Cryotherapy has been shown to reduce inflammation, even in rheumatic disease. One study that was trying to understand the way in which this happened said, “local cryotherapy induces an intrajoint temperature decrease, which might downregulate several mediators involved in joint inflammation and destruction.”(Guillot et al., 2014) Inflammation can impinge on nerves, causing pain and if the inflammation can be reduced, so will the pain.
Long term repeated bouts of cryotherapy have been shown to decrease cortisol levels in the brain by around 30%. Cortisol is the stress hormone and therefore cryotherapy could potentially reduce stress and anxiety in users.
Many studies have confirmed that full body vibration stimulates increased circulation. Even though as of yet there is no clear reason as to why this occurs, it has been hypothesised that stretch receptors in muscles, called muscle spindles, are activated. This brings about a muscle spindle reflex. This reflex increases muscle activity and therefore metabolic demand, leading to an increased need for oxygen in the muscles: hence blood flow and circulation increase. (Cardinale and Wakeling, 2005)
Infra Red, Red Light Therapy
Studies have shown Low Laser Light Therapy (Red Light Therapy) can be as effective to reduce inflammation as NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen (Stausholm et al., 2019). This is key because inflammation can cause a lot of pain. For example, if your knee is inflamed, the inflammation itself can compress nerves in your leg and this is what brings about pain. Red Red Light therapy reduces the inflammation by reducing the number of pro inflammatory agents such as cytokines which are small cell signalling proteins. Red Light therapy has also been shown to form reversible ATP blockades in neurones. Essentially this means that for a short while, pain detecting neurones won’t have the energy they require to send signals to the central nervous system and this means pain is reduced.
CARDINALE, M. & WAKELING, J. 2005. Whole body vibration exercise: are vibrations good for you? British Journal of Sports Medicine, 39, 585.
GUILLOT, X., TORDI, N., MOUROT, L., DEMOUGEOT, C., DUGUÉ, B., PRATI, C. & WENDLING, D. 2014. Cryotherapy in inflammatory rheumatic diseases: a systematic review. Expert Review of Clinical Immunology, 10, 281-294.
STAUSHOLM, M. B., NATERSTAD, I. F., JOENSEN, J., LOPES-MARTINS, R. Á. B., SÆBØ, H., LUND, H., FERSUM, K. V. & BJORDAL, J. M. 2019. Efficacy of low-level laser therapy on pain and disability in knee osteoarthritis: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised placebo-controlled trials. BMJ Open, 9, e031142.