Cold therapy, or cryotherapy, is a practice of exposing the body to colder temperatures. The theory is that when the body is exposed to colder temperatures, it undergoes hormesis, a biological response to extreme conditions. That in turn helps tighten up the body due to temperature changes.
It is a fact that without active exercise or therapy, the body can slowly deteriorate in retirement. One way to stave that off is to undergo cold therapy.
Ice Baths basically consist of a metal tub or bathtub filled to the brim with water and topped off with bags of ice cubes. Some health experts state that for optimum immersion, the temperature of the water should be between ten and 15 degrees Celsius; anything lower may possibly increase the danger of frostbite or hypothermia. You can counter that with adding some warmer water to get the temperature to the ideal setting.
However, ice baths may not be for everyone. People with cardiovascular ailments are not recommended to take it, as the constriction of the blood vessels from the temperature can lead to cardiac arrest or stroke, possibly on the spot. People diagnosed with Type I or II diabetes should be advised to take extreme care as their condition weakens their capability to maintain core temperatures.
An ice bath session will usually begin by wading your feet and legs to start familiarising the body to the cold. From there, you can gradually slide in up to your shoulders or to take a deep breath and be submerged for a few seconds. The optimal time for the ice bath should be no longer than 15 minutes.
Cold showers are as they are – setting the shower’s temperature controls to lower levels. In the absence of a thermostat, taking a bath in lower-temperature situations such as colder-climate locations or in the evening hours is also amenable.
For a cold shower, it is often suggested that the feet and legs are to be exposed to the water first, then you can gradually get the rest of your body doused. This is to acclimatise to the water – and possibly prevent shouting from the sudden change in temperatures (It’s safe to admit we’ve all been there!). One approach that can be possible during this shower is to gradually switch the shower system’s temperature controls to more warmer settings, then put it back to colder settings.
Some people though, may suggest more than cold showers or ice baths to get their cold therapy fix:
- Whole-body cryotherapy. Whole-body cryotherapy involves being inside a special chamber where you will be exposed to a nitrogen vapour of between -110 and -170 degrees Celsius for up to three minutes. However, the treatments and equipment may be prohibitively expensive.
- Whirlpool bath. Often used in physical therapy sessions, cold whirlpool baths use special hydrotherapy pool units to provide hydrojet exposure. They are being used for injury or post-surgery treatment.
- Ice massages. This can be done using cold-compress packs, but some experts say this should not take longer than ten minutes to reduce the risk of frostbite.
Benefits of cold therapy
Whether you take any of the above methods of cryotherapy, there are benefits to look forward to:
- Decreased inflammation. One of the key benefits of cold therapy is its ability to reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a natural response to injury or illness, but when it becomes chronic, it can lead to a range of health problems, including pain, joint stiffness, and reduced mobility. Cold water immersion has been shown to reduce inflammation, making it an effective therapy for seniors who are dealing with conditions such as arthritis or other joint problems.
- Improved circulation. Another benefit of cold therapy is improved circulation. Cold water immersion causes the blood vessels to constrict, which increases blood flow to the core of the body. This increased blood flow can help to improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of heart disease. It can also improve the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the body’s tissues, which can help to boost overall health and well-being.
- Reduced stress and anxiety. In addition to its physical benefits, cold therapy can also have a positive impact on mental health. Cold water immersion has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, which can be especially beneficial for seniors who are dealing with mental health problems. Cold therapy can also help to improve sleep quality and boost energy levels, making it an effective therapy for seniors who are looking to maintain or improve their overall health and well-being.
- Increased endurance. Cold therapy can also help to improve endurance. By exposing the body to cold water, seniors can increase their tolerance for cold and improve their overall physical fitness. Cold therapy can also help to boost the immune system, which can help to prevent illness and reduce the risk of infection.
- Incorporating cold therapy into your routine. If you’re interested in trying cold therapy, it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the duration and intensity of the therapy over time. Cold water immersion can be done in a number of ways, including taking an ice bath, using a cold shower, or using a cold therapy machine. It’s also important to consult with a doctor before starting cold therapy, especially if you have any underlying health problems or conditions.
The ASAG Reverse Mortgage
Everyone deserves to stay active, healthy, and engaged in their daily lives. By incorporating cold therapy into their routine, seniors can enjoy the many health benefits of this effective therapy and continue to live life to the fullest.
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