Interested in some cold or hot body treatment but worried about popping a vein (or
freezing it)?
Cryotherapy and infrared sauna treatment affect your body in a whole range of ways, so you
should be aware that both have an impact on your blood vessels (and therefore your blood
pressure).
You may have heard of the terms vasodilation and vasoconstriction. These terms describe
how your blood vessels respond to external pressures like hot or cold temperatures, and
they’re important to understand so you know how they affect you.
So if you’re looking specifically to find out how infrared sauna treatment affects your blood
vessels, you’re in the right place.
Below, we’ll outline the difference between vasodilation and vasoconstriction, and compare
how both cryotherapy and infrared sauna treatment impacts those highways of blood that
extend throughout your body.

Vasodilation vs vasoconstriction: what is the difference

There’s a huge difference – in fact, they’re the opposite of one another!

  • Vasoconstriction is when your blood vessels narrow.
  • Vasodilation is when blood vessels expand

Let’s look at each briefly.
Vasoconstriction is a normal process and happens due to natural external triggers such as
decreases in temperature (experiencing a cold day, jumping into the cold ocean or walking
into a cool room).
The result is that the space inside your blood vessels reduces, meaning your vessel volume
falls and the flow of blood throughout your body reduces. The result, ultimately, is high
blood pressure.
Vasodilation also happens naturally in the body on a day-to-day basis with a variety of
triggers like temperature increases, low levels of oxygen or a nutrient decrease. You may
also experience it when you suffer an injury or an infection (like if a wound becomes hot and
red).
You will experience lower blood pressure with the onset of vasodilation. This is because
there is a larger amount of blood flow as the vessels expand.

Does cryotherapy cause vasoconstriction?

Cryotherapy is fundamentally a hyper cooling treatment, and certainly causes
vasoconstriction. It’s the natural effect of cold treatment lowering the temperature of your
body tissue and constricting your blood vessels.
Cryotherapy is sometimes referred to as a ‘vasoconstrictor’. It may sound a little scary but
it’s nothing to worry about if properly managed.
But that does not mean that cryotherapy is a ticket to getting high blood pressure.

On the contrary:
Cryotherapy also causes vasodilation (and reduces blood pressure)
Around five to ten minutes after being exposed to the cold, cryotherapy can lead to
vasodilation, ultimately lowering blood pressure.
This is because cryotherapy can reduce the level of CRP (C-reactive protein) in your blood,
lowering inflammation in your vascular system (and thereby lowering blood pleasure).
This so-called “mixed vasoconstriction/vasodilation” response is sometimes known as the
“hunting reaction”: the process of rotating vasoconstriction and vasodilation responding to
extreme cold.
It’s pretty amazing what the human body can do!

Does infrared sauna treatment cause vasodilation?
Yes. Because infrared sauna treatment is all about placing your body in extreme heat and
rising your core temperature, your blood vessels will dilate.
This will lead to vasodilation and may also increase your heart rate. It’s a similar feeling of
‘working out’ or taking an epic spin class when in an infrared sauna.
The great thing about this treatment is that you’ll experience lower blood pressure (as
increased space in your blood vessels naturally allows more blood to flow).

Questions?
If you’re looking for further information on the difference between vasodilation and
vasoconstriction, please get in touch with our friendly staff at Cryospa Clinics.
We’re a cryotherapy and infrared sauna treatment provider located in Sydney’s North Shore
offering safe and healthy whole-body treatment, both in hot and cold temperature
extremities

Book a session now to experience a session that will re-energise your mind, body and soul!