As we had already mentioned in this article, post-workout muscle recovery is a very important practice for every sportsman at any level. To get your body back in an optimal state, you can use particular therapies including: cryotherapy, vacuum therapy and pressotherapy.
What is it about? Are they equivalent treatments or do they have different peculiarities? Can they be combined with each other, or are they used to counteract disorders or problems of a different nature? So many questions, so many answers: let's get started!
Cryotherapy: the basics
The term cryotherapy comes from ancient Greek kryotherapy, word composed of kryos (frost) e therapy: basically, cold therapy. It mainly consists of the subject your body to extreme temperatures (about -140 °) for a short period of time.
When it comes to cryotherapy, a distinction must be made between the systemic and localized treatment. In the first case we have the subject in a bathing suit completely immersed in the cold, here our nervous system is also stimulated from cryotherapy treatment. In the second case, however, we have a localized temperature reduction in a single point of our body.
Thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of cold, cryotherapy facilitates muscle recovery even in the case of more or less serious bruises. In fact, following this particular treatment, people perceive less pain in the injured part and, consequently, they are able to perform all the required rehabilitation exercises to the sports doctor without letting himself be held back by inflammation.
Vacuum therapy: the basics
The IVT (Intermittent Vacuum Therapy) is a treatment that uses the vacuum to improve the flow of blood to the various parts of the body and, consequently, increase the oxygen supply: an element necessary for carrying out aerobic activities. An evolution of IVT is certainly the LBNPD (Lower Body Negative Pressure Device), treatment that is limited - as the name suggests - to the lower limbs.
How does it take place? It is very simple: the patient is made to sit in the special machine: a tube that starts from the feet and reaches the waist. The machine is adapted to the person's waist so as to create an isolated environment: a pump starts sucking air from the tube creating a different negative pressure than the terrestrial one around the legs thus increasing the blood flow in the lower part of the body. The treatment takes about 50 minutes.
A shortened version of vacuum therapy is cupping, a practice imported from the Eastern tradition which consists in the application of special containers in the points to be treated. The vacuum created inside these vessels thanks to the heat favors the flow of blood to the stimulated points. The treatment never exceeds 15/20 minutes so as not to subject the parts subjected to cupping to excessive stress.
Given this ability to modify blood flow, vacuum therapy lends itself to the treatment of vascular problems and disorders or, alternatively, as a treatment for post-operative recovery. (If you want to know more about this therapy and the disorders it allows to treat, you can consult our in-depth study)
Pressotherapy: the basics
If vacuum therapy exploits the vacuum effect, pressotherapy - as you can guess from the name - uses a variation in pressure to go to move the lymphatic system, improve drainage and reduce water retention. These effects are also associated with a boost in blood circulation and a reduction in fatigue due to the disposal of toxins.
Legs and arms are the main focus of treatment pressotherapy but what exactly do they consist of? This is a massage made up of leggings and sleeves equipped with air chambers which, by inflating and deflating, cause a peristaltic movement that favors the circulation of liquids.
As it is easy to imagine from what has been described so far, the pressotherapy is used to treat ailments such as thrombosis or problems related to blood circulation. Thanks to the stimulation of this treatment, pressotherapy helps the athlete in his recovery period because promotes the reabsorption of edema and relieves pain following trauma resulting from training. This allows athletes to recover quickly and return to training.
Can they collaborate with each other? If so, how?
The three treatments described they are able to give quick and visible results in total autonomy, this means that it is not mandatory to use them simultaneously. However, the combination of the three therapies can bring benefits to athletes not only for the speed of recovery but also for the improvement of their sports performance.
Before proceeding with any treatment of this type, however, it is always good to consult your doctor: he will advise you on the most suitable therapies for your state of health.