Whole-body cryotherapy: what are the cold hard facts

Immersing oneself in air frozen to as low as -160C has its sporting champions – including Leicester City and the Welsh rugby team – but does it stand up to scientific scrutiny?

What do sports stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Jamie Vardy and Sam Warburton have in common? It is nothing to do with goals, tries or fast cars. All three regularly undergo whole-body cryotherapy, an extreme-cold treatment that proponents say can speed recovery, reduce injuries, increase energy and improve sleep.

Two major sporting achievements have helped drive a boom in its use. Some saw it as a decisive factor in the Welsh rugby union team reaching the 2011 World Cup semi-finals, while others believe it helped Leicester City overcome odds of 5,000-1 to win last season’s Premier League title. Today, it is used at the top level in many sports and is increasingly being marketed to keen amateurs seeking an edge.

Beauty salons and spas claim it can burn calories, improve our skin and make us happier. Almost inevitably, Lindsay Lohan, Jennifer Aniston and Daniel Craig are reported to be fans. So far, so profitable. But does whole-body cryotherapy work? Or more realistically, are the claims made for it supported by sound scientific evidence?

If you have ever put a bag of frozen peas on an injury, you have used cryotherapy. The use of cold in medicine has a long history, from freezing warts and killing cancer cells, to slowing metabolic processes during trauma surgery. Whole-body cryotherapy takes place in sauna-style, walk-in chambers, with sessions normally lasting just two or three minutes. Those using liquid nitrogen to cool the air inside them can get down as low as -160C.

First developed in Japan, the therapy arrived in Europe in the 80s. In Poland, it is used to treat many conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, sleep disorders and depression.

“It helps recovery and rehabilitation processes,” says Ian Saunders, co-founder of CryoAction, a UK company that supplies many top rugby and football teams with cryotherapy facilities. “Vasoconstriction reduces blood flow to the extremities, which reduces inflammation around soft-tissue injuries, stopping them progressing. The release of adrenalin relieves pain and generates the feelings of exhilaration that players report.”

The evidence from scientific studies, however, is mixed. In 2015, a small German study found endurance athletes recovered more quickly and were able to perform better in the second of two running tests separated by an hour if they underwent whole-body cryotherapy in between. A Cochrane review – the gold standard in healthcare evidence – pooled the results of four previous studies involving 64 physically active adults and concluded there was insufficient evidenceto support its use to relieve muscle soreness after exercise.

“We saw some potential in the initial evidence of beneficial effects, but until more evidence and better-quality studies are published, we can’t say for sure whether it is effective or not,” says Dr Joseph Costello, lead author of the Cochrane review and senior lecturer in exercise physiology at the University of Portsmouth.

Proponents say whole-body cryotherapy activates the body’s “fight or flight” mechanisms, driving extra energy to muscles and narrowing blood vessels so that fewer inflammation-causing white blood cells reach injuries. Extreme cold may have some of these effects, but some of the claims made for the treatment on this basis are extrapolations based on flimsy and often contradictory evidence. Another company, 111Cryo, has launched 3-minute whole-body cryotherapy sessions in both Harvey Nichols and Harrods in London in the last year, claiming these can boost focus, determination and energy levels, as well as improving skin tone and burning up to 800 calories. Of the calorie-burning claim, 111Cryo founder Dr Yannis Alexandrides, a Harley Street plastic surgeon, admits: “It’s an extrapolation, not medical data.”

One French study found the therapy had no significant effect on adrenalin levels. Some research has suggested it reduces levels of inflammation markers and the stress hormone cortisol, while increasing testosterone, but other studies have produced contradictory results.

The BMI private hospital in Hendon, north London, charges £50 for a whole-body cryotherapy session and states that it can help treat rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, tendinitis, muscle strains and back pain”. The US Food and Drug Administration last year stated there was insufficient evidence to support such claims.

The therapy certainly lowers tissue temperatures. A 2014 study carried out on rugby players found it caused falls of up to 12C on the skinAnother study recorded drops in muscle temperature of between 1.2C to 1.6C.

Of course, there are other ways to cool the body. Tennis star Andy Murray and other athletes swear by sitting in cold, or even ice-filled, baths after exertion to ease pain and recovery. Research published last month found men who underwent cold-water immersion at 8C for 10 minutes saw greater drops in tissue temperatures and bloodflow than those who did whole body cryotherapy at -110C for two minutes.

