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Cryobuilt.Edit.Rd2-23 (1)
02, 28, 2024

CRYOTHERAPY AND ATHLETIC RECOVERY

The landscape of sports has transformed significantly over time, with football (often referred to as soccer in the U.S.A) emerging as one of the most popular sports worldwide. Despite the diversity of disciplines within the sporting realm, most professional athletes, whether full-time or part-time, engage in rigorous workouts to maintain their fitness and readiness for competition. Renowned athletes such as LeBron James (basketball), Mohamed Salah (soccer/football), Patrick Kane (hockey), Christiano Ronaldo (soccer/football), Floyd Mayweather (boxing), Andy Murray (tennis), and Lionel Messi (soccer/football) exemplify this dedication.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is a common concern shared among these athletes due to their strenuous training regimens. DOMS refers to the pain and stiffness experienced in muscles several hours, or even days, after engaging in intense or unfamiliar exercise routines. It is a symptom of exercise-induced muscle damage, with the soreness typically peaking within the first 24 to 72 hours post-exercise.

When athletes experience DOMS, prompt recovery is crucial to maintain performance and earnings. Injuries or DOMS interruptions can diminish an athlete’s market value and career prospects. To ensure quick recovery, sports therapists explore various methods, including cold therapy, which dates back to ancient practices. Banfi and Valentini (2007) observed reduced muscle soreness perception in rugby players with cold-water immersion. Over time, cold therapy has evolved into the advanced Cryotherapy.

While exercise is not the sole contributor to pain, activities like running and intense muscle engagement during matches can exacerbate muscle damage among athletes.

Cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy, was developed to aid athletes in recovery and enhance performance, as well as to prevent relapses of various ailments and treat muscular and inflammatory conditions. This treatment involves entering a cold chamber with only the head exposed, where temperatures are significantly lowered using liquid nitrogen gas.

Research by Hausswirth et al. (2011) demonstrated the effectiveness of whole body cryotherapy in treating muscle injuries. In their study, nine well-trained athletes participated in a simulated trail running race and tested various recovery modalities over 48 hours. They found that significant muscle strength recovery occurred just one hour after whole body cryotherapy, compared to 24 hours with far infrared and ineffective results with passive modalities.

This study underscores that whole body cryotherapy is not only an advanced approach for achieving optimal muscle recovery but also the most effective non-medicinal treatment method. Complementing this research, Purnot et al. (2011) analyzed the efficacy of whole body cryotherapy versus passive recovery in healing exercise-induced muscle damage. Their findings, based on a simulated trail running race involving 11 endurance-trained males, revealed that whole body cryotherapy was superior in reducing inflammation.