Can you really burn 500 to 800 calories with only 3 minutes of ‘work’, and frankly, can simply (with)standing 3
minutes of subfreezing temperatures be considered work?
What makes cryotherapy different and how does it actually work to burn the calories it claims? The idea is that it increases the body’s metabolism naturally to create a safe, sustainable caloric expenditure of up to 800 calories over the following 8 hours after a 3-minute session in the cryotherapy chamber.
Traditionally, to increase the body’s metabolism (defined as any chemical process in the body that support the living organism), there needs to be some conversion of energy and we do this by burning calories. As it would be expected, to burn more calories the body needs to work harder or longer to expend this energy. This kind of calorie burn is a conscious effort- one must physically push their body to this exertion level.
It is physically impossible to consciously push your body to this caliber of calorie burning in simply 3 minutes. But what about when you’re subconsciously pushed to this level– think about how the heart races when startled or scared “half-to-death”. The adrenaline surge that occurs when one encounters the fight-or-flight response is a survival tactic that prepares the body without conscious effort; this is the same type of reaction the body experiences during a cryotherapy session.
Inside the cryotherapy chamber, nitrogen gases drop temperatures at the skin’s surface to between -200 and -250 degrees Fahrenheit. As the body perceives this change in temperature, the sympathetic nervous system kicks in to “survival mode” to protect the body. Blood is redirected to the core to insulate the vital organs and induces a hyperthermic (heat-generating) response. Most noticeable as the shaking or shivering one experiences during the last minute or two of the session, this is the body’s signal that it has turned on its internal heat-producing metabolism to save the body from the perceived freezing.
It may be deceptive, you’re not actually going to freeze, just making your body think so. But the body is really doing the work to burn those calories. Don’t be deceived, cryotherapy won’t melt away the pounds as the latest dietary fad may claim, but the freezing temperatures will boost the body’s ability to burn it off. Even 3 weeks of routine cryotherapy (3 sessions per week) can reset the body’s metabolism. Gives a new meaning to the concept of freezer burn.