The use of cold therapy (cryotherapy) dates back to the Ancient Greeks. Hippocrates, Aristotle and Galen all mention the use of cold treatments for acute injury. Cold drinks and baths and natural ice and snow were used as the first forms of cold therapy before the introduction of artificial ice in 1755. Since the 1940s, cold has been used extensively for the treatment of acute and sub-acute injuries and for rehabilitation. It has also gained a place in many sports as a standard workout recovery protocol. In particular, ice baths and plunge pools have been commonly used as a recovery strategy and to help prevent post-exercise complications.
The CET CryoSpas ice bath at Loughborough relies on four basic factors to achieve a therapeutic effect, namely TURBULENCE, TEMPERATURE, PRESSURE and SALINITY, offering added benefits over other cryospas, which do not offer all of these features.
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Aeration of the water has a two-fold effect. When the body loses heat through convection as well as conduction the temperature drop will be much greater and be achieved must faster. Wind chill is a good example.
The massage effect influences dispersal of fluids and can also stimulate the muscle, which is particularly beneficial for certain conditions such as quadriceps contusion.
The application of cold decreases pain and muscle spasm and also reduces tissue metabolism, blood flow (initially), inflammation, edema, and connective tissue extensibility.
Low temperature (1 C to 14 C) hydrotherapy is a relatively new concept in therapeutic modalities and can provide significant pain relief with a low side-effect profile.
The greater the depth of water, the greater is the physical pressure exerted on the tissues which, again, aids in the dispersal of accumulated fluids.
The salinity of water has an impact on the healing process. Higher concentrations of salt have a greater drawing effect thereby influencing the dispersal of fluids accumulated around the injury.