You have probably heard of cryotherapy, or cold therapy, where very low temperatures are used to treat a range of conditions.
But did you know about contrast cryotherapy, which exposes the body to alternating hot and cold temperatures as you stand in a full-body booth, and that it has more benefits than regular cold cryotherapy?
Alla Pashynska, the founder of Ice Health Cryotherapy London, breaks down the popular treatment.
"We have heat as well as cold receptors embedded in our skin. Heat receptors will react to heat, while cold receptors react to cold," she explained. "Every time the temperature changes, they send a signal to the brain, activating these receptors. As our body goes into this survival mode, our blood vessels react differently. As we get the blood flowing with heat, this opens up the vessels, flushing the body with blood. When there is a sudden drop in temperature, this will drive the blood inward to warm up and protect the internal organs from the cold. This process stimulates blood circulation and helps to get rid of toxins. So, having the option of both heat and cold in one session means stronger blood vessels as well as better circulation.
"Better blood circulation means more anti-inflammatory substances, more endorphins, more neutrons, more oxygen and more hormones - hence more benefits."
This hot and cold therapy - also referred to as thermal shock cryotherapy - can also burn fat and improve metabolism as it increases the blood supply to internal organs.
"The contrast temperature exposure causes the body to turn up its metabolic rate in order to produce heat. This effect can last for five to eight hours after the procedure, causing the body to 'burn' 500 - 800 calories a few hours following. After several procedures, the increase in metabolic rate tends to last longer between treatments," Alla added.
The thermal shock treatment at Ice Health Cryotherapy London alternates between temperatures of +65C and -196C within a matter of minutes. The therapy can also be used to treat injuries and reshape, with procedures also including non-surgical breast, bum, and face lifts. Find out more at icehealth.co.uk.