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The Power of Cold Therapy

The Power of Cold Therapy

Programme B
Published by Programme B

It’s the year 2021. You are sweating out those extra calories in a swanky gym, wearing those uber-chic synthetic gym clothes that would make you look like a metahuman had you been transported to some hundred years back. You are all geared with a super cool smartwatch that not only looks good but also keeps track of your vitals while you are exercising. 

Despite all the technological buzzards, many of the health and fitness realm innovations are currently directed toward our ancient and primal biological roots. Be it the paleo diet that focuses on eating as an ancient man used to or the Crossfit training that mostly emphasizes the basic workout training without any ultra-modern machines. We are returning to the point where it all started. And it’s for the best. In the same manner, one of the most promising and popular techniques for health and wellness is to embrace the elements, especially cold, in the form of cold therapy. 

What is Cold Therapy?

There is nothing new about cold therapy; man has been using this medical treatment for ages. One of the most ancient medical texts, The Edwin Smith Papyrus (3500BC), has repeatedly mentioned cold therapy. Though till the late 1980s, this therapy remained buried in the dust of time as people were more inclined toward allopathic medicine. In the last few years, cold therapy has become quite popular to mitigate or prevent different neurological and muscular injuries. 

Benefits of Cold Therapy

There are endless benefits of cold therapy; some of these benefits are widely accepted and used in sports science. Cold therapy also aids in recovery from exercise-related injuries, such as reducing inflammation, pain, edema, blood flow, muscle spasms, and the metabolic demands after rigorous exercise. Some other benefits of cold therapy are as follows:

  • Helps in fat burning: Humans have deposits of active brown fat tissue or BAT. Unlike white fat that comprises the most body fat deposits and energy, brown fat is quite active in burning all the calories and using the energy. BAT turns calories derived from food into heat. Several types of research show that exposure to a cold environment increases BAT activity that further leads to enhanced calorie expenditure. Cold temperature also increases thermogenesis related to shivering and non-shivering, which increases the calorie expenditure. This exposure improves the level of a protein called adiponectin, which is responsible for fat burning.
  • Combats Inflammation: As mentioned above, the cold temperature improves the level of adiponectin in the body, which also fights inflammation. Exercising in a colder climate also leads to a reduction in inflammatory responses. 
  • Strengthen the Nervous System: During exposure to cold, the sympathetic nervous system’s increased fat burning process is regulated. For the nervous system, cold temperature is like a small workout that helps them adapt and strengthen.
  • Support and Speed Up the Recovery: There are some vital physiological impacts of cold therapy, including a reduction in inflammation, blood flow, metabolic demand, and muscle spasm. After an ankle surgery or sprain, the combined effect of ice and exercise can lead to a speedy recovery. Moreover, exposure to cold has a positive impact on muscular enzymes, which are directly linked with muscle damage. 

With that being said, these are a few reasons why cold therapy is becoming so popular, not just in sports medicine but also as post-surgical rehab therapy. Want to know more about cold therapy? Then, stay tuned with us. 

Photo by Eric Hammett from Pexels

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