The Importance of Cryotherapy for Martial Artists
CRYOTHERAPY is the local or general use of low temperatures in medical therapy or the removal of heat from a body part. It has been around since the 1880-1890s.
The goal is to decrease cellular metabolism, increase cellular survival, decrease inflammation, decrease pain and spasm, promote vasoconstriction, and when using extreme temperatures, to destroy cells by crystallizing the cytosol. The most prominent use of the term refers to the surgical treatment, specifically known as cryosurgery. Other therapies that use the term are cryogenic chamber therapy and ice pack therapy.
In other words, when the average Joe/Jane and competitive athlete uses intense interval training, they are constantly training with extreme output and are breaking down muscle tissues to the max. Athletes use ice baths to mimic the CRYOTHERAPY process and allow them to recover quicker, so they can continue the next day with their training regimen.
When you think about an ice bath you probably would prefer to do anything except that right? You definitely aren’t alone in that train of thought , but there are many reasons explaining why so many fighters and trainers alike recommend ice bathing to their clientele, and that’s because it does really work.
“Cryotherapy” is basically is that art of constricting your arteries. This will then stop the tissues from swelling and becoming sore and tender in the muscles. When you get out of the ice bath, your body gets warm immediately and in doing so it causes the blood supply to return much quicker, thus disposing any debris that can be surrounded inside the muscles as a result of coaching.
There are many techniques of creating an ice bath, some use a regular bath in their home and just fill it up with cold water and ice cubes and others like to use ice packs from the fridge. Many sportsmen wear compression gear or other MMA clothes or fight gear and employ a barrel and soak in the ice outside then dump it out when they’re finished. Now, you have to prepare yourself before getting in the ice bath as it will not be a very pleasing experience initially.
It is ice, so naturally your body will need to reject that cold feeling and make a response to it instantly. Ease yourself in the bath slowly the first time and after you feel the benefits of your ice showering practices next day, you may stick to it! Many fighters say they use hot coffee just before getting in it to decrease the shocking feeling it gives off.
Stay in the bath between fifteen and 20 minutes and no longer to avoid any major injuries like hypothermia. Wrap yourself in something warm afterward and enjoy a hot cup of soup or oatmeal, your body will give you thanks for it!
If you do not have an ice bath available to you there are several other ways to get similar benefits. For smaller areas, freeze some water in a dixie-cup, then peel some of the cup off so you have about half an inch of ice showing. Directly massage the injured area with the ice until you cant hold the cup and the area is numb, 4 times per day.
For bigger areas you can get yourself a cold therapy unit.