For the past decade, cryotherapy has been the focus of cold immersion therapy. Even before cryotherapy chambers, football programs around the country have known experientially the beneficial effects of ice baths for recovery and pain relief. But it was not adopted mainstream until recently. Why?
Cryotherapy is more exclusive and inaccessible. It is skin deep in cold. It makes us feel we are doing a lot without significant amounts of pain. It feels new age; it feels like an investment.
However, due to the acuteness of fight or flight response activation, ice bathing is now the primary focus of cold therapy. The profound benefits of our brain stem releasing a cocktail or feel good hormones and neurotransmitters that emerges from ice bathing is too massive to ignore.
In addition, ice bathing and cold water therapy are more accessible than cryotherapy chambers. Anyone at base level can start with cold showers.
The different between ice bathing vs. cryotherapy is the difference between walking into a freezer vs. jumping into a frozen lake. Although cryotherapy touts -270° F, it is still only skin deep compared to cold water immersion. Also, where in nature can you find -270° environment? Where in our evolutionary history were we ever exposed to nitrogen gas chambers at that temperature?
In low amounts and with proper tolerance building over time, hormetic stressors cause a host of cascading beneficial effects on the body that we are just beginning to appreciate and that peer reviewed science is validating. Although it has been studied for decades, hormetic stressors are now gaining limelight as THE KEY PILLARS in health and wellness routines.
Simply put: ice bathing, cold plunging, cold immersion therapy, is a growing mega trend due to profound health benefits caused by forced adaptations to environmental stress.
Through strategic pain, we gain. Through pain, beauty, growth, new life arises. We come back stronger.
So what is the mechanism of action that turns pain and stress into repair and growth?