Cryotherapy for athletes has multiple different variations, but when most people hear the term they envision a football player grimacing while lowering himself into a bath of ice water, or a basketball player walking into a cryogenic chamber ensconced in frigid vapor. Fortunately for athletes, a more comfortable, and arguably more effective, alternative exists: localized cryotherapy.
Localized cryotherapy for athletes involves treating specific areas of the body to reduce inflammation and slow down cellular metabolism so damaged tissues have a better opportunity to heal. Ice packs are the traditional method for applying localized cryotherapy, but technology has evolved long beyond the bag of frozen peas. Systems that combine constant-temperature therapeutic cold with pneumatic compression are the new gold standard in localized cryotherapy.
Professional, college, and even high school athletic programs are rapidly adopting active compression and cold systems because they provide a safer, more effective, and more affordable alternative to whole-body cryotherapy.
Active Compression and Localized Cryotherapy for Athletes
Although whole-body cryotherapy for athletes is an effective method, there are a number of reasons localized cryotherapy with active compression is a better option:
- Efficacy - When an athlete is recovering from an injury, the damaged muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other tissues surrounding the joint benefit from deep, targeted therapeutic cold. This is not possible with whole-body cryotherapy because an athlete can only stay in the tub or chamber for a limited period of time. Using a body-conforming wrap that encloses the entire area and pumps continuously cooled water through the system enables deeper, longer lasting penetration for a faster recovery.
- Comfort - Athletes do a lot for the love of the game, but very few of them will tell you that they enjoy submerging their entire body into a vat of ice water. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it is also inconvenient to emerge dripping wet. Localized cryotherapy for athletes allows them to stay dry and warm while only the affected area is treated. They can also do other activities while receiving treatment, making it a less disruptive option.
- Cost - Athletic programs have real budgets, and even when they are generous, it is still important to make smart choices about the equipment you purchase. Whole-body cryotherapy solutions are expensive to purchase and maintain. You can also only treat a limited number of athletes at one time in a single tub or chamber, and it’s usually impractical to purchase more than one because of space considerations. Localized cryotherapy systems allow you to treat two athletes at a time, and because they are portable and take up very little space, you can potentially treat the whole team at the same time with multiple units.
There is no dispute that whole-body cryotherapy has its benefits, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option for your athletic program. If you are looking for a cost-effective, safe solution that provides successful results, consider the Game Ready cold compression therapy system.
If you want to learn more about localized cryotherapy for athletes, talk to a Game Ready representative today. We work with hundreds of athletic programs of all varieties, so if you have questions, chances are we have the right answers.