As seen on ABC World News, Cryotherapy, a popular new health trend, means stripping down in sub-zero temperatures.
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To most people being in a -130 degree chamber like structure for three minutes doesn’t sound so appealing, but if you have some muscle aches and pains, inflammation in your body or even some extra pounds you want to shed, maybe you should think again.
Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) is a holistic wellness solution that enables the human body to recover and rejuvenate itself naturally. During cryotherapy, the body is exposed to extremely low temperatures (for one – three minutes) to trigger the body’s most powerful mechanisms of self-protection, self-recovery and self-rejuvenation.
Thrive CryoStudio in Rockville, Maryland specializes in Cryotherapy. The studio has seen over 1,400 clients and has conducted over 5,000 cryotherapy sessions. I sat down with owner Brandon Yu to get the 411 on what cryotherapy is and the science behind this new craze.
How does cryotherapy work?
Whole Body Cryotherapy uses ultra-cooled nitrogen gas application to lower the client’s skin temperature to 30 degrees fahrenheit for one to three minutes. At first, your body reacts like it normally would if you were standing outside on a cold day, by increasing circulation in your body to try and warm your body up. After about 45-60 seconds, your body realizes that it’s not doing an effective job of warming up, due to the continuous nitrogen vapor hitting your skin.
Next, as the thermoreceptors in the skin send messages to the brain and central nervous system the body goes into “Survival Mode” by sending hyper-oxygenated and nutritious blood via vasoconstriction to the body’s vital organs in its core. After exiting the ultra-cooled environment, the body begins to warm to its natural temperature and vasodilation occurs, sending the oxygenated and nutritious blood back out to the body’s periphery. This process provides the body with extra nutrients, rids the body of toxins, produces collagen, and activates the body’s natural cell regeneration cycle to produce newer, healthier cells.
What are some of the benefits?
As this is a holistic wellness treatment, there are a wide ranging amount of benefits to cryotherapy, as long as the client sticks to their recommended treatment plan. We like to group the benefits into three main categories:
Sports & Fitness:
Health & Wellness:
Mind, Mood & Beauty:
How should your body feel immediately after, an hour or two after, and about 24 hours after?
Cryotherapy is not a magic pill, so individuals should not expect to feel “like a new person” or a huge dramatic difference after their first session. However, after a single session, clients can expect to feel a bit looser and relaxed. They might even have temporary relief from some minor pain they were experiencing (for more consistent pain, it’ll take multiple sessions). Additionally, clients can expect to fall into one of two buckets on how they’ll feel the rest of the day. They will feel either 1) super energized and feel like they’re ready to take on whatever comes their way during the day, or 2) they’ll feel super relaxed, calm and even may want to take an afternoon nap. Both of these responses are normal. Additionally, clients may notice a much better nights sleep the night of their cryotherapy treatment.
With regards to benefits that are more noticeable, on average it takes about eight sessions for a client to feel a “noticeable” difference in their pain levels, muscle recovery, etc. As I mentioned, it’s not a magic pill, but if done consistently, most of clients have seen tremendous results!
How often do you recommend someone get cryotherapy?
The recommended frequency for someone to get cryotherapy honestly varies from person to person and condition to condition. At Thrive CryoStudio, we really take the time to listen, educate and consult each client that walks into the door to recommend a tailored cryotherapy treatment plan for his or her condition. We also monitor their progress and how the client feels after each cryotherapy session in case we need to tweak their frequency. With that being said, we have some clients that come everyday and others that come once every two weeks.
Who is the ideal candidate for cryotherapy?
Many people associate the use of cryotherapy with professional athletes or even on “The Real Housewives” because that’s where they’ve seen it. With that being said, most of your everyday people can benefit from cryotherapy. For the high school athletes to the middle-aged runner, cryotherapy will greatly benefit them in their muscle recovery, while reducing inflammation in their joints from the wear and tear they’re putting on their body.
Also, for those individuals that are suffering from nagging neck, back, hip, knee or any other pain, cryotherapy will greatly benefit them.
Any risks clients should be aware of?
Cryotherapy can raise your blood pressure. We check all clients’ blood pressure immediately prior to each of their sessions and will not allow them to proceed if their blood pressure is too high. In addition, clients must keep their heads and chins up while in the cryotherapy tank to avoid breathing in the nitrogen fumes which can cause lightheadedness. At Thrive Cryostudio, a therapist is with our clients throughout their treatment session, constantly engaging them in conversation to ensure they don’t experience any adverse side effects. If there is any concern, the treatment is stopped immediately.
What’s one misconception about cryotherapy you’d like people to understand?
Cryotherapy is not a magic pill. Its benefits are wide reaching and include everything from weight loss to pain management to improved sleep, anxiety and skin. However, while many clients have a post-treatment euphoria and a report increased energy after only one session, it typically takes several sessions to reap the greatest benefit.
Story by TINA IRIZARRY – Originally posted at dcrefined.com
I am standing inside an upright tank, my head sticking out the top. I’m wearing skivvies, booties and glovies. A dry-ice-like fog of liquid nitrogen wafts, swirling under my chin. The temperature is quickly dropping, on its way to a brisk 190 degrees below zero.
Questions arise in my mind. Will I survive the full three minutes, or will I tap out? The tank has an escape door, but what if it freezes shut? Was there a fur-lined cup they forgot to have me put on? I’m trying to keep a stiff (but not frozen) upper lip, I don’t want to become known as the guy who put the “cry” in cryotherapy.
“Here we go,” says Amanda, the cryo tank operator, cheerfully. Gleefully? “Three minutes!”
I wonder if that’s what they said to Ted Williams, whose head is cryogenically frozen in a tank in Arizona. What if my family learned I have a terminal disease, but they don’t want to tell me, and this is their way of tricking me into being frozen until a cure is found?
They say the Kentucky Derby is “the most exciting two minutes in sports.” Cryotherapy, at least the first time, is the most exciting three minutes.
Am I overdramatizing? Probably.
Whole-body cryotherapy (WBC) is increasingly popular and, as far as my research shows, without serious risk. Athletes love the treatments. Warriors Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston get tanked. Several A’s are users, and Jalen Richard, the Raiders’ second-year running back and kick returner, told me that roughly one-third of the Raiders use WBC. The Raiders as a team have open accounts at several Bay Area cryo studios.
WBC is not new. It was developed more than 30 years ago by a Japanese fellow seeking an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. In recent years it has become a full-blown fad in sports, for elite athletes and weekend warriors.
In theory, WBC works like an ice bath, but (some say) better. Three minutes in the cryo tank knocks down inflammation and speeds healing of sore muscles and assorted injuries.