So if greater effects can be achieved with cold water, why bother with whole body cryotherapy? “We’re yet to find anybody who says they prefer the invasive, penetrative cold of cold water immersion to being in a cryotherapy chamber,” says Saunders.

So what does it actually feel like? I went to the Saracens rugby union team training ground in St Albans to find out. Bare-chested and in shorts, knee-length socks, a woolly hat, gloves and a face mask, I spent two-and-a-half minutes in a CryoAction chamber, which reached -125C. It was cold, similar to being near an open chest freezer. I felt no exhilaration and my aches from a run the previous day were still present two days later.

Perhaps my problem was scepticism. Research has shown that when patients attend a medical facility and are told a procedure can reduce pain, this can itself boost levels of neurotransmitters that can improve symptoms. “Even if whole-body cryotherapy isn’t having any direct physiological impact, someone who believes it is doing so might experience a powerful placebo effect that could be beneficial to recovery,” says Costello.

Costello remains open-minded about the therapy’s powers pending further research, but points out amateurs can probably achieve more by focusing on the basics. “Interventions such as cryotherapy are 1%-ers that elite athletes, for whom such margins are important, might want to explore. Recreational athletes might be better focusing on the 99%-ers – rest, rehydration, refuelling and allowing the appropriate time to repair.”

This article appears in the July 24, 2017 issue of The Guardian

Should You Try Whole Body Cryotherapy?

LEASHA WEST’S BODY HAS been through the wringer.

As a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and former combat instructor, she hiked 15-plus miles several times a week with a 150-pound pack on her back. The bottoms of her feet turned raw and blistered, her toenails fell off, her legs went numb. “It’s not uncommon to have blood in your stool” from the training regimen, says West, who served from 1998 to 2002. “My body took a serious beating.”

But the 42-year-old – who lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and spends her winters in Texas – hasn’t stopped. In addition to running her own insurance agency, she regularly runs, lifts weights and swims.

And, for three minutes every morning for the past two months, she’s stepped, nearly naked, into a negative 250 degree F (or colder) chamber. That’s more than twice as cold as dry ice.

“It’s the best way to start [the day],” says West, who pays $269 a month for unlimited treatments – called whole body cryotherapy – although single sessions can run up to $100 in some areas of the country. What for? Initially, to ease her back pain and muscle stiffness after hearing rave reviews from her professional athlete clients. But West also appreciates its added benefits. Namely: more energy and focus, a boosted metabolism, improved tolerance to cold and pain, faster-growing hair and nails, younger-looking skin and sounder sleep – even though she never had a problem snoozing to begin with. “You will not believe the crazy energy it gives you,” she says.

Whole body cryotherapy, which essentially means “cold treatment,” is a procedure that exposes the body to temperatures colder than negative 200 degrees F for two to four minutes. While it’s been used to treat conditions such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis in Japan since the late 1970s, it’s only been used in Western countries for the past few decades, primarily to alleviate muscle soreness for elite athletes, according to a 2015 paper in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

But now, it’s being promoted by spas as a way to lose weight, improve skin, boost mood and more – despite the fact that it’s not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and isn’t intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease,” according to Cryohealthcare, a company that makes cryotherapy equipment.

“Cryotherapy is well-established for treatment of athletic injuries,” says Dr. Jon Schriner, the medical director of the Michigan Center for Athletic Medicine in Flushing, Michigan. “To carry it into weight loss and other benefits is not mainstream.”

But people like West swear by it. While it feels cold right away, the time passes quickly, she says. “You’re going to get the shivers; you’re not going to feel like you’re frozen,” she says, noting that the treatment just penetrates the skin, so the organs stay safe. Plus, West adds, “you can open the door at any moment to get out.”

Article originally posted in U.S. News by Anna Medaris Miller

 

Book your cryotherapy session today:  https://gocryosd.com/booknow/

6 Benefits Of Cryotherapy For The Body And Soul

This deep freeze helps to stimulate the brain and squash inflammation

My first cryotherapy session could be described as a scene from a science fiction novel. I was asked to strip down and was given socks, shoes, and gloves. The cryosauna machine, which looks similar to a stand-up tanning booth, was towering in the middle of a room. After I stepped into the cryosauna, I rang a bell and the attendant, Debra, came back into the room.

Then the real experience began.

To say I was not shocked by the sudden cold would be a lie. My head was above the chamber, so I could see around me at all times and I could exit if needed because nothing was locked. I was told that many first-timers cannot make it to a minute, let alone the designated three.

