A Tool To Assist With Opioid and Other Drug Addiction Recovery

A Tool To Assist With Opioid and Other Drug Addiction Recovery

Opioid and other drug addictions in the United States has reached staggering levels. In 2017 there were 70,237 drug overdose deaths in the US. That number is unfortunately expected to rise over the next 5 years.

Drug addiction is a serious problem. Individuals often become addicted to drugs due to pain. A common addiction scenario involves student athletes who are prescribed opioids to relieve pain so that they could continue to perform athletically. Opioids can be immediately addictive, especially for immature adolescent brains and bodies; once the individual is no longer able to get legal prescriptions for the drug, they turn to cheaper, more readily available illegal drugs. This slippery slope can lead to serious drug addictions like heroin.

Opioids are highly addictive because they attach to opioid-receptors in the central nervous system and digestive tract, leading to euphoric feelings of peace, well-being and pain-relief. Opioid recovery can be extremely challenging because in addition to the physical addiction, the brain can become chemically addicted to these feelings. Cryotherapy can be so helpful during the recovery process because it can naturally mimic opioid-induced feelings of well-being, peace and pain-relief!!

Here are the main reasons why cryotherapy can assist in the addiction recovery process:

  1. Cryotherapy stimulates the release of norepinephrine, an excitatory neurotransmitter that increases cognitive and physical energy. Mental and physical fatigue are common symptoms of addiction recovery—alleviating this “malaise” can help recovering individuals return to a normal, healthy lifestyle that includes work, socializing and exercise.
  2. Cryotherapy stimulates the release of beta-endorphins by tricking the brain into thinking it is in danger due to exposure to cold temperature. In reality, cryotherapy is conducted in a very controlled and safe environment where the risk of injury is negligible. In response to this perceived threat, the brain triggers the release of beta-endorphins as part of the “fight or flight” process. As mentioned earlier, endorphins are natural substances, similar to opiates, that reduce pain and encourage feelings of well-being, peace and optimism. Cryotherapy can actually mimic the effects of opioids in the brain and body—increasing the likelihood of recovery success!! Recovering individuals are less likely to revert to opioid use if they can generate the positive feelings that opioids provide through safe, natural cryotherapy.
  3. Cryotherapy is highly anti-Inflammatory. New research links inflammation to depression, mood disorder and many neurological disorders which can impede addiction recovery. Due to its anti-inflammatory effects, cryotherapy can relieve depression, mood swings and insomnia—as well as many physical conditions like auto-immune disorders, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and more. Cryotherapy is a great way for recovering addicts to feel better, both physically and mentally—increasing their odds of recovery success!!
  4. Cryotherapy can relieve depression through its anti-inflammatory effects and stimulation of beta-endorphins. Depression is common amongst recovering individuals—relieving depression improves the likelihood of long-term, durable recovery.
  5. Cryotherapy is physically and mentally challenging to complete and can build will power and self-discipline in users. Each cryotherapy is a victory that recovering addicts can feel positive about. Users can project these victories onto their everyday life, making them stronger and more confident facing other types of challenges.
  6. During cryotherapy your body increases metabolism in order to generate more heat. This metabolic increase leads to enhanced mental and physical energy—empowering recovering individuals to return to healthy lifestyle habits like exercise, work, socializing etc.
  7. Insomnia relief! Cryotherapy has been shown to increase the duration and quality of sleep! Sleep is a critical component to successful recovery and a return to healthy lifestyle choices.
  8. Cryotherapy improves the immune system as part of the “fight or flight” process. A stronger immune system can be extremely beneficial to the recovery process.
  9. Cryotherapy is highly detoxifying both chemically and emotionally. Through the vasoconstriction/vasodilation sequence cryotherapy can help to physically detoxify recovering addicts. Additionally, cryotherapy can help recovering individuals to detoxify bad habits, relationships and thought patterns. Cryotherapy is a great “reset” for recovering individuals.

