What is Cryotherapy Treatment?
Cryotherapy is a broad term covering a number of different specific techniques, such as cold gel packs, ice packs, ice massage, vapo-coolant spray, ice immersion and cold whirlpool spa. It is generally defined as the therapeutic application of any substance to the body which results in the withdrawal of heat from the body, thereby lowering tissue temperature.
The effect of a cryotherapy treatment is the reduction of swelling to an affected area.
First response is the constriction of arterioles and venules (with in 15min or less).
The blood flow to the area decreases, the body attempts to conserve heat, then aching, tingling and finally numbness follow.
Vasodilation can be cold-induced after initial period of vasoconstriction when cold is maintained for longer than approximately 15min or when temperature is reduced below 10C.
Patient should experience a decrease in local metabolic rate, decrease conductivity of pain receptors and decreased tissue extensibility.
What is a Cryotherapy Spa?
This is a form of controlled ice therapy, available at our Phibsboro clinic Dublin 7, used by athletes to help prevent or increase recovery from injuries. It involves immersion in cold water (set between 1-14 degrees) up to the level of the injury (legs, waist or shoulders) for up to 10mins. The bath contains salts that are essential for optimised muscle function, as well as jets to help penetrate the muscles and prevent warming of the water through body heat.
The BodyRight Cryotherapy Spa includes:
- Thermostat controlled temperature
- Temperature range from 4C - 8C
- Specifically designed area for treating thigh, calf and ankle injuries
- Vigorous massage effect
- High essential salts concentration
- Effective infection control
Independent Clinical trials, using a Cryotherapy Spa, have been conducted at the Sports & Health Research Institute at the University of Ulster, to establish the optimum protocols for the use of cryotherapy in the treatment of sports injuries such as cruciate ligament, hamstrings, achilles tendon and soft tissue injuries etc and to aid in the promotion of speedy recovery after training or competition.
Dr Bleakley of the Rehabilitation Research Centre at the University of Ulster concludes that a Cryotherpay Ice Spa is more effective and user friendly than common low temperature modalities such as ice baths and ice wraps or gels.
Other Types of Cryotherapy Treatments available at BodyRight Physiotherapy...
- Involved rubbing a container of ice over body part to be treated
- It is mostly used on small areas of inflamed tissue or acute muscle guarding
- The direction of application is parallel to muscle fibers and continued for 3-10min until anesthesia is reached
Cold Gel Packs
- Stored in a fridge at a temperature of 0-5C
- They do not lower skin temperature as much as ice; therefore, patients may not reach a point of anesthesia
- Improper use may cause frostbite
Wrapped in dry or moist toweling Applied for 10-15min for more superficial areas and 15-20min for areas of deeper tissue
Vapo-Coolant Sprays (e.g., Fluoromethane, Ethyl Chloride)
- A vaporized liquid nitrogen, sprayed on skin, producing a significant cooling through evaporation
- Container should be held about 2 feet from body part and sprayed in one direction only at a rate of 4 inches/second, using 1-2 sweeps while maintaining passive stretch
- Effective in reducing painful muscle guarding and desensitizing trigger point areas