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January 27, 2011

Roll With The Pro... January: Gladiator's take on Muscle Recovery.

Cryotherapy for Fighters
Photo courtesy of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

Water and ice. It sounds simple, but experts testify that cryotherapy is beneficial for fighters. Cryotherapy means "cold therapy." Any use of an ice or cold substance to the body as a therapeutic application resulting in removal of body heat and, through it, reducing tissue temperature is cryotherapy.

High level professional fighters, when training very hard, use this therapy to reconstruct their body cells.  It is a good way to recover from muscle fatigue and body injuries.  The shock of the ice cold water in a full body immersion bath is good for your body as it reduces its heat and leads to a renewed beginning.

The temperature of the water used in immersion baths ranges from -1 degree to 5 degrees. We always use this technique after physical activity for three to five minutes.  Some authors claim that adding a small amount of salt to the ice water seems to increase the physiological effects of cryotherapy and accelerates the recovery of elite athletes in terms of combat.

Using the cold therapy does not cure any illness; however, supposedly, it is a valuable tool that helps in the treatment of various orthopedic and neurological pathologies.  In the scientific literature, although there is extensive material on the subject confirming these results, what has been published is inconclusive. But it is still argued that the main effects of cryotherapy when properly applied are: anesthesia, pain reduction, reduction of muscle spasm after intense training, relaxation, early mobilization, improvement in range of motion, decreased metabolism, reducing inflammation, reducing swelling, and breaking the pain-spasm-pain cycle.

The use of cryotherapy is a popular fad among athletes. It is common to see Brazilian Rodrigo Minotauro and Wanderlei Silva immersed in the icy waters after heavy sessions of technical-tactical preparation or physical activity. According to an expert in the field of fitness, the more the benefits of cryotherapy are pursued and its analgesic effects, in a localized way, are recognized, less will be the need for the use of pharmacological agents.

Cryotherapy is a good way to renew your body after heavy training sessions, but remember that ice used indiscriminately (without proper technique or for too long) can be harmful to the tissues (especially the skin).

Based on “Pronto para a Guerra” Book (Author: Leandro Paiva)

Gabriel ‘Gladiator’ Santos

Thank you to Gabriel "Gladiator" Santos for this informative article.  We at appreciate the time and dedication that Gladiator puts into his training. 
We look forward to next month's installment of "Roll with the Pro."