“Can cryotherapy help me lose weight?”
This is, undoubtedly, one of the most common questions that I’ve been asked by first-time clients as of late.
The simple answer: yes, it totally can.
Before we go jumping to any ill-conceived conclusions and set ourselves up for disappointment in thinking that cryotherapy alone will melt away those last few pounds, let’s keep in mind that quick fixes and miracle fads are not sustainable, realistic plans for weight management. That said, cryotherapy can definitely help you shed unwanted weight and tone up, helping you to look and feel radiant and youthful.
The key is to make whole-body cryotherapy a part of your health and wellness routine. Much like conventional weight loss plans that marry nutrition to exercise in an effort to shape up and trim down, cryotherapy — when used as a complement to your pre-existing weight loss plan — can certainly give you the edge you need to overcome that “plateau” point, or to drop the last, stubborn five pounds that stand between you and your ultimate goal. But how?
By exposing your outer layer of skin to extreme cold, Cryotherapy triggers a “fight or flight” response in your brain. By doing so, your body undergoes a process to ensure its own survival (rushing blood to the core because your brain is convinced it must try to preserve vital life function). When your body “snaps back out of it” as you exit the machine and your skin begins to warm back up, it has expended — and will continue to expend — a great deal of energy as it returns blood, oxygen, and essential nutrients/hormones to the extremities and the like, which have several effects:
- All of that work that your body’s doing in an attempt to save your life takes energy! That means that in the eight to 24 hours following treatment, you’ll burn up to 800 extra calories. Done regularly, cryotherapy can assist your body in “resetting” and improving your metabolism in the long run, too!
- Another side effect of that “fight or flight” response is that the release of cortisol (the “stress hormone”) as your body tries to prevent discomfort. High stress levels, and levels of the cortisol hormone, can increase appetite and often leads to weight gain. In efforts to lose weight, high cortisol levels make dropping weight (especially around the midsection) much harder. Therefore, if your goal is to drop some pounds, the reduced release of cortisol can make a huge difference in your body’s metabolic process (reduced appetite and ability to drop weight easier).
- After treatment, as your body recirculates all of that now hyper-oxygenated and nutrient-dense blood, your body is also reaping the benefits of an increased production of endorphins, plus serotonin and norepinephrine, all “feel-good” hormones that help to sharpen your focus, boost your energy, and mood. You’ll find yourself more willing and able to get to gym, go on that long walk, and be more active (which is obviously a pivotal part of weight loss regimens and their success). If your session is done before your workout, especially, anti-inflammatory benefits may allow you to increase the intensity, duration, and frequency of exercise while also alleviating any pain that may have prevented your being active before (stiffness, tenderness, aches and pains, etc.)
So, can Cryotherapy help you to shed some pounds and look/feel lighter, younger, and more vibrant? Of course, but just like anything else, there is no true “magic pill” or fad that can melt away pounds faster than they were put on. However, thanks to the three aforementioned points, when used in tandem with nutritionally sound choices and a consistent exercise plan, cryotherapy could be just the extra “oomph” you’re looking for to finally shed those last few pounds!