Cryotherapy: Freeze Away the Pain
When you have an injury, doctors recommend icing it. What if you experience inflammation all over your body? While professional athletes jump into ice baths after an intense workout, doctors say now there is a way to get similar benefits - without getting wet - in tonight's Health Watch.
Dr. Dennis Lemon is tonight’s Ask the Doctor guest. Dr. Lemon is board certified in Emergency Medicine and has practiced in Nevada since 1986. Along with working as an Emergency Medicine Physician, Dr. Lemon has also been actively involved with weight loss therapies since 2009 and opened A New Me in Reno. A New Me offers whole body cryotherapy. He says cryo-sauna exposes the skin to super-cold temperatures and enriches the blood with oxygen and nutrients.
Studies show cryotherapy offers an anti-inflammatory effect that helps with joint disorders, muscle soreness and may help in relieving chronic pain in 10 treatments. Dr. Lemon says the procedure also activates collagen in the skin similar to laser treatments, improving skin elasticity, tone, and reduction of cellulite. Plus, he says, it helps with athletic performance, post-injury/surgical recovery and weight management.
A New Me is offering a special for veterans this Thursday, January 21st. To learn more, call our Ask the Doctor lines at 858-2222 between 5-6 p.m. or call A New Me to schedule an appointment at (775) 689-8888.
"I snowboard, I surf, I hike, I mountain bike.” A broken foot changed all that for Jenna Madrid two years ago though. "Miserable because I couldn't do anything. I couldn't swim or snowboard." When Jenna discovered cryotherapy was being offered at Dr. Lemon’s A New Me clinic in Reno, she wasted no time getting in. "It's helped a lot for me with everything in my life."
Whole Body Cryotherapy is frequently used to help patients reduce inflammation. By chilling your body, experts say blood vessels constrict and that slows blood flow to the injury site. "This was made for people with arthritis; to help people with rheumatoid arthritis,” explains Cindy Lemon. “So it helps with inflammation and it helps [patients] feel better." She says professional athletes took notice. As opposed to an ice bath, many are opting to recover in the freezing sauna instead. "It's quicker. It's like an ice bath on steroids."
I decided to give it a shot myself and I learned a couple minutes standing in nitrogen gas are plenty. Before you can get into the chamber, registered technicians check your blood pressure. It has to be below 150/80. This therapy is not recommended for people with heart problems, high blood pressure, asthma and those with thyroid issues. Your surface temperature will also be measured before getting inside the sauna, too. My reading was 88-degrees Fahrenheit. During the session, the goal is to lower your skin temperature into the 30’s.
With two technicians on hand, I’m given instructions as I head into the cryotherapy sauna. "So, you're going to stand in and face us. We're going to raise you up so your head is above the sauna." Gloves, thick socks and slippers are mandatory to prevent frostbite.
“Most people stay in here one-and-a-half to two minutes. We’ll work you up to three minutes.” With liquid nitrogen, the machine drops down to around -137 degrees. I managed to stay in for just more than two-minutes. While I shivered for most of the session, it was not painful. Your skin tingles when you get out, but you thaw out rather quickly. Along with reducing inflammation, Cindy adds, "It increases your endorphins, a runner's high, you sleep better, reduces anxiety." Jenna says most importantly, it helps get rid of the pain so that she can get back out there to do the things she loves.
It is important to note two trained specialists will be with you during treatment at A New Me. This is important for safety, as an unsupervised Southern Nevada woman died after getting trapped inside a freezing sauna.
To learn more about cryotherapy being offered at Dr. Lemon’s A New Me office, log onto http://www.anewmereno.com/. Dr. Lemon will also be our Ask the Doctor guest on Monday, January 18th. To speak with him then, call (775) 858-2222 between 5-6 p.m.
Dr. Lemon’s A New Me is also offering a special for veterans in our community. Call (775) 689-8888.