cryotherapy Walnut Creek

Recover and Re-Energize with Whole-Body Cryotherapy

By Fitness, Stretching & Mobility No Comments

The first thing some people think of when they’re new to the idea of whole-body cryotherapy is, “Brrrr!” In actuality, the intention of a two- to three-minute cryotherapy session is to heal and rejuvenate; to relax and to repair injury; to move blood flow to the areas that need it most; or even to provide a burst of energy before a workout.

In fact, cryotherapy is an elemental part of comprehensive wellness. And Forma Gym in Walnut Creek has a complete, whole-body Cryotherapy Wellness Studio

Let me explain. Exercising as part of a training regimen ultimately increases muscle tone and strength. But the recovery stage after a workout is where most of the muscle-building happens. Someone who doesn’t recover properly, either with rest, stretching, nutrition, massage or other forms of therapy, is more prone to fatigue and injury.

The general idea of localized cryotherapy – or “cold therapy” – came about when the Greeks and Egyptians began using cold as a painkiller and anti-inflammatory. Whole-body cryotherapy dates only to 1978, when a Japanese rheumatologist discovered that, whole-body exposure to cold, via ice bath, could reduce pain and inflammation for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

More effective – and comfortable – than ice baths

Fortunately, that rheumatologist, Dr. Toshiro Yamaguchi, continued his research. By 1980, Yamaguchi and his team realized that brief, rapid exposure to very cold air was more effective than ice baths. 

Put simply, nitrogen gas cryotherapy is faster and colder. Cold nitrogen gas (-135°to -200°F ) can reduce the skin’s temperature to 32°F very quickly, but an ice bath might take 20 minutes and can only reduce the skin’s temperature to about 40°F.

In addition, liquid penetrates the skin, meaning that an ice bath can cause muscle tissues to stiffen too much, leaving them immobile until several minutes after you emerge from the water and stop shivering. Controlled exposure to nitrogen gas does not cause this lingering chill and stiffness.

Post-workout and pain management from cryotherapy: How it works

For the most part, cryotherapy is used for pain management. Your body’s natural reaction to extreme cold temperatures is the “fight or flight” reaction. Therefore, when exposed to sudden, cold temperatures, the skin signals to the brain that the body’s vital organs need protecting. 

Very quickly, the brain enters “fight-or-flight” mode, triggering blood flow to all the essential organs. When the blood is drawn away from the rest of the body into its core, the inflammation of injured areas also reduces.

After a two- or three- minute session, the blood that returns to the extremities is full of oxygen and nutrients, helping repair and strengthen the body, starting with the areas that are most injured.

The endorphin rush of cryotherapy – either for injury treatment or after a workout – is phenomenal. I’ve seen it do wonders for people with low back or shoulder or knee problems.  I’ve also seen how it reduces muscle fatigue and can even make people feel happier afterwards. 

While taking an ice bath before a workout is never advised, you can use cryotherapy for a pre-workout energy boost. I’ve seen people use it as a safe way to get that “pumped” feeling prior to a workout.

Understanding the experience: Controlled, safe and private

After people understand how whole-body cryotherapy works, their next questions are usually about safety and modesty. Fear not. Although you’ll be nearly naked during your session, we’ve got you covered:

      • Before entering the octagonal cryotherapy chamber, you’ll be escorted to a changing room. There, you’ll remove any jewelry or accessories.
      • You will have the option to remove all of your clothing or to wear a dry bathing suit.
      • You’ll be given socks or boots and gloves to wear (men will also cover the penis).
      • Your dressing room opens directly into the cryotherapy chamber, which you enter wearing a robe, with your head remaining above the top of the chamber at all times. 
      • Your certified cryotherapist at Forma Gym will be waiting outside the chamber and can only see your face and head.
      • You’ll hand your robe to your cryotherapist before starting the session.
      • During your first session, we may start at a higher temperature (-135° to -165°F as opposed to -200°F), just to get you used to the idea of cold therapy. Later, you can try lower temperatures. 
      • Your cryotherapist will remain in the room outside the chamber and will speak to you and to gauge how you’re doing. It’s amazing how quickly two or three minutes pass. Afterwards, you will wrap up in your robe again and return privately to your changing room. 

