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Recovery time. It’s one of the big components that can make or break a team’s season or even a player’s career. Getting athletes off the bench is crucial. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have realized the importance of this and brought in a pretty cool recovery tool to help maximize recovery and minimize the time it takes.
The Bucs are now using “Cryosaunas” (also known as “cryo chambers” or “cryotubs”), which can replace the need for the 25-minute ice baths and are reportedly much more effective at helping an athlete’s body recover. The sessions in these containers only 2.5 minutes. Each chamber has three 7-foot tall metal tubes that use liquid nitrogen tanks to cool down the main chamber that the athletes insert themselves in. The player doesn’t enter the chamber until the temperature drops to a negative-200 degrees, and that’s when they step in to the adjustable platform.
“When you get into the chamber at negative-200–240, it’s too cold for the body to comprehend,” Buccaneers dietician Kevin Luhrs told the team website. “The brain sends a signal to the rest of the body to go into survival mode. The reaction constricts the blood flow in all of the limbs, arms and legs, and all that blood goes to the core and into vital organs like the heart. That process enriches the blood with oxygen and nutrients and flushes out toxins. When you get out of the chamber and the blood vessels dilate again, that blood goes back to the limbs and now you have enriched blood that speeds up the recovery process.”
Some of the players are already completely sold on the process and have noticed immense differences when they wake up the next morning when compared to taking ice baths. Bucs wide receiver Donteea Dye mentioned that this method is “more efficient.”
While the Bucs are only the third NFL team to start using these cryosaunas (and the first to obtain three of them), this method has been spreading through the major American sports. One of the first test cases was the Kansas City Royals, who used Impact Cryotherapy devices on their way to the 2015 World Series title.
“I’m a big fan of cryotherapy and the benefits it offers athletes including recovering from both daily demands and injury,” Royals head athletic trainer Nick Kenney said in a statement. “With Impact Cryotherapy, the ability to train harder and recover faster in order to help the team prepare for another successful year was extremely attractive to us as an organization.”
This technology has been finding its way not just to athletic organizations, but to your local spas and fitness/wellness centers as well. Who knows? Maybe cryosaunas and cryotheorpy all together could become as normal as climbing into an ice bath post-workout at your local gym.