It is important to emphasize that cryotherapy should only be utilized by recovering individuals who are medically cleared for moderate exercise. Cryotherapy is equivalent to mild to moderate exercise: the heart rate and blood pressure will increase slightly. Recovering individuals should check with their physician and recovery specialist to confirm that he or she is healthy enough for cryotherapy. Cryotherapy does exert mild, controlled stress on all systems of the body: cardiovascular, pulmonary, endocrine, neurological and more. Please consult with a recovery specialist physician or professional prior to utilizing cryotherapy for addiction recovery. There are significant contraindications for cryotherapy use and recovering individuals must be additionally screened for potential risk factors.

In the fight for recovery from addiction all tools must be employed. The rate of recidivism for drug addicted individuals is extraordinarily high, especially for certain types of addiction. Cryotherapy may improve an individual’s chances for recovery success!

In addition, if you or someone you know struggles with drug and/or alcohol addiction contact help.org. Help.org is a community organization dedicated to empowering people suffering from substance abuse addiction with tools and resources to start their personal journey toward recovery. We create and publishes comprehensive, unbiased, free web-based resources that have been featured and is referenced by many governmental agencies and organizations across the web. For help in our home state of Indiana, visit https://www.help.org/drug-and-alcohol-rehab-centers-in-indiana/

Thanks to chillcryotherapy.net out east for use of this blog article. Original author: Julie Shanebrook.

7 Reasons Youth Athletes Need To Strength Train

7 Reasons Youth Athletes Need To Strength Train

Young athletes are sustaining injuries they never should because we are not properly preparing them for the sport they are playing at the intensity they are asked to.

The answer to the problem? We need to be advocating and encouraging our young athletes to strength train. Here are seven reasons why this is so imperative.

1. Physically Prepare for Training

Youth athletes are not simply mini adults. They are still growing and often lack coordination. They sit all day, and because of this may have inappropriate hip functionality, as well as a lack of posterior strength. In other words, they have musculoskeletal imbalances that need to be addressed before they lead to pain or injury down the road.

“[Y]outh need to work regularly with a prehabilitation and movement specialist (e.g. physiotherapist) and strength and conditioning coaches to ensure these potential injuries never become an issue.

Youth athletes do not have the strength, endurance, or stability of their muscles and joints to properly or efficiently perform many sports skills. This means they are at high risk for poor form, improper technique, and training errors. In addition, because they are often doing sport-specific training for the first time and trying to meet coach and parent expectations, they may not know how to properly recognize injuries. Instead, they put a “twinge” or “pain” off as just being sore from their training.

Put simply, youth athletes aren’t physically prepared to jump into high frequency sport training right away. They need to prepare their body for their sport by working with specialists in strength and conditioning and prehabilitation to ensure they have the proper strength, endurance, balance, coordination, and mobility.

2. Prevent Overuse Injuries

This point is related to the above – youth have inherent musculoskeletal imbalances and lack strength and endurance (especially in the posterior muscular chain and stabilizing muscles). Because of this, if these athletes don’t physically prepare to train for a specific sport, it isn’t a question of if your athlete is going to get an injury, but when.

Our bodies are amazing and find a way to accomplish pretty much any task we ask of them. If one muscle is weak, another will take over. If one joint lacks mobility, you’ll usually see another nearby joint have too much. But this is precisely the problem.

youth, youth athlete, youth sports

These compensations become the norm for our bodies. The strong muscles get stronger and the weak muscles get weaker. We continue to compensate daily, only further exacerbating the issue. This leads to altered and improper movement, dysfunction, and pain. Left unchecked, it can result in overuse injuries that can halt our youths’ training and sport participation, not to mention their regular day-to-day life.

This is why youth need to work regularly with a prehabilitation and movement specialist (e.g. physiotherapist) and strength and conditioning coaches to ensure these potential injuries never become an issue. Regular check-ins are a must, especially when transitioning to a new or higher-level sport, at the beginning and end of the season, and after a growth spurt or puberty, as well as after any injury, surgery, or extended illness.https://7a1ff24b0d349b47879b5d8a32a5885f.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

3. Decrease the Likelihood of Traumatic Injuries

Unlike overuse injuries, traumatic injuries cannot be predicted. These injuries don’t happen gradually, but in mere seconds – the torn ACL, fractured ankle, or dislocated shoulder. 