Commercial cryo spas, along with touting the anti-inflammation aspect, claim user benefits such as weight loss, skin and hair rejuvenation, anti-aging, sleep enhancement, metabolism boost and a natural buzz.
These spas claim that rather than freezing your assets off, you will freeze your liabilities off.
Maybe, maybe not. The website Skeptoid said in 2014, “P.T. Barnum would be proud of cryosauna and cryotherapy. Save your money.”
The same website did allow that WBC, in treating sore muscles and inflammation, is at least as effective as ice baths and cold-water swims, albeit more expensive. Are the skeptics too skeptical? The jury is out. The FDA does not endorse or monitor WBC.
But what many athletes believe they find in cryotherapy is a safe, fast and effective treatment for pain and inflammation. If ice bags strapped to knees are effective post-workout treatment, why not a super-duper-cold dry-ice-down quickie for the whole body?
“When I go in now and I’m real sore, there’s definitely a soothing feeling,” said Richard, who gets his cryo on several times a week. “It’s more soothing and relaxing to me than it is freezing cold,” like ice baths are.
Richard can recite the alleged scientific theory behind cryo. Basically, the intense cold tricks your brain into survival mode. Heavier blood flow is directed to the body’s core, sending extra oxygen and nutrients to the brain and other organs. Once you escape — uh, emerge — from the cryo tank, the blood immediately starts returning to the skin and extremities, accelerating (allegedly) cell renewal in the skin.
The process also (allegedly) releases endorphins, boosting your mood.
“When I get out of there,” Richard said, “within a couple of minutes I start feeling great, like I’m brand new all over again.”
For the sake of journalism, I decided to give it a whirl. My wife had been gifted a three-week course by a co-worker, and she passed it along to me. I went nearly every day. I’m probably not a good guinea pig, since I’m not a stressed and battered athlete. I do have rheumatoid arthritis, but it’s controlled by meds, so if cryo did help knock down my RA, I wouldn’t really feel it.
Still, let’s see what it’s all about. By coincidence, for a week before the first treatment, I suffered a bout of sciatica, a nerve condition that made it painful to sit in a car or at a desk.
There is a fear factor — call it trepidation — as I approach my first treatment. Later, Richard told me he was nervous the first time, too. I don’t want to chicken out. When you soak a sore foot or ankle in ice water, the cold can be intense and painful. What if it’s like that over my whole body, and I wimp out?
Inside the storefront studio in Walnut Creek I am instructed to step into a dressing room, strip down to undershorts, put on gloves and rubber booties, and a robe. Then I step into the cryo chamber, hand Amanda my robe, and she cranks up her high-tech ice-cream churn.
It is cold almost instantly. But at no point is there a painful, whimper-inducing shock, like a plunge into a cold ocean. It’s minus-190 or so, but hey, it’s a dry cold.
Amanda engages me in small talk, which definitely helps. Then, “Halfway there, doing OK?”
Diversion is the key. I try to come up with a Cryotherapy All-Star team. I get George “Iceman” Gervin, Red “The Wheaton Iceman” Grange, the old Pirates infielder Gene Freese, Vida Blue, Larry Burright, Stone Cold Steve Austin, J.T. Snow, Cool Papa Bell and Chili Davis.
Every 20 seconds or so Amanda instructs me to take a quarter turn. To get a nice, even blue skin tone, I guess.
The last minute is the coldest, but my overcoming-childish-fear endorphins are kicking in and I know I’ll make it.
“All done,” Amanda says, hitting the kill switch. The robe goes back on, I step out, Amanda shoots a laser at my leg to register skin temp.
Am I now desperate to sprint to the nearest hot tub, sauna or hot-chocolate dispenser? No, once out of the tank, I feel fine. No lingering cold.
What about the cryo-buzz from that endorphin stampede? Again, I’m probably the wrong guy. I don’t get endorphin rushes from exercise. But now I do feel energetic and wide awake.
Driving home, I notice that I am sitting with little discomfort. About a week later the sciatica symptoms are gone. Coincidence? I don’t know.
Within a few days I work up to Level 3, Ted Williams’ neighborhood. Richard told me that he not only does Level 3 but that he also jacks the temp even lower by having the attendant pre-cool the chamber. I did that once, and it got my attention. The last 30 seconds, I went to my Lamaze breathing.
Does cryotherapy work? Is it a miracle cure? Other than the sciatica relief, I seemed to feel a little less creaky in the joints, and a bit energized after the sessions. If not miraculously healed, I felt way cooler.
Story by Scott Ostler – Originally posted at sfchronicle.com
Book your cryotherapy session today: https://gocryosd.com/booknow/
Nowadays, whole-body cryotherapy is a medical physical treatment widely used in sports medicine. Recovery from injuries (e.g., trauma, overuse) and after-season recovery are the main purposes for application. However, the most recent studies confirmed the anti-inflammatory, anti-analgesic, and anti-oxidant effects of this therapy by highlighting the underlying physiological responses. In addition to its therapeutic effects, whole-body cryotherapy has been demonstrated to be a preventive strategy against the deleterious effects of exercise-induced inflammation and soreness. Novel findings have stressed the importance of fat mass on cooling effectiveness and of the starting fitness level on the final result. Exposure to the cryotherapy somehow mimics exercise, since it affects myokines expression in an exercise-like fashion, thus opening another possible window on the therapeutic strategies for metabolic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. From a biochemical point of view, whole-body cryotherapy not always induces appreciable modifications, but the final clinical output (in terms of pain, soreness, stress, and post-exercise recovery) is very often improved compared to either the starting condition or the untreated matched group. Also, the number and the frequency of sessions that should be applied in order to obtain the best therapeutic results have been deeply investigated in the last years. In this article, we reviewed the most recent literature, from 2010 until present, in order to give the most updated insight into this therapeutic strategy, whose rapidly increasing use is not always based on scientific assumptions and safety standards.
Local and systemic cold therapies (cryotherapies) are widely used to relieve symptoms of various diseases including inflammation, pain, muscle spasms, and swelling, especially chronic inflammatory ones, injuries, and overuse symptoms (Bettoni et al., 2013; Jastrzabek et al., 2013). The beneficial effects of cold as a therapeutic agent have been known for a long time, with ancient population aware about the reinvigorating effects of cold water either taken orally or used for baths. The use of cold, mainly locally, still remains in our daily common activities. A still up-to-date survey of a sample of Irish emergency physicians highlighted the fact that 73% of consultants frequently “prescribe” cold, 7% never suggest to use cryotherapy, and 30% is unsure about the benefits of using cold. Experience (47%) and common sense (27%) were the most frequently declared reasons for using ice, while only 17% referred to scientific reasoning (Collins, 2008).
