Sunday, November 19, 2017

Reviewing The Latest Trends in Recovery: Cryotherapy and Normatecs

This past weekend I experienced two of the latest trends in sports medicine:  Whole-Body Cryotherapy and Normatecs!



Always up for new things, a group of friends headed over to the Gulf Coast Cryo Clinic for a morning of therapy and fun!  We signed up for an introduction package of Cryotheraphy and Normatecs. 

Idea behind the Cryotherapy:

Now if you have ever had to see a Doctor for a Sports Injury, you know that cold therapy – usually ice or ice baths – has been part of the regime.  So Whole-Body Cryotherapy just takes that to the next level, and instead of targeting one area of the body, you engage the whole body.

Cryotherapy is a treatment of brief exposure to sub-zero temperatures.  The Cryo Technician explained it this way:  Exposure to extreme cold stimulates the skin sensors and activates a central nervous system response causing a release of endorphins.  We know that endorphins are the body’s natural pain inhibitors which we need in recovery.   Also, as your body returns to normal temperatures, you have an increase in circulation which decreases inflammation, toxins and stimulates cellular regeneration.   This process of your body warming up is also supposed to burn several hundred calories in the process.

What’s Involved:

First up we had to sign a waiver to release the clinic of any liability.   Things of concern are hypertension and if you had a history of Raynaud’s Syndrome (a disease that where parts of your body such as fingers and toes become numb in response to cold or stress).

Next, the technician needs to verity that your blood pressure is not elevated.

Then, you are off to remove all jewelry and clothes - including bras if they have an underwire.  You are given socks, slippers and gloves to wear while during the treatment.

The Cryochamber is vertical and you simply step in.  The temperature is lowered slowly and you need to stay in a minimum of 2 minutes to a maximum of 3 minutes.  The Technician is with you the whole time, so you are never alone.

The benefits are cumulative and you are encouraged to do it more than once a week – but no more than 2 times in one day.


My Experience:

Admittedly, I was nervous.  I am a little claustrophobic and did not know what to expect:  I mean compression socks can make me feel claustrophobic – so I was relieved to know that my head was above the chamber the entire time and that my friends were in the room with me.

You are encouraged to move around and not lock your knees.  It is promoted as being pain free, but I wouldn’t say it was painless.  Cold can be pin pricking, and that is how it began to feel.    Everyone reacts to cold differently; keep your past cold experiences in mind.  I only did 2 minutes, but I will definitely do 3 next time.  It's not a sudden drop in temperature, you are gradually lowered to -240 degrees; and I honestly had no idea what -240 would feel like!   Some of my friends felt the cold more than others with teeth chattering and knees feeling numb.  My arms and legs were red for several minutes afterward the treatment much like they would be after exposure to cold North Wind.  But overall, the experience was good.  We all had a burst of energy, alertness and overall well-being.  For me, the feeling didn’t last until the end of the day; But it left me eager to do more!

**The clinic seemed to have only 5 sets of robes/gloves/socks/slippers – I was uneasy about reusing these as it did not appear they were washed or sanitized between clients.

Normatecs

Normatecs is a brand of air compression boots that aid in recovery.  The idea behind compression is to stimulate the velocity of blood flow to decrease muscle soreness and aid in healing and recovery of tissues.   Air compression, like Normatecs, is part of an elite runner's training and is becoming more popular with everyday runners and cross fit athletes.

The boots are simple to put on and the suggested time to wear is 30 minutes.

My Experience:

There were 4 of us together doing the Cryo and Normatec New Client Special.  The clinic only had one working Normatec set, so we had to take turns.  We only experienced about 10 minutes each in the boots, but you were able to get a real feel of how it would work.  The air pressure felt very similar to a blood pressure cuff on your arm.  The compression had a cycle of going up and down and around the legs.  The process was relaxing and I think I would have fallen asleep if I was in it more than 10 Minutes!

I think that if you were running a Marathon, it would be great to have this available right after the run.  You can buy these for home use, and might be something to do if you plan on heavy-duty training.

The Big Question:  Will I Do It Again?

Listen to my Podcast to find out!

----
I would love to know if you have done either of these and how you feel about them in your training schedule!