But just because these injuries cannot be predicted, doesn’t mean they can’t be prevented. This comes back to ensuring athletes have the proper strength and stability of their muscles and joints. If the shoulder muscles are strong – the stabilizing muscles are on, firing, and working properly – there is less of a chance of the athlete dislocating her shoulder compared to if she had little strength there. If the athlete has excellent balance and strength in his foot and ankle muscles, there is less chance he will experience a sprain.

“This current model is not working. Instead, youth athletes need to consistently work with a team.

Yes, we can’t avoid all traumatic injuries, but we can certainly work to make that our youth are strong and able to withstand the stress they will encounter while playing their sport.

4. Improve Athletic Performance

Working with professionals is imperative for not only injury prevention, but also to improve sports performance. Resistance and mobility training will have the biggest impact on the nervous system. You won’t see your young athletes putting on substantial size, but they will have the capability to get stronger due to a more functional nervous system.

Furthermore, by working with professionals, youth will work toward optimizing their mobility, stability, coordination, strength, and movement efficiency. Their speed, agility, quickness and conditioning will also improve. In addition, as athletes get older and their physiology evolves, a movement specialist and strength coach can work with them to teach skills that require a greater magnitude of mental focus and physical output.

Professionals know when and which techniques and exercises can be implemented and adapted to ensure the most effective movement and the greatest improvement in performance.

youth, youth athlete, youth sports

5. Improve Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem

Training properly will not only improve performance and reduce injuries, but will also enhance self-confidence, self-esteem, and body image. With a well-designed strength and mobility program, we teach youth athletes how to train properly and give them the confidence to do so. We show them what they can accomplish. They see what their body can do that it couldn’t do before. All that in addition to improved body composition from their training. The resulting confidence and self-esteem helps them not only in their sport, but in all avenues of life.

6. It’s Fun!

Mixing up training and adding in resistance exercises is and should always be fun. This way youth don’t feel like they are always practicing and playing their sport, but they know they are still working toward improving their skills. Keeping it fun and mixing things up also helps prevent physical and mental burnout, especially as youth athletes begin to specialize in their specific sports.

7. The Traditional Model Is Failing

The current model in youth sports looks one of two ways:

  1. Youth are training for their sport with their coaches, but don’t work with a strength and conditioning or mobility specialist. They either don’t follow a resistance program or follow a program made as well as could be made by a parent or coach.
  2. Youth do work with a specialist, but they see this person rarely, the time per session is finite, and though importance is placed on form, when these athletes are training with their peers in the high school weight room, guess who is loading up the bar?

This current model is not working. Instead, youth athletes need to consistently work with a team. Yes, a team – coaches, strength and conditioning specialists, and mobility/prehabilitation specialists who all work together and communicate with each other. This team can provide consistent advice, information, and support to the athletes so they can excel both physically and mentally.

Why Strength Training Is Important For Young Athletes

Why Strength Training Is Important For Young Athletes

The role of strength training in youth sports has long been a point of contention among parents, coaches and even doctors. Much of that has to do with a lack of understanding and myths about the subject.

You might be surprised to learn that whether your child is ready for strength training has more to do with the maturity of their mind than their body. If your child is mentally ready to listen to coaches and understand the rules of sports, they are most likely ready to comprehend the direction needed to safely start a resistance training program to build strength and help avoid injury.


Kids today do not get the same amount of outdoor free play or physical education that previous generations did. Climbing trees for hours on end used to be “natural” strength training disguised as a lot of fun. But, the increased use of digital devices combined with cuts to physical education programs have diminished the exercise kids get on a daily basis.