Forty years ago, following personal observations of Prof. Toshiro Yamauchi (who recognized that the combination of cold and physical exercise was beneficial for clinical outcomes of treatments received by his patients’, affected by rheumatoid arthritis, coming back from mountain localities after winter holidays), whole-body cryotherapy was introduced into clinical practice (Yamauchi et al., 1981a,b).
At present, the use of very cold air in special, controlled chambers may be proposed for treating symptoms of various diseases (Bouzigon et al., 2016). Beside its clinical applications, a brief full body exposure to dry air at cryogenic temperatures lower than −110°C has become widely popular in sports medicine, often used to enhance recovery after injuries and to counteract inflammatory symptoms resulting from overuse or pathology (Furmanek et al., 2014). The number of studies about the use of whole-body cryotherapy (WBC) in sports medicine is growing, however, it is still lower than the topic’s potential if the wide range of application of this methodology is considered. Studies published on athletes had mainly focused on post-training or competitive season recovery. Only a limited number of papers had investigated the effects of WBC used in preparation phase for competitive season to enhance form and performance, or during periods of high intensity of training to limit overuse and overreaching. Studies should be acknowledged to define safety, effectiveness, and efficacy of the treatment in athletes and to discover underlying molecular mechanisms supporting the claimed beneficial effects.
This review article collects the most recent literature (since 2010, Banfi et al., 2010b) on whole-body cryotherapy with the purpose of delivering a complete and updated overview of the newest findings and the directions taken in research in this field. In particular, given the high number of new scientific findings mostly associated with great technological developments of this therapeutic method, this review discusses both technical aspects (i.e., therapeutic protocols, contraindications, thermoregulatory responses) and effects on a wide range of physiological (i.e., hematological, metabolic, energetic, endocrinological, skeletal, muscular, inflammatory) and functional parameters (post-exercise and post-traumatic recovery, pain, performance). We are aware of the limitations of this literature review. Almost all published research included in this review discuss results of using whole-body cryotherapy without providing any insight into molecular mechanisms involved in observed responses to the treatment. Also, although the review takes a non-systematic approach, an alternative meta-analysis would only offer a limited article coverage due to the type and, sometimes, the quality of available papers. Furthermore, we only reviewed reports on the WBC procedures performed in cryochambers (regardless of the cooling system, but considering the operating temperature); we do not consider treatments performed in cryosauna (also named cryocabins). Exposure to cold in a cryosauna cannot be deemed whole-body since during the treatment the head remains outside of the cabin. The two settings were concluded to, activate different molecular pathways and, possibly, exert different outcomes. Indeed, in a cryosauna, cooling is delivered through direct insufflation of liquid nitrogen vapors into the box. Free vapors are heavy and tend to remain within the cabin, below the chin; contrarily, in a nitrogen-cooled cryochamber liquid nitrogen fluxes through pipes inside the chamber’s wall, and thus, there is no free nitrogen within the chamber. These differences also account for different safety standards of these treatments: free nitrogen vapor in a cryosauna could be potentially hazardous due to the risk of asphyxia.
In the present paper we refer to “whole-body cryotherapy,” which is the most commonly used term to define the methodology, but also to “whole-body cryostimulation,” which better describes effects of WBC in improving the metabolic and inflammatory responses as well as in enhancing recovery from exercise and injuries. In contrast, the term “cryotherapy” refers to a real therapy aimed at treating painful symptoms of inflammatory or traumatic conditions.
Standardized protocol for WBC
WBC is performed in special chambers, with the temperature and humidity strictly controlled. A subject, minimally dressed (for e.g., bathing suit, socks, clogs, headband, and surgical mask to avoid direct exhalation of humid air), enters a vestibule chamber at −60°C, where he stays for about 30 s of body adaptation and then passes to a cryochamber at −110° to −140°C, depending on the cooling system (electrical or nitrogen), where he remains for no more than 3 min. It is mandatory to remove any sweat before entry to avoid the risk of skin burning and necrosis. Access to the chamber is allowed only in the presence of a skilled personnel, controlling the procedures. A patients is free to leave the chamber at any time.
Being a medical therapy, WBC should follow strict guidelines and indications. Currently accepted contraindications for WBC include: cryoglobulinaemia, cold intolerance, Raynaud disease, hypothyroidism, acute respiratory system disorders, cardio-vascular system diseases (unstable angina pectoris, cardiac failure in III and IV stage according to NYHA), purulent-gangrenous cutaneous lesions, sympathetic nervous system neuropathies, local blood flow disorders, cachexia, and hypothermia, as well as claustrophobia and mental disorders hindering cooperation with patients during the treatment. When performed in the appropriate and controlled conditions, WBC is a safe procedure, which was demonstrated to be deleterious neither for lung (Smolander et al., 2006) nor heart function (Banfi et al., 2009a); however, recorded observation of a very slight, clinically irrelevant increase in the systolic blood pressure (Lubkowska and Szygula, 2010) justifies precautions indicated for patients affected by cardiovascular conditions.
Studying body temperature modifications following WBC, in comparison to changes observed in response to other cooling techniques, represents a hot topic. This is thought to be important since cooling effectiveness is the function of temperature decrease within a certain range.
Shifts in skin temperature (Tsk) of chosen body regions monitored by thermography and contact thermometry, before and immediately after a single WBC session (30 s at −60°C, 3 min at −120°C) showed, for the first time, the influence of body mass index (BMI) on the range of alternations. The highest magnitude of temperature changes was observed within lower extremities (tibias: −8.7°C; feet: −5.2°C), the mean total body temperature decreased by 5.8°C, while the internal body temperature dropped only by 0.8°C. The mean changes of temperatures at different sites correlated with BMI (r = −0.46); for example, explicative images show that temperature decreased down to 8.1° and 7.9°C in a thin volunteer (BMI <25 kg/m2) and down to 4.8° and 5.5°C in an obese participant (BMI > 30 kg/m2), in the chest and back regions, respectively (Cholewka et al., 2012). Even more precisely than BMI, the fat-free mass index (FFMI: fat-free mass/height2) and body fat percentage in males were both found to correlate with changes in skin temperature following WBC, (Hammond et al., 2014). Body composition was, thus, observed to be one of the main determinants of potential temperature changes and, possibly, of therapy’s effectiveness. Cooling efficacy, indeed, differs between males and females as demonstrated by Hammond et al.; however, despite females having higher levels of adiposity than males, they experience greater mean temperature changes compared to males (12.07 ± 1.55°C vs. 10.12 ± 1.86°C). Compared to males, females have 20% smaller body mass, 14% more fat, 33% smaller lean body mass, and 18% smaller surface area, a higher subcutaneous to visceral fat ratio and a smaller ratio of fat mass index (FMI) to FFMI. Furthermore, females’ BSA-to-mass ratio is higher than males, and the heat loss increases proportionally to this ratio. Under cold stress, females have a more extensively vasoconstricted periphery, with greater surface heat losses and show a significantly reduced sensitivity of the shivering response. Taken together these evidences could explain the discrepancy in cooling efficiency between sexes (Hammond et al., 2014).