For me, the secret to endurance was listening to Debra’s voice as she explained what was happening to me, allowing me to concentrate more on her words than the cold. That said, it was a “dry” cold, and as strange as it might seem, it was tolerable.

Cold Hard Facts on Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy was originally developed in Japan in 1978 for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, and the benefits have been studied and refined in Europe since that time. Cryotherapy is now utilized in the United States, and with wonderful results.

Most cryosaunas uses liquid nitrogen, lowering the client’s skin temperature to about 30 to 50 degrees F in a period of two or three minutes. Liquid nitrogen is used to make the cold, but clients are not in direct contact with the gas. Our skin reacts to the cold, sending messages to the brain, and it stimulates regulatory functions of the body, assisting areas that might not be working to their fullest potential.

According to Excel Cryotherapy located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, “Cryotherapy is a hyper-cooling process that lowers a person’s skin temperature to approximately 30 degrees F for a period of up to three minutes by enveloping the body with extremely cold air at temperatures ranging from -100 F to -274 F. (Liquid nitrogen is used to cool the body, and reduces inflammation.)”

During this time, thermoreceptors in the skin send signals to the brain to send the blood to the core to maintain body temperature with a process called vasoconstriction. Toxins are flushed from peripheral tissues and blood is enriched with oxygen, enzymes, and nutrients. The body activates all of its natural healing abilities and releases endorphins for further benefit.

As the body warms up again, the enriched blood flows back through the body through a process called vasodilation. As a result, whole body cryotherapy is very effective for athletic recovery and muscle repair, reduction of chronic pain and inflammation, and an overall enhancement of health and wellness.

There are in fact two types of cryotherapy: whole body cooling and partial body cooling. I used a partial body cooling therapy at Excel Cryotherapy, where my head was out of the chamber. I experienced positive results.

However, because we have heating receptors in our chest and head, some argue that whole body cooling gives a greater autonomic response, with higher cellular activation. According to a study, partial body cooling gives a lesser autonomic response, with less cellular activation. Whole body does not use liquid nitrogen but is more of a very sophisticated smart fridge.

Next Health, located in Los Angeles, California, has a whole-body cryotherapy chamber. This chamber allows the head to be included in the therapy. You can also wear headphones and listen to music for three minutes or go in with a friend! According to Vanessa Kekina from Next Health, “The many benefits of cryotherapy include reduced inflammation, accelerated sports recovery, improved sleep, elevated mood, brain power/mental alertness and vigilance, as well as collagen and antioxidant synthesis.”

Whole body cryotherapy involves exposing your body to an extreme cold environment of -150 degrees F and less. This intense cooling induces a number of giant physiologic changes in your body. Initially, as the blood vessels constrict, blood moves away from the limbs and towards the vital organs of the body. This is a protective and natural measure that the body takes in response to extreme cold. In the process, several systems within the body are affected and it is here that the benefits begin.

The immune system increases the white blood cell count causing reduced inflammation and a positive, powerful immune system response. Circulation is improved and water weight is reduced as the circulatory system reacts. The endocrine system jumps into action with an endorphin and noradrenaline release and an increase of “feel good” hormones in the blood stream. A reduction in cortisol has been seen in blood sample studies as well as an increase in testosterone and DHEA. A cryotherapy session induces a total systemic response that offers many advantages: reduced pain, increased recovery, improved muscle strength and hormone production for example.

“The healing time is different for everyone,” adds Wendi Michelle, Vice President of Operations at Next Health. “Someone who is looking for energy and improved sleep will benefit more quickly than perhaps someone who is treating a condition … Someone who has been in pain for years and finally feels relief will consider this an instant therapy even if the pain returns.”

There are only a handful of whole-body cryotherapy locations in the U.S.

While most cryotherapy saunas use liquid nitrogen, and are easier to find, a plethora of benefits are experienced with both types of saunas.

And all of this healing can start to happen in three minutes, sometimes less. According to a pain study regarding patients with rheumatoid disease, cold therapy reduced pain significantly. When cryotherapy becomes regular practice, inflammation and chronic pain is reduced and joints work better.

According to Cryohealthcare, “Whole body Cryotherapy is very well tolerated and has minimal risks.

Here in the United States, cryotherapy has only been implemented in the past 10 years. It’s used for various conditions: from muscle recovery for athletes, to cancer treatment.