In order to make sure kids still have opportunities to build strength, parents now need to make deliberate choices to incorporate strength training into sports and free time.


Medical professionals can propagate myths about strength training at an early age. You’ve probably been told by someone that kids who lift weights can damage their growth plates and are susceptible to bone fractures. But in our research, published in American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal, I have found no evidence to back up these claims.

Strength training is a tool that can be used to reduce the risk of injury for a child who plays sports. The science shows that your child’s body can handle loads much heavier than anything we would ever use in a training session.

By measuring ground reaction forces, we’ve found that when your son or daughter runs and jumps, high-impulse loads of anywhere from two to ten times their body weight can pass through their open growth plates without causing any damage. For comparison that could be as much as much as 1,000 pounds of force that is safely dissipated and by a child’s growing body. That is much more than any child would be subjected to in a structured strength training program.


Strength training for kids doesn’t mean you’re taking your 5-year-old child to the gym for squats, bench press and dumbbell curls. In my experience kids who are around 7 or 8 years old are mentally ready to understand the direction needed for the first phase of a strength training program. Again, strength training doesn’t always mean we’re dealing with weights.

For beginners, training often means doing exercises disguised as games. We will have younger children do things like mimic animals in order for them to strengthen important muscle groups. For instance, jumping like a kangaroo, or walking like a bear, can be a fun way for kids to get stronger without even knowing they’re exercising. Once a young athlete progresses in these exercises and builds strength, we can then add external sources of resistance like balls or weights.

To put this idea in perspective, if a child started in a strength training program at age 7, they could be ready for these more advanced weight room exercises by the time they are ten. But, it’s important to remember that each child is different and the proper age to start a more advanced training program can fluctuate depending on the individual.


When we talk about training age we’re referring to how many years a child has been in a training program. For example, if a 16-year-old is just starting a training program he or she has a training age of 0. The 16-year-old will start with exercises very similar to what a much younger child would do, who is also just getting started.

Compare that scenario to a 10-year-old who has been training since they were seven and has a training age of 3. Even though the 10-year-old is obviously younger than the 16-year-old, they may be ready for more advanced high-load, high-demand, sport-related activities because they have more strength training experience. That added training experience will help the 10-year-old be more prepared for athletics and hopefully avoid injury because their body is ready for these physical demands.

To put it in a more traditional context. Think of training age in tiers. The first tier is play based, the second tier incorporates external sources of resistance, and the third tier includes more traditional weight room activities.


If you have a child who is interested in sports, or already participating, I highly encourage you to get them started in a strength training program. Do your homework and find a qualified strength training instructor, who understands the fundamental principles of pediatric exercise science to help them be successful.

At Cincinnati Children’s we offer Dynamic Neuromuscular Analysis (DNA) training programs for youth. This is a highly individualized and customizable program for aspiring, young athletes. DNA is targeted at athletes who are looking to optimize physical performance to meet athletic goals. Other potential options include your local YMCA or Next College Student Athlete. Regardless of the programming it is never too late to get your child into a structured strength training program to enhance the lifelong benefits of stronger bones and muscles.

Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health

Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health

Inactive adults experience a 3% to 8% loss of muscle mass per decade, accompanied by resting metabolic rate reduction and fat accumulation. Ten weeks of resistance training may increase lean weight by 1.4 kg, increase resting metabolic rate by 7%, and reduce fat weight by 1.8 kg. Benefits of resistance training include improved physical performance, movement control, walking speed, functional independence, cognitive abilities, and self-esteem.

Resistance training may assist prevention and management of type 2 diabetes by decreasing visceral fat, reducing HbA1c, increasing the density of glucose transporter type 4, and improving insulin sensitivity. Resistance training may enhance cardiovascular health, by reducing resting blood pressure, decreasing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides, and increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Resistance training may promote bone development, with studies showing 1% to 3% increase in bone mineral density. Resistance training may be effective for reducing low back pain and easing discomfort associated with arthritis and fibromyalgia and has been shown to reverse specific aging factors in skeletal muscle.