Costello analyzed reduction in skin, muscle (vastus lateralis, at 1, 2, and 3 cm) and rectal temperatures following a single exposure to either WBC (−110°C) or cold-water immersion (CWI, at 8°C). Immediately after these procedures, the maximum drop in Tsk was observed with WBC (−12.1 ± 1.0°C), marking a bigger drop compared to CWI (−8.8 ± 2.0°C). On the contrary, core (−0.3° to −0.4°C) and muscle (−1.2° to −2.0°C) temperatures shifted slightly with no differences between the two treatments and the maximum decrease occurring after 60 min (Costello et al., 2012b). Similar results were obtained on changes in Tsk at the patellar region; a greater drop was observed with WBC immediately after the procedure, while 10–60 min after the treatment a lower temperature was reached with CWI (Costello et al., 2014). Interestingly, the authors had set the question whether or not either WBC or CWI were capable of achieving the Tsk (<13°C) believed to be required for analgesic purposes (Bleakley and Hopkins, 2010), yet they concluded that this temperature was reached by neither of the two procedures (Costello et al., 2014). Zalewski et al. confirmed that the maximum drop in core temperature occurred 50–60 min post-WBC (Zalewski et al., 2014).
In a systematic review, comparing 10 controlled trials, considering either a 10 min-long ice pack application, 5 min CWI, or 2.5–3 min WBC (−110° to −195°C), the authors illustrated that the largest reduction in Tsk was obtained by the ice pack application due to the higher heat transfer constant (k = 2.18) compared to water (k = 0.58) and air (k = 0.024). The obtained results confirmed negligible intramuscular temperature variation regardless of the cooling modality as well as importance of adiposity in determining cooling efficiency (k = 0.23 vs. k = 0.46 of muscles; Bleakley et al., 2014).
In summary, the following reports have been made about the WBC treatment:
– WBC is a medical practice that must be performed in specialized facilities under supervision of a well-trained personnel.
– WBC has contraindications that must be considered before prescription.
– Cooling efficiency and, possibly, treatment effectiveness can be influenced by body composition.
– Due to differences in body composition, cooling efficiency is potentially greater in females than in males.
– WBC effectiveness in lowering Tsk exceeds that of CWI; muscle and core temperatures seem to decrease in a similar way in response to both treatments.
– The maximum decrease in core temperature has been noted 50–60 min post-WBC.
The study of hematological response to WBC allows to define a wide range of effects covering modification of oxygen supply potential, inflammatory response, and coagulation function.
Erythrocytes and hemoglobin
We studied hematological parameters, including iron metabolism ones, in 27 athletes belonging to National Italian Rugby Team, during a summer camp (Lombardi et al., 2013a). Two daily sessions of WBC (3 min, −140°C) were performed for seven consecutive days, one in the morning before the first training session, the second in the evening after the second training session. Athletes were strictly controlled for diet, especially the correct iron uptake. A typical plasma volume shift due to a prolonged training session of aerobic exercises was taken into account when interpreting the results. Among hematological parameters, erythrocytes (RBC), hematocrit (Ht), and hemoglobin (Hb) decreased noticeably; particularly, Hb decreased from 15.06 ± 0.84 to 14.70 ± 0.62 g/dL. Red cell distribution width (RDW) increased, indicating a rise of anisocytosis of RBC, although reticulocytes were stable, but the immature fraction of reticulocytes (IRF) was significantly decreased (Lombardi et al., 2013a). A decrease of hemoglobinization could be a specific feature of the WBC treatment. Indeed, a similar decrease of Hb (about 0.3 g/dL) and IRF had been previously reported in rugby players, however, in that case, RBC and Ht had not been affected (Banfi et al., 2008). This difference could be attributable to a milder WBC protocol, with only five WBC (one per day, at −110°C). The decrease in the levels of Hb as well as RBC and Ht, is transitory and it recovered during continuative treatments as demonstrated by Szygula and colleagues in a study performed on students of the Polish National Military Academy, who can be considered physically active subjects, continuously performing exercises and controlled for variables as diet and lifestyle (Szygula et al., 2014). Recruited cadets were divided into two groups of 15 subjects; one group was treated with WBC, the other did not receive the treatment. Hematological parameters were measured after 10, 20, and 30 sessions, which were performed daily in a cryochamber at −130°C, for 3 min. After 10 sessions, Hb decreased from a mean of 15.1 ± 0.74–14.4 ± 0.94 g/dL and remained at this concentration after 20 sessions (14.5 ± 0.71 g/dL). It then rose to 15.1 ± 1.1 g/dL after 30 sessions. Similar changes were observed for Ht and RBC. The decrease of Hb, RBC and Ht lasted through 20 sessions of the WBC treatment; then the bone marrow reacted by releasing new RBCs (Szygula et al., 2014). A decrease in Hb and RBC was already described in elite Polish field hockey players after 18 sessions of WBC (Straburzyńska-Lupa et al., 2007). Hb also showed a decreasing though not statistically significant trend, dropping from 15.0 ± 1.0 to 14.4 ± 0.8 g/dL, in nine collegiate physically active subjects, who had completed 30 min step up/down exercise, aimed at inducing delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and had been treated with two daily WBC sessions for 5 consecutive days. In opposite, the control group, which had undergone the same DOMS-inducing training without the WBC or any other recovery treatment, experienced stable levels of Hb (Ziemann et al., 2014). Nevertheless, some data revealed that Hb and RBC were stable in 12 professional tennis players, following 10 sessions of WBC applied twice a day, at –120°C for 3 min, over 5 days, during a controlled training camp (Ziemann et al., 2012) as well as in 16 kayakers treated twice a day for the first 10 days of a 19 day physical training cycle (Sutkowy et al., 2014). It is thus, possible that shifts in Hb and RBC induced by WBC are dependent on the discipline and baseline hematological profile. This issue, however, still has not been investigated. Mean curpuscular volume (MCV) grew following the WBC treatment applied in rugby players and in field hockey players (Straburzyńska-Lupa et al., 2007; Lombardi et al., 2013a); in the latter group values of MCV, mean curpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), and of mean curpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) remained elevated up to a week after the end of the treatment (Straburzyńska-Lupa et al., 2007).
