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Earlier this month, football players training at Coach Tom Shaw's camp went full speed through drills on a humid, 90-plus-degree day in Florida. Once their workout was over, the players’ thoughts turned to recovery.
Shaw’s athletes used one of the complex's new machines, designed to help their bodies recover more quickly. Sore and tired, players ease themselves into a Cryosauna, which offers a new type of cold therapy. The machine, which can get as low as -300 degrees Farenheit, is attached to a tank of nitrogen, which pours through a vent for three minutes. The extreme cold activates sensors in the skin, sending distress signals to the brain that the body is in danger.
"[The body] is really not in jeopardy, but when it thinks it's in jeopardy, it's going to draw blood to the core to protect the core," says Eric Rausher of Millenium Ice USA, the company that sells the machines. "The tissues squeeze blood to the core, blood circulates around the core and it picks up oxygen and nutrients, carbon and all the good things red blood needs to survive."
The chamber allows for whole-body cryotherapy (the use of low temperatures for medical reasons). Machines sell for about $50K and each session uses five dollars worth of nitrogen.
So, after your next training session, hop into the nearest cryochamber to amp your recovery! Wait—you don’t have a cryochamber handy, or $50,000 in your pocket? Don’t worry, you can still reap some of the benefits that accrue to elite athletes—for only a few cents.
Your budget-friendly recovery strategy is a cold bath.
After a workout, fill a tub with water 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Get get the temperature low by adding ice. Begin with seven to 10 minutes in the icebath and build up to 15 minutes. Just like the cryochamber, the cold water will pull blood to the core and help flush out waste and toxins from your muscles. The best time to jump in is right after a workout, because you prevent lactic acid from building up in your muscles. After the cold bath, take a lukewarm shower to help restore normal body temperature.
A cold bath won't work as fast as the Cryosauna, but the money you save and the recovery benefits you gain are well worth the effort!