My Experience with Cryotherapy for Jiu-jitsu Recovery

As a jiu-jitsu practitioner, there is no denying that your body takes some pretty intense punishment. Over the last few months, I’ve stayed busy trying to compete as often as I can in order to make up for a 2016 that only saw me compete once as a brown belt. I vowed that this year would be different so I’ve put my body through a lot trying to stay in competition shape. I eat well and sleep well. I stretch (though probably not as often as I should) and I foam roll in order to keep myself functioning properly but the biggest and perhaps most important change I’ve added to my recovery this year has been Cryotherapy.

I had done whole body cryotherapy in the past. At first, admittedly, I wasn’t too into it but I decided to give it another shot on account of getting hurt a week before a competition. I promised to do a few sessions and ended up experiencing a lot less inflammation in my knee after a sprain kept me from training leading up to a super-fight. I figured that the training was already done, I just had to be healthy enough to compete. The Cryotherapy did just that.

I ended up winning my match and decided to keep Cryotherapy going, especially since I had another one coming up within a month. Training for competition is much more difficult than regular, daily training. The amount of stress your body must endure is magnified and in order to keep up, I’ve had to add cryotherapy at least twice per week to help reduce the inflammation that eventually leads to injury. Furthermore, cryotherapy also gives me a solid mental reset, which is also dire for me, who writes every morning and trains and teaches throughout the day.

My experience with Cryotherapy for my Jiu-jitsu Practice:

Reduced inflammation

My shoulders tend to get inflamed when I overdo training. After my first competition,  I was having some pretty serious tendonitis. I went to cryotherapy a few times per week in the coming weeks in order to keep up with training and not take too much time off. The cryotherapy helped reduce the inflammation substantially and I was able to keep up a decent pace.

Mental clarity

Because of competing frequently and writing daily, my mind gets a little cluttered and tired. I meditate often (everyday) but still don’t feel as clear as when I finish up a cryotherapy session.¬†Cryotherapy releases norepinephrine in the brain which acts as both a neurotransmitter and hormone. The end result is that after a cryotherapy session, I am more focused and in a much better mood. Both are important when training jiu-jitsu, especially when you are feeling fatigued.

Because jumping in a tub of ice hurts!

I’ve always been a big fan of ice baths. My biggest problem with ice baths is that they hurt… a lot. Sitting in a tub of ice for 6 minutes is much more excruciating than standing in a cryotherapy chamber for 3 minutes and it’s worth the money to get the same benefits but not have to endure the pain of cold (read: ice) water immersion. Plus, having to stock up on 20lb bags of ice all the time is inconvenient. For me, I’d much rather just take a few minutes to go get a whole body cryotherapy session and be done with it.

Taking care of your body is important for jiu-jitsu especially if you want to do it for a long time. Do not sleep on your recovery and always do what you can to restore your body’s function and reduce inflammation before minor aches and pains become more catastrophic injuries.

If you are a jiu-jitsu practitioner I strongly suggest it.

Big shout out to Restore Cryotherapy for taking care of me and getting me through a tough competition season! I could not have stayed physically and mentally healthy without your help!

Also, be on the lookout for a more research intensive article (read: less opinions) I wrote for Jiu-jitsu Magazine on the ways Cryotherapy can benefit you, especially as a jiu-jitsu practitioner.

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