A slight dehemoglobinazion has two direct consequences. Firstly, since the OFF-score, a parameter used to calculate the probability of blood doping in athletes, depends on Hb concentration and Ret count (Sottas et al., 2010; Robinson et al., 2011; which remained stable), WBC may reduce the result of this score and, thus, cannot be considered a performance enhancing practice. On the other hand, the use of WBC to mask illicit practices is unjustified because the potential decrease in Hb is too small and the change itself is short-lasting and/or temporary (Lombardi et al., 2013a). Secondly, the decrease in Hb and RBC should be considered when the timeline of recovery strategies, within a competitive season, is drawn.
Martial status was not modified after the treatment in 27 rugby players submitted to two daily WBC sessions for 7 consecutive days (Lombardi et al., 2013a). Only soluble transferring receptor (sTfR) increased significantly, but not pathologically, possibly demonstrating initial high functional iron demand (Lombardi et al., 2013b). Similar results were obtained in a more recent paper by Dulian and colleagues. Regardless of the fitness level, in a cohort of obese subjects (BMI > 30 kg/m2), serum iron and ferritin remained unchanged after the 1st and 10th WBC session. Only hepcidin, a hepatocyte-derive peptide hormone mediating iron depletion in inflammation (Lombardi et al., 2013b), decreased moderately (Dulian et al., 2015).
WBC enhances hemolysis, which could explain the Hb decrease during initial phase of the treatment. A decrease of haptoglobin, scavenger protein for free Hb released from broken RBC was described in the above-mentioned paper by Szygula and co-workers, after 10 and 20 WBC sessions, but a recovery appeared after 30 sessions, following the changes in Hb and RBC. Contemporarily, bilirubin increased, reflecting Hb catabolism. Hemolysis stimulated release of erythropoietin (EPO), which increased by 4.5% compared to baseline after 10 sessions, and further by 10.8 and 10.1% after 20 and 30 sessions, respectively, possibly supporting the recovery of RBC number after the initial decrease. Even in the case of EPO, the shifts in concentrations remained within physiological ranges (Szygula et al., 2014).
Levels of leukocytes did not show any changes after 14 sessions of WBC (twice a day, over 7 days) in the group of 27 rugby players, belonging to National Italian Rugby Team, studied during a summer camp (Lombardi et al., 2013a). The same was found for the group of 16 kayakers treated twice a day for the first 10 days of a 19 day physical training cycle (Sutkowy et al., 2014).
At the same time, leukocytes increased in the students of the Polish Military Academy after 10 and 20 sessions, but returned to baseline values after 30 sessions. The increase trend covered both granulocytes and lymphocytes (Szygula et al., 2014). Similar increase was also reported in tennis players, but not for subcategories of granulocytes and lymphocytes (Ziemann et al., 2012). Despite the increase, leukocytes always remained within the physiological range. Mobilization of leukocytes from the bone marrow and organs of residence has been hypothesized as a possible cause of these increases although an explanation of this phenomenon is still lacking.
In endurance trained runners, a simulated 45 min trail run, designed specifically to trigger exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD), followed by four sessions of WBC applied once a day, resulted in an increase in neutrophil count of 114% compared to baseline, with the maximum peak recorded 1 h after the exercise. The correspondent increase in neutrophils, following passive recovery, accounted for 101% shift against baseline. The authors hypothesized that the increase of circulating neutrophils stimulated angiogenesis (via vascular endothelial growth factor—VEGF expression) and the consequent improved perfusion was associated with a reduced delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) and, hence, an improved recovery (Pournot et al., 2011).
Platelets did not shift in response to WBC sessions applied in groups of rugby and tennis players (Lombardi et al., 2013a; Ziemann et al., 2014) nor students of the Polish Military Academy (Szygula et al., 2014).
In summary, the following reports have been made about the WBC treatment:
– WBC causes a decrease in Hb, Ht, and RBC after 5, 10, and 20 sessions. A recovery of hemoglobinization is reached after 30 sessions. Ret counts remains unaffected by WBC.
– The effect of WBC on RBC and Hb can be influenced by the type and intensity of physical training since in some groups of athletes these changes did not occur.
– Hemolysis may be the cause behind the drop in RBC, Hb, and Ht following the WBC treatment of 10–20 sessions.
– EPO is induced in the course of WBC with the aim to recover to baseline levels of RBC and Hb.
– WBC should not have a boosting effect on bone marrow and is not influencing athletes’ hematological parameters usually controlled to test for illicit bone marrow stimulation.
– The level of leukocytes either does not change or only slightly increases in response to WBC. Cryotherapy possibly mobilizes leukocytes, especially neutrophils, with a positive effect on DOMS.
– Platelets are not affected by WBC.
Performance recovery using different cooling methods, especially CWI and contrast water immersion, has been extensively studied so far. Their average effect on recovery of trained athletes is rather limited, as reported in a recent review, but under appropriate conditions (whole-body cooling, recovery from sprint exercise) post-exercise cooling has positive effects even for elite athletes (Poppendieck et al., 2013).
Positive effects induced by WBC after 96 h were reported in 18 physically active subjects, who performed a single maximal eccentric contractions of the left knee extensors, through two WBC sessions (−110°C) 24 and 48 h after exercise. The effects were negative at 24 and 48 h post-exercise (Costello et al., 2012a). Positive effects were also reported 24 and 48 h after the treatment in nine runners completing a simulated 48-min trail run, submitted to three WBC sessions, immediately after the exercise as well as 1 and 2 days after (Hausswirth et al., 2011).
Eleven endurance athletes were tested twice in a randomized crossover design with 5 × 5 min of high intensity running followed by 1 h of passive recovery, including either WBC (−110°C, 3 min) or a 3 min walk. Time-to-exhaustion difference between a ramp-test protocol before running and 1 h post-recovery was lower in WBC-treated subjects. WBC improves acute recovery during high-intensity intermittent exercise in thermoneutral conditions. This could be induced by enhanced oxygenation of the working muscles as well as by reduction of cardiovascular strain and increased work economy at submaximal intensities (Krüger et al., 2015). In addition to beneficial effects on inflammation and muscle damage, WBC induces peripheral vasoconstriction, which improves muscle oxygenation (Hornery et al., 2005), lowers submaximal heart rate and increases stroke volume (Zalewski et al., 2014), stimulates autonomic nervous parasympathetic activity and increases norepinephrine (Hausswirth et al., 2013). These effects favor post-exercise recovery and induce analgesia (Krüger et al., 2015).
