What is Cryotherapy?
What is Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy is a method that allows, among other things, to burn fat to lose weight, thanks to the cold.
This term comes from the Greek "krùos" which means "cold" and "therapéuô" which means "to care, to treat".
Cryotherapy is therefore a method that allows "treating with cold", it is also called "cold therapy".
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Cryotherapy is used as a weight loss treatment, but not only.
Therefore, we will be interested in this file on the benefits of cryotherapy, on the action of cold on our body, on the use that aesthetics professionals make of it and, finally, on who can apply this method.
What is cryotherapy and what is it used for?
Cryotherapy is a treatment method known since ancient times. In fact, at that time it was common to take very cold water baths to enjoy its benefits and treat the pain.
However, it was only in the 1970s that scientists began to develop mechanical methods to make cryotherapy easy and effective to use.
It was in Japan, in 1978, where the first efficacy tests were performed, when Dr. Yamaguchi created a cryotherapy chamber with a temperature of up to -164°.
We will have to wait until 2011 to use cryotherapy on athletes, then 2016 for this method to be democratized for the general public, in particular for its thinness virtues.
Cryotherapy involves exposing the body to intense cold for a short period of time, usually -110° for 3 minutes.
Scientific research has found great interest in the use of cryotherapy, including the following:
- Therapeutic indications, that is, the use of cryotherapy throughout the body prescribed by a doctor to cure or reduce the symptoms of certain pathologies (rheumatism, osteoarthritis, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, depression, fibromyalgia...).
- Sports indications, i.e., the use of cryotherapy on the whole body dedicated to high-level athletes. In these cases, cryotherapy is used to prepare for competition, speed recovery, improve performance, or promote healing during rehabilitation.
- Latest aesthetic and wellness indications. Scientific studies have shown that "localized" cryotherapy, also called "cryolipolysis" could help firm the skin, eliminate cellulite, lose weight, but also relax, relieve stress and improve sleep.
Cryolipolysis, the Slimming Branch of Cryotherapy
In this dossier, we will focus on the "slimming and wellness" branch of cryotherapy: Cryolipolysis.
Derived from cryotherapy, Cryolipolysis has recently been democratized, with the first aesthetic practices to propose this method in France beginning in 2016. The term Cryolipolysis thus comes from the term "cryo" which means "cold" and "lipolysis".
Lipolysis is a natural process of the body, it is the phase in which the body comes to seek the energy it needs to function in the stored fat.
These stored fats are stored in the form of lipids in the adipocytes.
Therefore, Cryolipolysis consists of activating lipolysis through the use of cold.
This method was developed by Drs. Rox Anderson and Dieter Manstein, both heads of the department of dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, USA.
They picked up on an observation made in the 1880s, called "cold paniculitis", which showed that women who rode skirts in cold weather naturally lost fat from their thighs.
Based on this ancient observation and in combination with more recent studies, these two doctors discovered that cold had an action on adipocytes and that this action could be directed at destroying fat cells in a localized manner.
Harvard Medical School researchers then used this data to develop the first machines for localized cold fat destruction, and after many conclusive clinical trials, the modern method of Cryolipolysis was born.
How does cold affect the body?
Therefore, Cryolipolysis uses cold to destroy fat cells for aesthetic purposes. This method consists of applying a device that generates a temperature between -13° and -9° to a specific area of the body for 60 minutes.
This temperature cools the adipocytes, i.e. the fat cells, enough to cause their death.
This reaction is called "apoptosis". When adipocytes are exposed to cold, they shrink, empty themselves of fat and toxins and die.
These dead cells will be eliminated in a few weeks (3 to 8) by the body through the natural channels, i.e. the lymphatic system.
This destruction of the adipocytes makes it possible to reduce the thickness of the adipose layer, thus eliminating fat pads and cellulite.
Scientific research has shown that only fat cells are affected by the effects of cold, the other cells present, such as those that make up blood vessels or nerves, are much less sensitive to low temperatures and are therefore not affected by this method.
Only the fat cells are destroyed, so this method is safe.
The first results will appear between 15 and 45 days after the session, and will continue to improve up to 2 months later.
According to studies, Cryolipolysis allows for a 25 to 45% reduction in the volume of fatty tissue in the treated areas.
These results vary according to the patient's eating habits, metabolism and the resistance of their cells to cold.
The fat cells destroyed by the cold are permanently destroyed. Therefore, this method is effective in the long term. However, if a balanced lifestyle is not adopted, the body will create new fat cells.
How is a Cryolipolysis session performed?
Cryolipolysis is a non-invasive method of destroying fat, unlike liposuction, for example, which is painless and fast.
This technique can be performed by a doctor (dermatologist, plastic surgeon or plastic surgeon), or in beauty centers.
The first step consists of an examination of the patient by the doctor, who will evaluate the quality of the skin and the thickness of the fatty tissue. For the method to be effective, the fatty tissue must be about 4 cm thick.
Once this step is completed, processing can begin.
A fabric covered with gel is applied and then an applicator, which looks like a large suction cup, is applied to the area to be treated for about 60 minutes and a temperature of between -9° and -13° is generated. The applicator is then removed and the doctor performs a quick massage to help restore good blood circulation.
The treatment is not painful, only skin stretching and cold sensations can be felt at the beginning of the session.
Once the applicator is removed, temporary redness, swelling or itching may occur.
In general, one session per area to be treated is sufficient and results appear within 3 to 8 weeks after the session.
This is indeed the time needed for the body to eliminate the fat cells destroyed by natural processes.
To promote the results of the Cryolipolysis sessions, the patient should, in the following days, hydrate sufficiently, walk for at least 30 minutes a day, avoid alcohol or coffee, and perform regular palpation-rolling massages.
In fact, after treatment, the body must eliminate dead fat cells through the lymphatic circuit, and these good habits allow this circuit to function optimally.
The cost of Cryolipolysis treatment varies depending on the area to be treated and the location chosen for treatment.
The average price of a session is estimated at 150 euros for a treatment performed in a beauty salon and up to 600 euros for a treatment performed by a plastic surgeon.
It is also possible to replicate cryotherapy inspired care at home. One example is Cellublue's Cryo line, which helps reduce localized fat in the stomach, hips, thighs and buttocks.
Who can use the Cryolipolysis method?
Cryolipolysis is not suitable for people who are obese or significantly overweight (BMI greater than 30) because their fat tissue is too thick and therefore this treatment would have a very limited and almost invisible impact.
Cryolipolysis is prohibited for people who have cryoglobulinemia, cold hives, abdominal hernia, or who are wearing an electronic device such as a pacemaker.
This method is not available for pregnant or nursing women.
Cryolipolysis is reserved for people with a stable weight but who wish to get rid of fat in localized areas. This method can treat the following areas:
- The Belly
- The back
- The inner sides of the knees and thighs
- Horse pants
- Lumps under the buttocks
- The inner sides of the arms
- The chin
It should also be noted that Cryolipolysis is effective against adipose and fibrous cellulite, but will not be effective against watery cellulite, which is related to poor blood and lymphatic circulation and water retention.
In summary, Cryolipolysis, the slimming branch of cryotherapy, is an effective method for destroying excess stored fat cells in tissues, as cold is known to help remove fat naturally.
However, it is advisable to adopt a healthy lifestyle (balanced diet and regular sports activity) to maintain the results obtained.
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