Athletes freeze their bodies to -275 degrees to get an edge
Professional athletes will do pretty much anything to get a performance edge, but this latest trick sounds especially nutty. Using a machine called a Cryosauna, the athlete stands in a tube filled with nitrogen gas at -275 degrees Fahrenheit for two minutes, causing blood to rush towards their vital organs.
The idea is that the super cold dip tricks the body into thinking it’s dying, and rushes blood to vital organs like the heart, brain, and lungs to preserve them. Then when you step out of the cold the blood rushes back to your muscles again, only now it’s saturated with extra oxygen from being in your heart and lungs.
The system is being used by trainer and three time NYC Marathon winner Alberto Salazar to help the athletes he trains, although he admits that he’s still trying to figure out the best way to use it. I just hope he figures it out before the sporting authorities ban this thing.
Cryotherapy has been extensively used and researched in eastern Europe,the main recent studies being conducted in Poland.
I have been myself involved in multiple studies on the matter,and all short term results I have seen and experienced from short daily exposures to the extreme temperatures provided by the chambers were very impressive both from a biological and neurological parameters point of view.
Bring an organism to the limit and it will either adapt or break down. Bring it to some extreme limit,and you will see extreme adaptation,or extreme breakdown.
As any stimulus this can be managed carefully and purposefully to a desired end.
One of CF Forum’s members has worked with Bolton Wanderers FC,at whose training center have a 1.000.000+ Euros cryo chamber. Maybe he could jump in with his experience on the matter.
One interesting aspect though:many european rugby athletes and/or doctors who work with rugby teams have used cryo chambers under the assumption it helps recovery from peripheral traumatic injuries and hits,underestimating the GENERAL biologic and neurologic responses of the organism to such an intense stimulus. Any benefit I have seen from the use of the methodic has been gained through this extreme general response of the organism,and NOT through any specific peripheral mechanism,a concept which may very well go hand in hand with Charlie’s general vs. specific ,and organism strength topics.
Yes, those were interesting days! Very exciting results with OW also and very illuminating.
Exposure to extreme cold is certainly very beneficial for certain athletes in sports at specific times. As Pakewi has pointed out, most of the research has been conducted in Poland originally, (though the initial experiments and tests were started in Japan I believe).
Again as Pakewi has also said, considering Cryo from a peripheral standpoint is myopic.
There are many applications in the medical health domain psychological areas.
Also blanket application of Cryotherapy is foolish, it is (as with most things) best applied selectively and with cognizance of the athletes long and short term recovery.
Every year or so, some physiotherapy journal or other publishes a paper showing no effect on vasodilation or vasoconstriction and then comes to the conclusion that exposure to cryo is of no benefit in sport … myopic at best.