Although these evidences, a recent meta-analysis by Bleakley et al., based on a small number of randomized studies, highlighted that WBC sustains improvements in subjective recovery and muscle soreness following metabolic or mechanical overload, but little benefit toward functional recovery (Bleakley et al., 2014). The authors concluded that, until further researches will be available, less expensive cooling modality (local ice-pack, cold water immersion) would be used in order to gain the same physiological and clinical effects to WBC.
Three-minute WBC exposure significantly differ from a 1–2-min exposure. Blood volume decreased within vastus lateralis and gastrocnemius occurred 0–5 min after WBC in 14 professional rugby players. Oxyhemoglobin and deoxyhemoglobin increased in 15 min post-WBC, reaching baseline values indicative of venous pooling. Extreme cold induces vasodilation after constriction in very short time. Gastrocnemius is more susceptible to pooling at all exposure times than vastus lateralis. Two-minute WBC exposure causes changes in core and Tsk, tissue oxygenation in vastus lateralis, and gastrocnemius and thermal sensation. The optimum exposure time is 30 s at −60°C followed by 2 min WBC at −135°C (Selfe et al., 2014).
It is also crucial to keep a constant temperature between two consecutive treatments. Door opening and subject permanence within a chamber increase temperature and reduce therapeutic effectiveness, particularly for electrical cryochambers, but also for liquid nitrogen-cooled chambers. A 2 min wait between two consecutive treatments would allow temperature recovery to therapeutic levels.
The number of sessions is crucial for WBC effectiveness, as previously discussed. A recent Cochrane review, reporting on the absence of beneficial effects of WBC on prevention and treatment of muscle soreness in athletes, involves on only four papers. One out of these four papers talked about six treatments in cryocabin, the other two investigated the effects of a single treatment in a cryochamber and the final one reported the effects of only three treatments in a cryochamber (Costello et al., 2015). A single session is probably not sufficient to exert any significant effect. Twenty consecutive sessions should be a minimum for effectiveness evaluation; 30 sessions should be the optimum, because a complete hematological and immunological recovery after the initial response is possible (Szygula et al., 2014). Studies evaluating long-term WBC treatment are not easily performable in professional athletes during competitive seasons, but they could be proposed during training and summer camps. Although offseason injuries are rarer than contusions incurred during competitions, it is important to note that standardization of exercise and training offseason is more easily achievable.
Furthermore, randomization is very difficult, if not impossible, to be proposed to elite athletes, and professional teams: the treatment is proposed to improve recovery or to prevent injuries, thus, it should not be limited to a subgroup of athletes. On the other hand, when WBC is used for accelerating recovery from trauma/injury, only injured athletes are treated. Crossover studies could be more easily performed during training camps (but not during competitive season), but they would be only devoted to physiological modifications and not to recovery.
Different, and sometime discrepant results presented in current literature could be attributable to different levels of subjects ranging from “physically active” to “elite” to “national/international selection.” A stratification of WBC effects should be evoked for different subjects, because of different adaptation to effort, recovery capacity/velocity, and energy metabolism.
Based on the findings here collected, the majority of evidence supports effectiveness of WBC in relieving symptomatology of the whole set of inflammatory conditions that could affect an athlete. A small number of studies that did not report any positive effects should, however, not be neglected. The same applies to improvement of post-exercise recovery, and noteworthy, to limiting or even preventing EIMD. The perception of WBC is changing from a conventionally intended symptomatic therapy to a stimulating treatment able to enhance the anti-inflammatory and -oxidant barriers and to counteract harmful stimuli. Importantly, cooling effectiveness depends on the percentage of fat mass of a subject and the starting fitness level. These results, combined with evidence that WBC somehow mimics exercise, at least in its ability to induce a pulsatile expression of myokines (IL-6, irisin), open another window of possible therapeutic strategies for obesity and type 2 diabetes.
As above highlighted, some of the applied WBC protocols have been ineffective in inducing appreciable modifications of certain biochemical parameters. However, in these cases, the final clinical output (in a subjective assessment: in terms of pain, soreness, stress, and recovery) was significantly improved even when compared to other recovery strategies.
WBC, used either as a therapy or stimulation, is a medical treatment and as such it has contraindications and standard safety procedures. The undeniable risks for the users can be rendered negligible if all the procedures are conducted following precise rules under supervision of highly-skilled personnel. If these procedures are carefully followed, WBC is absolutely safe.
Originally published in Frontiers in Physiology by Giovanni Lombardi, Ewa Ziemann and Giuseppe Banfi1
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Cryotherapy, generally speaking, is the use of extremely cold temperatures to treat an array of issues; if you’ve ever had a wart frozen off or taken an ice bath to soothe post-yoga soreness, you’ve technically experienced it. Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC), a treatment which involves enclosing oneself in a controlled environment with temperatures of at least -230 degrees Fahrenheit for three minutes, originated in Japan in the 1970’s to treat Arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Its apparent physiological, emotional, and beauty benefits have since made it popular among professional athletes, celebrities, and trend-loving wellness buffs.
Much of the existing research on Cryotherapy focuses on its effects on muscle repair and athletic performance. Sports teams including the New York Knicks apparently have their own tanks, and stars including Kobe Bryant and LeBron take the plunge to speed recovery and enhance performance. A study conducted by the National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance, found that Whole Body Cryotherapy significantly decreases pro-inflammatory cytokines, which equals decreased aches and pains and faster recovery from muscle trauma.
While a growing number of doctors and researchers are on board with Cryotherapy for sports injury treatment, the scientific jury is still out for its other uses. According to New York-based dermatologist Dr. Aaron Farberg, who conducted a study on the effects of Cryotherapy on skin rejuvenation, there is no sufficient evidence that it increases collagen production, despite claims from Cryo-spas and celebrities including Jessica Alba and Jennifer Aniston touting its anti-aging benefits. As for Cryotherapy’s effects on mood, many participants in Farberg’s study reported euphoric feelings and increased energy levels immediately post-treatment, though Farberg notes the evidence is, so far, purely anecdotal.
So, I gave it a try. I walk into KryoLife, an unassuming clinic tucked away in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Adorned with succulents, tables fashioned from petrified wood, and organic teas with names like “calm” and “detox”, the breezy clinic is not unlike a trendy Brooklynite’s apartment. I’m greeted by a model-esq receptionist who, in her Australian lilt, tells me to follow her into a room where I’m to strip down to my underwear. I’m given two pairs of super-thick socks, a robe, mittens, a towel, and a pair of rubber slippers. “Make sure you dry off completely,” she warns as she closes the door behind me; moisture increases the risk of frostbite, as per the medical waiver I’d signed moments before. I break out in a nervous sweat, which I attempt to quell with the hand towel I’d be given– to no avail. “I’m nervous” I peep, as I reemerge into the lobby, robe-clad. “This happens a lot with first-timers,” she assures me with a smile. “Just relax and dry off.”
