Why Pilates Practitioners Should Utilize Cryotherapy
Posted By: Pamela Toy
Do you ever feel like even after a Pilates workout you feel worse than you did before? You work up a sweat and yet, your muscles are burning and not in a good way. Even when you try to stretch, you still feel sore.
If you want to experience pain relief, muscle recovery, and overall whole-body wellness, look no further than cryotherapy.
Read on to find out how cryotherapy for Pilates can be beneficial.
What is Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy, also known as “cold therapy,” is a method of healing during which your body is subjected to freezing temperatures for a short period of time. (1) It can be administered to just one area or the whole body.
When you’re only looking to do one area of your body cryotherapy can be administered in ways including ice packs, baths, and massages, coolant sprays, and even probes put into the tissue.
For whole-body cryotherapy or WBC, you go into a chamber that encloses your entire body except for your head. The temperatures will drop to ranges between negative 200–300°F and you will stay in that temperature range for a few minutes.
Although a fairly new discovery, cryotherapy is becoming increasingly popular as an effective post-workout treatment.
From research, doctors have determined some benefits of cryotherapy that can help with Pilates recovery as well as with another exercise recovery as well. (2) These benefits include the following:
1. Pain Relief and Muscle Healing
In the past, doctors have recommended using ice packs on injured or painful muscles because these freezing temperatures help to increase your blood’s circulation once it has been withdrawn, which can help heal and provide pain relief.
Cryotherapy can help with muscle pain and joint and muscle disorders such as arthritis. A German study from 2000 found that WBC reduced pain for people who suffered from it. (3) Not only was the treatment well-tolerated, but it helped move along the therapy and made the rehabilitation progress better.
2. Numbs Nerves
The reason that athletes use this technique is that it numbs the pain. Doctors treat the distressed tissue with a small spot of cold that is shot into the muscle. In addition to pinched nerves, chronic and acute injuries can also be treated.
3. Weight Loss
Although just doing cryotherapy won’t cause weight loss, it can help to speed up the course. It is a known theory that being cold forces the body to work harder in order to maintain body temperature. Some claim that a few minutes of cold can increase metabolism for the whole day.
With enough cryotherapy, people will begin to feel less cold from their treatment as their metabolism increases and adjusts from it.
Soreness from Pilates Workouts
Like any exercise, you’re going to feel sore after a Pilates workout. It’s how your body recovers afterward that makes the difference. With Pilates, you’re doing a lot of stretching and moving your body in different ways than your normal day-to-day life.
Out of a handful of workouts associated with Pilates, two distinct ones work most of your muscles. Those two workouts are on the mat or reformer.
Mat: The basis for what makes up Pilates and the exercises. A mat workout will work on your legs, stomach, upper and lower back muscles. You are in full control of your body which makes it challenging.
Reformer: A narrow sliding carriage that moves with the use of straps and pulleys, which can be made more or less resistant by adding or removing springs. This form of Pilates can be good for rehabilitation.
While both work in different ways, both will have you working up a sweat. By utilizing your whole body you’re going to feel sore. This is why it’s important to not only stretch but perform an appropriate recovery afterward. If you don’t, you’re more prone to experience muscle pain and even injury.
Incorporating Cryotherapy Post Pilates Workout
By incorporating cryotherapy into your Pilates recovery, you will see a big change in how you and your body feels. Not only will it help you avoid injuries and encourage you to push your limits, but you will recover more quickly because of it.
If you’re a serious Pilates practitioner and want to try cryotherapy you should use it either weekly or biweekly, if possible, for maximum recovery.
Looking for in-person Pilates Training?
1. Benefits of Cryotherapy. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/cryotherapy-benefits.
2. What are the benefits of cryotherapy?. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319740.
3. Metzger, D., Zwingmann, C., Protz, W., & Jäckel, W. H. (2000). Die Bedeutung der Ganzkörperkältetherapie im Rahmen der Rehabilitation bei Patienten mit rheumatischen Erkrankungen.–Ergebnisse einer Pilotstudie [Whole-body cryotherapy in rehabilitation of patients with rheumatoid diseases–pilot study]. Die Rehabilitation, 39(2), 93–100. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-2000-14442