Pain management: cold temperatures increase pain thresholds and thereby reduce pain. Cryotherapy can be used in both acute and chronic pain.
Limit pain due to muscle spasms: reduces sensitivity of the muscle spindles and reduces pain.
Reduce inflammation: Slows some inflammatory response by reducing the release of inflammatory mediators.
Edema management: Reduces capillary permeability. As a result, cryotherapy helps to reduce swelling temporarily.
Reduce spasticity: Muscle cooling has been found to reduce muscle stretch activity and reduces nerve conduction. This has been shown to reduce spasticity as well as fatigue in MS patients.
Vasoconstriction: As cryotherapy lowers the tissue temperature, it acts as a vasoconstrictor. In the case of acute injury, this effect of cryotherapy along with elevation can stop bleeding along with easing pain.
Manage acute post-surgical conditions: In post-surgical conditions, ice packs can be used to manage pain, muscle spasm, and edema.
Improve muscle fatigue: Cryotherapy chambers are used to recover from delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) or micro muscle injury due to evercise.
Temperature-induced stress: The hormones released during stress — cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine — increase the ability to withstand pain, fatigue, and hunger.
Increase in metabolism. After a session of cryotherapy, energy (calories) are used to reheat the body. It is hypothesized that during a three minute session, approximately 500 to 800 calories are burned.