10 minutes and a few breathing exercises later, I feel as ready as I’ll ever be. I enter the treatment room to an ethereally handsome man whom, I’m told, will operate the Cryo machine while surveying me. (I wonder, half-seriously, why a Cryotherapy practice would hire someone who looks like that: Surely his presence increases the risk of sweating, and thus frostbite?)
The chamber itself looks like some sort of galactic, futuristic coffin; a cylindrical vessel padded with material reminiscent of lunchbox interior. The technician activates the chamber and Nitrogen vapor billows out in intimidating white clouds. Perhaps because he sees fear flooding my face, or perhaps because it’s policy, he assures me that the Nitrogen is safe at such a low concentration. The only rule: Keep my head bobbing above the chamber to avoid dizziness or, god forbid, fainting.
I step in and derobe. I’m naked with the exception of socks, mittens, and underwear. The capsule is chilly, but not at all unpleasant; one could even argue it’s a respite from the sweltering New York City heat. Before I know it–the Cryo is complete. I’m handed my robe and a piping hot cup of detox tea, as I’m led to a stationary bike, where I start pedaling to reinstate blood flow to my limbs.
The theory is this: Exposure to extremely cold temperatures activates the body’s fight or flight response, which diverts blood flow from extremities (arms, legs) to the vital organs to protect them from freezing. Meanwhile, blood leaves any inflamed, injured areas. Upon returning to normal temperatures, reoxygenated blood pumps through the body, leaving you feeling revitalized and refreshed.
After surviving the Nitrogen tank, I found myself craving more Cryo. I ended up at The Fuel Stop; a trendy Cryo-centric wellness center whose celeb-studded Instagram is incentive enough to check it out. The founder of The Fuel Stop, Mila–a seemingly ageless woman–greets me as if I were an old friend. I’d spoken to her about the possibility of coming in for a Cryo treatment and she’d insisted I stop by to try the latest and greatest in Cryo tech: A full-body chamber. Unlike the traditional Nitrogen tanks, the chamber’s technology allows you to breathe ambient air in an actual Cryo room.
But why bypass the traditional Nitrogen tank and subject yourself to an entire room of subzero temperatures? Mila explains she’d used the Nitrogen tank for years, but felt she wasn’t receiving WBC’s full benefits. “It’s like going into a sauna and leaving your head out” she shrugs. As per her research, immersing your head into the extreme temperature stimulates the vagus nerve, which runs from the top of your head all the way down your spine, and is responsible for regulating the body’s nervous systems. Stimulating the vagus nerve, she explains, regulates everything from mood, energy levels, and immunity.
Scantily clad, I step into the chamber, which is about the size of a walk-in closet. DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts” plays through speakers (I’d chosen the song before my treatment) and I shimmy as if I’m not prickly and numb. Admittedly, the whole-body treatment is miles more uncomfortable than the Nitrogen tank–an almost lung-crushing cold at the two minute mark– but I keep my eyes on Mila, who is dancing along with me on the other side of the glass. After three minutes, I practically fly out of the chamber, numb, wobbly, and–to my surprise–grinning uncontrollably. I feel unexplainably energized yet zen, as if I’ve chugged a vat of coffee while lying in savasana. The “Cyro High” is real, and it’s truly indescribable. “That’s dopamine and endorphins,” Mila beams. “I told you!”
After the treatment, I’m relaxed. It costs $75 a treatment, and, though research is limited relative to conventional treatments, Cryotherapy is one of the most all-encompassing wellness treatments to date. Besides, surviving subzero temperatures is one heck of a story to tell.
Originally published in Wmagazine by Sophie Wirt
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It’s getting towards the busy end of the year and the extra demands on our time can interfere with our healthy routines and increase our levels of stress. There are some simple stress relieving ideas that we can try, like exercise. It’s a good way of reducing stress because when endorphins are released, our mood is elevated and it helps us think more clearly.
Some people are great at maintaining their exercise regimes all year round, while for others it’s the sunshine and warmer weather that gets us back at the pool, the gym, yoga class or hitting the pavement. The problem is that aches and pains from underworked muscles or unhealed injuries can make the transition back into exercise a bit of a challenge.
Whole body cryotherapy (CRYO) can help with that return to a more active lifestyle. CRYO has a holistic benefit that supports muscle and joint recovery and promotes the release of endorphins and serotonin to improve our moods and sharpen our cognitive functions. CRYO has also been recognised as having a positive, therapeutic effect on the body’s central nervous system, helping to relieve the impact of stress on the body.
CRYO sessions are beneficial when included as part of a balanced health and wellbeing routine and can aid muscle recovery and repair, motion and flexibility, stress relief and weight loss. When combined with a nutritious, healthy diet and exercise, CRYO can burn between 2000−3300 kilojoules per session and help get your body into great shape for summer.
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Sitting in a cold tank might seem an odd path to health. But the trend, which goes by the name of cryotherapy, is becoming increasingly popular.
People, including self-described “Iceman” Wim Hof, claim that extreme cold can improve mental and physical health and even prolong life. So what does the science say?
Research on cryotherapy is as new as is the trend for the treatment. So doctors do not fully understand all the potential benefits and risks of the process.
In this article, we look at some of the possible benefits to be had from cryotherapy healing, as well as other facts a person may need to know before they consider it.
Fast facts on cryotherapy:
The most popular form of cryotherapy involves sitting in a cryotherapy booth for 3–5 minutes.
Some people undergo cryotherapy facials, which apply cold to the face only. Others use a cryotherapy wand to target specific areas, such as a painful joint.
Most people use the term cryotherapy to refer to whole-body cryotherapy.
Research may eventually undermine other purported benefits of cryotherapy. However, preliminary studies suggest that cryotherapy may offer the following benefits:
Cryotherapy can help with muscle pain, as well as some joint and muscle disorders, such as arthritis. It may also promote faster healing of athletic injuries.
Doctors have long recommended using ice packs on injured and painful muscles. Doing so may increase blood circulation after the ice pack is removed, promoting healing and pain relief.
A study published in 2000 found that cryotherapy offered temporary relief from the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. The research found that cryotherapy with ice packs could reduce the damaging effects of intense exercise. People who used cryotherapy also reported less pain.
