Athletes over 40 are no strangers to the aches and pains associated with training hard. But just because you don’t recover the way you used to doesn’t mean you have to alter your training plan or resort to the regular use of anti-inflammatory medication. Whole body cryotherapy is quickly becoming the holy grail of muscle recovery for middle-aged athletes. Safe, effective and completely drug-free, this state-of-the-art therapy is designed to have you back at the gym or pounding the pavement with a minimal time commitment.
What Makes You Sore
The muscle soreness 24-48 hours after a workout, known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the result of micro tears in muscle fibers. Often felt after weight training, hill repeats, mountain biking, or endurance training, these microscopic tears stimulate a healing response from the body that in turn makes the muscle stronger. The pain and discomfort often accompanying DOMS is a result of inflammation that happens while the muscle heals.
The Problem with Ice Baths
For as long as athletes have been pushing their bodies to their limits, they have used ice to treat inflammation and soreness after particularly grueling training sessions. It is common to hear of people spending 15 minutes in an ice bath in order to mitigate DOMS before it can begin. Unfortunately, ice baths rarely get below 50 degrees Fahrenheit and a person can only tolerate them so long before getting out. As a result, the cold has a limited effect on the muscles below the skin because of the limited exposure.
Cryotherapy is the Solution
Whole body cryotherapy uses a specialized cryo chamber that super cools the air around the body to -166 to -220 degrees F. Wearing light undergarments or a swimsuit, athletes spend just three minutes standing in the chamber. In such a short amount of time, athletes have been shown to have reduced inflammatory chemicals and increased anti-inflammatory markers in their bloodstream. Other studies have shown that cryotherapy decreases the levels of creatine kinase, a chemical leaked into the blood stream from damaged muscles. These findings together show that cryotherapy is effective not only at reducing inflammation in the body caused by exercise, it enhances the body’s anti-inflammatory and healing response. Cryotherapy is more effective and more comfortable than an ice bath and as an added bonus stimulates an endorphin response that leaves you feeling better, sleeping better and recovering better. Plus, a single session burns between 500 and 800 calories for that added boost on recovery days.
Where to Find Cryotherapy
Cryotherapy chambers are becoming more common in the Houston area, but few offices offer a comprehensive approach to muscle recovery. Sandstone Chiropractic offers a state-of-the-art approach to enhancing athletic performance. Using the latest technology in spinal decompression, neurofeedback, laser therapy, and, in the Montgomery location, whole body cryotherapy, patients are often surprised at how our therapies can help them not only recover faster, but also perform at the next level. For more information on how Sandstone Chiropractic can help you, call Sandstone or schedule your comprehensive exam with x-rays online.