Cryo and Athletes

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Spring sports are in season, training is starting for summer sports and who isn’t running Broad Street? Athletes from high school to the pros are using Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) to improve performance, decrease recovery time, accelerate muscle repair, speed up injury healing and increase and improve recovery from surgery. According to Hubbard et al, WBC has demonstrated as “an effective and safe procedure for athletes’ recovery.” This is helping athletes to stay on the field of play and improve performance.

Unlike an ice bath, WBC is a fast treatment lasting between 2-3 min and athletes can return to the field of play or practice immediately. WBC has been an effective method of treatment since the late 70s. There are many wide ranging studies that demonstrate WBCs effectiveness and safety. (See here).

Whole Body Cryotherapy triggers the body’s natural systemic circulatory, thermogenic and neurological responses to aid in recovery. There are many biochemical processes that are triggered that remove toxins including lactic acid as well as help to remove negative inflammatory blood markers.The blood pumping effect sends a rush of oxygen and nutrient rich blood to your vital organs and extremities that aids in a faster recovery. WBC also triggers a natural production boost of norepinephrine which reduces inflammation, decreases pain and increases metabolism.1

Studies have demonstrated a decrease in pro inflammatory blood markers after 5 days of WBC. This is the reason why I typically suggest athletes who are trying to recover from an injury do 5 out of 7 days of treatment with our freeze week. Athletes looking to improve recovery times and athletic performance should discuss the best protocol with  Dr. Gray.

Questions? Call or email Dr. Gray today at 610-341-9300.


Rhonda Perciavalle Patrick, Ph.D. “Cold Shocking the Body.Exploring Cryotherapy, Cold­Water Immersion, and Cold Stress.”
EwaZiemann, Robert Antoni Olek, SylwesterKujach, Tomasz Grzywacz, JędrzejAntosiewicz, Tomasz Garsztka, and RadosławLaskowski (2012) Five-Day Whole-Body Cryostimulation, Blood Inflammatory Markers, and Performance in High-Ranking Professional Tennis Players. Journal of Athletic Training: Nov/Dec 2012, Vol. 47, No. 6, pp. 664-672.

Marino F, Sockler JM, Fry JM. Thermoregulatory, metabolic and sympathoadrenal responses to repeated brief exposure to cold. Scandinavian journal of clinical and laboratory investigation. 1998;58(7):537-545.
Westerlund T, Oksa J, Smolander J, et al. Neuromuscular adaptation after repeated exposure to whole-body cryotherapy (-110 °C). Journal of Thermal Biology. 2009;34(5):226-231.

Pournot H, Bieuzen F, Louis J, et al. Time-Course of Changes in Inflammatory Response after Whole-Body Cryotherapy Multi Exposures following Severe Exercise. Lucia A, ed. PLoS ONE. 2011;6(7):8.
22. Banfi G, Lombardi G, Colombini A, et al. Whole-body cryotherapy in athletes. Sports Medicine. 2010;40(6):509-517.

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