Another 2017 study also supports the benefits of cryotherapy for relieving muscle pain and speeding healing. However, the study found that cold water immersion was more effective than whole-body cryotherapy.
Not all studies support the role of cryotherapy in muscle healing. A 2015 Cochrane Review looked at four studies of cryotherapy for the relief of muscle pain and found no significant benefits.
Cryotherapy alone will not cause weight loss, but it could support the process. In theory, being cold forces the body to work harder to stay warm.
Some cryotherapy providers claim that a few minutes of cold can increase metabolism all day. Eventually, they claim, people no longer feel cold because their metabolism has adjusted and increased in response to the cold temperature.
A small 2016 study found no significant changes in body composition after 10 sessions of cryotherapy.
Because cryotherapy helps with muscle pain, it could make it easier to get back to a fitness routine following an injury. This potential weight loss benefit is limited to people who cannot or will not exercise because of pain.
Inflammation is one way the immune system fights infection. Sometimes the immune system becomes overly reactive. The result is chronic inflammation, which is linked to health problems, such as cancer, diabetes, depression, dementia, and arthritis.
As such, reducing inflammation could also improve overall health and reduce the risk of numerous chronic ailments.
Some studies suggest that cryotherapy can reduce inflammation. However, most research has been done on rats, so to confirm the data, more research is needed on people.
If cryotherapy reduces inflammation, it could also reduce the risk of developing dementia.
A 2012 paper puts forward the possibility of cryotherapy being able to reduce the inflammation and oxidative stress associated with dementia, mild cognitive impairment, and other age-related forms of cognitive decline.
Because whole body cryotherapy might reduce inflammation, it is possible it could also lower the risk of developing cancer.
So far, there is no evidence that cryotherapy can treat cancer once the disease has developed. However, medical cryotherapy is a well-established treatment for certain forms of cancer.
A doctor might use cryotherapy to freeze off cancer cells on the skin or cervix and occasionally to remove other cancers.
Research findings that cryotherapy may reduce inflammation suggest that it could treat mental health conditions linked to inflammation. Some preliminary research on cryotherapy and mental health also supports this claim.
A small 2008 study found that in a third of people with depression or anxiety, cryotherapy reduced symptoms by at least 50 percent. This was a much greater reduction than in people who did not undergo cryotherapy.
The chronic inflammatory skin condition known as eczema can cause intensely itchy patches of dry skin. A small 2008 study of people with eczema had participants stop using eczema medications. They then tried cryotherapy. Many of them saw improvements in their eczema symptoms, though some complained of frostbite on small areas of the skin.
Targeted cryotherapy that focuses on the neck may help prevent migraine headaches. In a 2013 study, researchers applied cryotherapy to the necks of people who had migraines. The treatment reduced but did not eliminate their pain.
Anecdotal evidence suggests cryotherapy may help with a range of concerns, including slowing or reversing skin aging, supporting fat loss, preventing chronic diseases, and others.
Originally posted at Medical News Today
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The benefits of Whole Body Cryotherapy are significantly different to that of an ice bath. While submerged in icy water, your body attempts to keep the skin’s surface from freezing by sending warm blood to the peripheral tissues. During this 15-25 minute process, the body is constantly fighting the physical cold. Your blood begins to cool as it reaches your skin tissues, which results in a decrease in your core body temperature. Overexposure can result in muscle tissue damage and even hypothermia in severe cases.
With Cryotherapy, your skin temperature will be the only part of your body that cools down temporarily. When the skin receptors sense the sudden change in temperature, the body naturally constricts your veins and sends blood from the skin, muscles and surrounding joint spaces to the body’s core. As the blood begins to circulate through the cardiovascular system, it is cleansed of toxins and enriched with several different nutrients. Upon exiting the chamber, the body instantly vasodilates, which sends the cleansed and fortified blood to the rest of the body.
Let’s face it, when it comes to recovery the majority of us just don’t have time for it. In fact, most of us barely have time to squeeze in a workout. Finding time for a 20-30 minute ice bath is very difficult, not to mention hauling 40lbs of ice to your bath tub. A single Cryotherapy session only takes 2-3 minutes, and will be much more effective for your recovery. You can be in and out of a Cryotherapy appointment within 10 minutes and get on with the rest of your day. Ice baths require a change of wardrobe and a 20-30 minute thaw out period.
If you take ice baths at a training center, the majority of the tubs are re-used for each session. Most athletes will pour out some water and add ice after the previous session. These are often athletes who have just finished a workout and are sweaty and dirty. Because of this, people have been known to acquire staph infections and other hygienic issues. A Cryotherapy chamber is virtually untouched by clients whom are wearing gloves as well as socks and slippers. This makes the whole experience much more sanitary than your ordinary ice bath.
Any athlete that is used to taking ice baths will say that Whole Body Cryotherapy is a walk in the park! Standing in a dry cold chamber for 3 minutes is so much easier than sitting in a wet ice bath for 15-25 minutes. If you don’t believe us, come try it out for yourself!
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When the skin’s surface is introduced to the -200ºF temperatures during Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC), the cold sensors in the skin send a strong signal to the brain that triggers an “emergency survival mode” response. The body then immediately constricts blood flow in the outer layers of the body, which sends all of that blood to your body’s core where it is circulated through an “internal cycle” and kept warm. While in this “emergency survival mode,” all of your body’s resources and reserves are activated, and your body’s innate self-healing abilities are put into overdrive. This results in your blood being enriched with the additional oxygen, nutrients, enzymes, and hormones that are needed for survival under these “perceived” extreme circumstances.
When you finish your WBC treatment, your body senses that it is no longer in danger of freezing and opens up all of the blood vessels in your peripheral tissues. This allows all of that nutrient-rich blood to rush back out to your skin and extremities where it can be effectively used for self healing.
Besides the obvious benefits of having nutrient rich blood flow through all of your internal organs and then out to your skin and extremities, the “emergency mode response” triggered by WBC may also result in more efficient removal of dead cells from the body, more effective rejuvenation of your internal organs, more effective toxin removal from subcutaneous levels, and more effective cell renewal throughout your body.
Let’s be honest, the reason young people heal faster than older people is because they have better blood flow and more nutrient rich blood. By stimulating such a powerful flow of nutrient-rich blood throughout all levels of your body, WBC is simply assisting your body in its constant efforts to heal itself.
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With Whole Body Cryotherapy, your skin gets really cold, really fast. This naturally induces a huge circulatory response in the body that constricts your veins and sends the majority of the blood to your core. This response tremendously slows down the release of white blood cells into the body (white blood cells cause pain, inflammation, and impede healing).
Anyone recovering from any injury or surgery can tremendously benefit from Cryotherapy!
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