How often should I go?

The frequency of whole-body cryotherapy sessions depends on the individual and their reason(s) for using cryotherapy. For people who are using cryotherapy to recover from injury or reduce pain, I typically recommend two sessions on two consecutive days followed by weekly sessions as needed or desired. 

The positive effects kick in much more quickly when your body knows what to expect. You can think of the first two consecutive sessions as “warming up” your brain and body to the idea of cold therapy.

A three-minute session can have such healing powers that you actually gain back time and productivity.

Visit Forma Gym Walnut Creek and give it a try! We’re sure the recovery benefits will leave you feeling like new.


Exercises for Mobility

Five Exercises for Mobility to Help You Move Well

By Stretching & Mobility No Comments

As you age, you may begin to feel more aches and pains, and mobility becomes more challenging. Getting in a workout might mean it comes with more soreness. Incorporating joint mobility exercises into your workout can help ease that pain and stiffness and give you better performance and function, inside and outside of the gym.

Why is joint mobility important?

Adding joint mobility exercises into your workout helps you move better, and with less pain and stiffness. Here’s how doing exercises for mobility can help your body in various ways:

Prevent injuries

Warming up before a workout and cooling down after a workout are critical to preventing injuries. Tight or stiff muscles around a joint can make it more prone to injury. Supple muscles are less prone to pulls and tears.

Improved performance

Better mobility means better performance. Properly moving the joints around certain muscles can help you better perform exercises that use those muscles.

Less stiffness

Joint mobility exercises help your body recover after a workout. Doing mobility exercises regularly can help ease your everyday aches and pains, and give you more range of motion.

Mobility Exercises

Here are 5 simple joint mobility exercises to try. Do these exercises 10-12 times before each workout for better joint mobility.

#1 – Hip Openers

The hips are key contributors to balance and stability. Hip openers are a simple movement you can do that works your hips and glutes, which are a powerhouse for the rest of your body.

How to:

1. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart.

2. Lift your right leg first. Bring it across your body, then out to the side, and then back on the ground, making a circle with your knee.

3. Repeat with the left leg.


#2 – Scapular Wall Slides

Keep your shoulders healthy and improve your posture with this simple exercise.

How to:

1. Stand with your back against a wall with your back and neck elongated.

2. Raise your arms while resting your forearms vertically against the wall.

3. Take your arms up overhead, keeping your shoulder blades tight against the wall. Slide arms up until they are straight.

4. Pull them back down again, focusing on squeezing your shoulder blades together.


#3 – Sumo Squat

A lower body exercise that you can do anywhere, without any equipment. Sumo squats help mobility around the hip, pelvis, knees, and ankles.

How to:

1. Place your feet wider than hip-width apart with your toes facing outward, 45 degrees.

2. Lower your hips into a squat position, so your knees go slightly over your toes.

3. Move your body back up, keeping your shoulders and hips vertically aligned.


#4 – Ankle Mobility

This exercise helps increase ankle mobility, which helps improve balance and decreases the chance of falls.

How to:

1. Stand facing a wall and place your hands on the wall for support.

2. Slowly rock forward onto your toes, coming onto your tiptoes.

3. Slowly rock back onto your heels, lifting your toes off the ground.


#5 – Foam Rolling

Rolling your muscles after a workout helps ease tension, releases knots, and improves flexibility.

How to:

1. Grab a foam roller or tennis ball and place it under the muscles you want to massage.

2. Using your body weight, roll over areas of your body to smooth out the kinks.

3. When you hit a troubled spot, do shorter back and forth movements to get the knots out.

4. Use more or less pressure depending on what feels right to you.


Stay active in your golden years by regularly doing joint exercises for mobility. They’ll improve your aging process, in more ways than one.

flexibility exercises

Forma’s Top Exercises for Maintaining Flexibility and Alignment

By Stretching & Mobility No Comments

Getting older means your body doesn’t always feel the way it used to. Things might ache and crack more, are tighter than usual, and getting back up from a seated position or off the floor takes longer than it ever did in your twenties.

As age increases, mobility often decreases. If you want to stay active, we believe it’s wise to focus on flexibility and mobility to keep you moving. Read More