Cryotherapy is a medicinal practice that can be used to help treat several different conditions, from minor skin conditions like warts to things as serious as cancer. It works in a similar fashion to ice packs, whereby the area in question is exposed to very low temperatures which get rid of any abnormalities or diseased bits of tissue in the skin. This in turn promotes survival of the healthier cells which are then able to thrive, as well as reducing pain and inflammation.
Well, that's the scientific bit out of the way. More importantly, the chances are, unless you or a loved one have received this treatment yourselves, the first time you will have even heard of cryotherapy is as a result of Portuguese football hero Cristiano Ronaldo, who not only swears by it, but has found himself somewhat addicted.
His loud endorsement of cryotherapy quickly brought the treatment to the attention of press and football fans everywhere, catapulting it into the now curious public eye.
The Real Madrid forward initially sampled cryotherapy in an attempt to treat one of his many football injuries, and, needless to say, it was love at first freeze. He was so impressed with it that he began to seek out sessions at a gym near his house in Madrid, going for treatments up to twice a week to guarantee quick recovery after matches and training and, subsequently, optimal performance. To get a better picture of precisely what goes on in these sessions, you should know that the process involves the patient, in this case Ronaldo, entering into a chamber.
Their entire body fits in the metal chamber, much like an upright bath or shower cubicle, where it is, for no more than a few minutes, exposed to shockingly low temperatures. For former Manchester United attacker Ronaldo, these temperatures reached as low as -200°C. This may sound incredibly painful, but in actuality, it is said to feel sensational, be highly pleasurable, and even release endorphins, which play a part in the recovery of the muscles post-training.
It's no surprise that a player as vital and of such high value as Ronaldo would seek out such a treatment, whatever the cost, however the public was slightly amused when reports from Spanish press claimed that he had become so hooked on the therapy that he had invested a whopping €45,000 on his very own cryotherapy chamber, meaning he doesn't even have to leave the house to get his breezy fix.
Many have joked that the bodily sensations that result from the treatment are akin to those of sex, however all humour aside, the therapy is increasingly used amongst elite athletes, so it must be doing something right. With reports of Ronaldo acquiring a recent knee injury, let's hope he isn't far from a chamber for a speedy recovery this season.