| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff

The world of athletics is always looking for new and innovative ways to enhance performance and decrease recovery time for injuries.

Most athletes, across all sports, have used ice to decrease inflammation following a performance. Some hop in ice baths for long periods of time after a game and baseball pitchers throw bags of ice onto their arms after pitching.

While these methods are effective, they may be a bit archaic. A new technology is expediting this process by accessing the same medical responses within the body: Cryotherapy.

“Cryotherapy is when a person goes into an enclosed cryosauna, and the temperature gets very cold: -240 degrees,” said Dr. Konstantinos Zarkadas at KryoMed LI, located at 369 Glen Cove Road in Greenvale, N.Y. “It’s the coldest place on Earth.”

A person or patient enters the enclosed chamber for just three minutes, while the body does the work.

“What that does is trigger your body that it is freezing and it’s going to die. It turns on the fight or flight responses, which produces hormones like epinephrine and endorphins to keep the body alive, shuttling the blood from the extremities to the vital organs,” Dr. Zarkadas added. “Afterwards, you do a little exercise on the treadmill or elliptical to get warmed up, and all that oxygen-enriched blood leaves the core organs and goes back to the extremities, creating a sort of euphoria and reducing the inflammation.”

What separates some Cryotherapy practices from others is that the medical supervision, something that is essential for safety purposes.

“The medical supervision is incredibly important. You need to understand what can happen to somebody in that temperature,” said Dr. Zarkadas. “Your body increases your blood pressure by 10 percent, so if you have high blood pressure or heart problems for instance, things like a stroke or heart attack can happen.”

Since the technology is still new, the government has yet to come up with regulations, allowing some of these practices to open up without medical supervision. At KryoMed, you are required to undergo a free medical consultation or clearance from a personal doctor prior to undergoing the therapy, as well as getting checked out afterwards.

“Before you even go in there, you have to be cleared. Before every session, we take your blood pressure. It’s all about safety,” said Dr. Zarkadas. “This is the reason it’s medically supervised. We go over everything to avoid any accidents and to make sure the therapy is right for you.”

Cryotherapy has benefits beyond just recovery for athletes. It can help with cellulite reduction, boosted metabolism promoting weight loss, production of collagen and anti-aging.

This new technology is being used by some of the world’s top athletes, and can serve as a more efficient and effective way to recover from injuries, as well as numerous other benefits in a safe, supervised manner.

“Athletes jump into ice baths and they try to get their inflammation down in one to two hours, but it’s tough to stay in there that long,” Dr. Zarkadas added. “Here at KryoMed LI, we reach that same solution in three minutes. This helps athletes get back onto the court or field faster and it’s all about the safety of our patients.”

For more information, visit KryoMedLI.com.