissue inflammation.”

Methods and gains

Of course, there are procedure and benefits. Dr. Bhanot reveals, “A probe is inserted in the tissue next to the affected nerve which then freezes it and inactivates the nerve to relieve you from painful nerve irritation. The main benefits are it completely removes swelling or swollen blood vessels. It doesn’t require local anesthesia and is only a day care procedure. Due to this, it is quite beneficial in managing pain. It is also cosmetically beneficial as no scars or cut marks are involved.”

Anita reveals benefits for those undergoing heart surgeries as it helps slow down body processes, thereby allowing the stoppage of heart without any brain damage. “Cryotherapy can also be useful while treating several skin disorders, apart from improving skin tone and complexion. It is also known to treat injuries like sprained ankle, painful knee joints, etc. Muscle soreness is treated by it, especially with Ice Pack Cyrotherapy. Cold Therapy works, so maybe super cold therapy works too, but I haven’t seen the science to prove it.”

 Dr Passi adds that the therapy helps the body detoxify itself better. “It also speeds our metabolism for faster calorie loss. Our body also creates new collagen, which increases skin’s elasticity. The reason ‘CryoGlow’ facials have become popular with working men and women these days is because results are prompt and therapy time short. Also, this is the only facial we can do over the makeup. The cold can also reduce chances of developing diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases. The process also helps some women to fight cellulite.”

But is it safe?

Quite a few would call Cryotherapy as just a fad and not for longer run. Dr Passi feels this trend used by athletes has now spread everywhere with many spa adding cyrochambers and facials and weight loss treatments to its menus. “Many hospitals and wellness centres are also giving results in treating cervical or back aches, sprains, sports injuries, and fractures and so on.”

Dr Bhanot thinks it is a therapy used for longer run. “But with benefits and cost effectiveness, it is still in place even with the availability of new technologies like RF and LASER. But this procedure is very safe and can be recommended to most of them based on complete body evaluation.”

Before you do it

A therapy like this needs to be handled with care or it might harm you health-wise. Anita suggests, “In case the increase in blood pressure, the treatment must be immediately stopped. While using Ice Pack Cryotherapy treatment, use a thicker layer of towel or tissues between the skin and ice to avoid excessive cold. If using for the first time, test for a few minutes to see how your skin responds. Stop if you see any blisters, red marks or other reaction of the skin to the ice pack. Also, know about the side effects and preventive measures in detail before going for this therapy.”

“A doctor needs to take care of the procedure as it may cause deep injury, skin irritation or if the dosage becomes high. It may also require multiple sittings,” reveals Dr Bhanot.

Dr Passi advises that the treatment for the specific area should not be more than 15-20 minutes as direct exposure to the skin on a long run can result in frost bites/ cold burns.

While some might now take keen interest in the therapy, Dr. Bhanot lastly advises, “It is a good therapy if used with caution and may provide unbelievable outcomes if used preciously. Even with the availability of better and advanced technologies, Cryotherapy is still the first choice for patients.”

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