SPORTS is currently all the rage with both NBA playoffs and the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games coming to a close earlier this week. The Golden State Warriors ended its four-decade-long championship drought by besting the Cleveland Cavaliers with a 105-97 Game 6. On the SEA Games front, the Philippines placed 6th overall with 131 medals to bring home from Singapore.

Even in the field of sports entertainment, this week was filled with excitement as WWE held its annual Money In The Bank pay-per-view event where the winner receives a briefcase containing a contract for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship which may be cashed in at any time for the following year.

With years and years of training and preparation for these big events, the strain on the athletes’ bodies to move faster and be stronger often takes a toll on them and manifests in sprains, injuries, and body aches. Even when they get through grueling training period, in-competition injuries often happen and would cause them to sit out to heal their injuries. The more serious the injury, the longer the healing period. Some may even cause permanent changes to the performance.

With the need to return back to tiptop shape, athletes undergo innovative therapies for a faster recovery. A popular treatment being utilized is a freezing treatment called cryotherapy where a person is subjected to freezing temperatures to cure pain, specifically those caused by nerve injuries. The person has to stand in a chilled chamber with temperature dropping to about -150 degrees Celsius for three minutes.

A more injury-specific treatment would be applying the cold to specific parts of the body to target affected nerves. Simply put, it is an advanced method of ice baths or cold wraps. Basketball player Lebron James and football player Cristiano Ronaldo, for example, often undergo cryotherapy to alleviate muscle pain and to restore mental and physical alertness.

The thought of extreme cold can be quite daunting especially for those acclimated to the tropical heat, especially when you add in the ever-present risk of frost bite and other effects of exposure to the cold. The theory behind the treatment is that by signaling the mind that the body is in danger of extreme cold, it rushes blood to circulate to increase body heat and metabolism. The after-effect is that there is improved body circulation, relaxed muscles, soothed inflammations, and restored nerves. Some even claim weight-loss as an effect.

Nowadays, this ice treatment is no longer limited to injury recovery or rehabilitation for athletes. More and more celebrities such as Demi Moore and Jennifer Aniston opt to undergo cryotherapy as somewhat of a spa treatment as it boasts anti-aging as another benefit. It is also used for treatment for some types of cancer as well as skin treatment by dermatologists. Most recently, actress Lindsay Lohan shared through her Instagram account pictures of her and a pal undergoing cryotherapy. Her pictures are raising interest for this chilly experience.

Currently, the three-minute sessions are a bit pricey, with a session ranging from $60 to $90 in the US or P3,000 and above in certain facilities in Manila. The procedure would also require that the person wear nothing but underwear, a facemask, earmuffs, gloves, and socks. While most of us are not quite ready to embrace the cold, perhaps this current medical and health fad would catch on in the near future.