Chronic Medical Conditions

According to Polar Cryotherapy, “European medical studies have shown that Whole Body Cryotherapy can help alleviate the symptoms of chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune disorders, ankylosing spondylitis, ankylosing spondylosis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, dermatitis and osteoporosis. Studies in Europe have also shown that whole body cryotherapy is beneficial in the treatment of mood disorders, anxiety, and depression.”

Temperature Stress

“Cryotherapy induces a short duration temperature stress to the body,” explains Dimitris Tsoukalas, M.D., leading expert in the application of Metabolomics and Nutritional Medicine in chronic and autoimmune diseases, as well as the author of How To Live 150 Years In Health. The hormones released during stress — cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine — increase our ability to withstand pain, fatigue, and hunger. They also decrease inflammation and related symptoms.”

Dr. Tsoukalas goes on to state that appropriate responsiveness to cold, mental stress, physical strain, dehydration, fasting, etc. is a crucial prerequisite for a sense of well-being, adequate performance of tasks, and positive social interactions. He explains that a pioneering Austrian-Canadian endocrinologist Hans Selye first observed stress and defined it as ‘the nonspecific response of the body to any demand for change.’”

When I first heard of cryotherapy, I hesitated. Could cold therapy really be beneficial? Yes, yes, and yes! I can’t believe I waited so long to stumble into this magnificent healing machine. I’ll tell you later what I personally experienced, but first, here are six ways cryotherapy can boost your health:

1. Decreases Inflammation

I sought out cryotherapy because of a 10 year-old torn rotator cuff and a slap-tear, which is a detachment, or tear, of the upper portion of the cartilage rim surrounding the socket bone of the shoulder. For various reasons, I do not use medications and since I have tried various chiropractic, Chinese Medicine, and massage therapy treatments, this was next in line.

Ice, when applied to a specific area of the body, reduces inflammation, such as when you have a bruise. Cryotherapy, however, reduces inflammation throughout the body, so that healing can occur in more than one area at a time. If you have an injury on the arm and leg, for example, cryotherapy will automatically target these areas. Cryotherapy also stimulates the vagus nerve, reducing anxiety and fatigue. According to Mental Floss, the vagus nerve is literally the captain of your inner nerve center — the parasympathetic nervous system, to be specific. And like a good captain, it does a great job of overseeing a vast range of crucial functions, communicating nerve impulses to every organ in your body. New research has revealed that it may also be the missing link to treating chronic inflammation, and the beginning of an exciting new field of treatment that leaves medications behind. Stimulation of the vagus nerve also helps reduce anxiety and fatigue.

2. Increases Performance Levels

Many athletes use cryotherapy because the treatment can help them recover from their activity. Since joint and muscle strength is increased, athletes can sports-train sooner, improving outcomes. Because the muscles and tissues are not frozen, one can start exercising immediately. Enriched blood flows back through the body, through vasodilation. Unlike ice baths, muscles don’t need time to recover after cryotherapy.

3. Increased Metabolism

After a session of cryotherapy, it takes a lot of energy to reheat the body. During a three minute treatment, you burn approximately 500 to 800 calories. When skin is cooled to around 35 degrees F, it requires a lot of energy to reheat it to our regular body temperature.

4. Reduction Of Chronic Pain and Fatigue

For those that suffer from chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia or general body pain, cryotherapy reduces both. Some people experience a few hours of relief, while others enjoy a relief that lasts days, and even longer. Each individual is different, so results vary, but most participants feel that three minutes of cold is worth the hours of pain relief later. One study regarding fibromyalgia patients showed that after 15 sessions of cryotherapy, pain levels were improved.

5. Happiness Boost

Rather than reach out for antidepressants, many opt for cryotherapy instead. That’s because the procedure releases endorphins into the bloodstream, and one feels their mood increasing after a cryotherapy session. The endorphins interact with pain receptors, reducing pain perception. Cortisol levels are reduced, and one feels, well … happier.

6. Boosts Collagen

Debra told me a few more things about how with regular treatments, cryotherapy can help lessen the appearance of wrinkles, increasing the skin’s collagen. According to Restore Cryotherapy, “Routine cryotherapy treatments can help rejuvenate the collagen matrix, improving skin’s resilience and reducing the appearance of cellulite and fatty deposits at the skin’s surface.”

Benefits Continue

Debra stated that everyone’s body reacts differently to the treatment. Some people become energized, and some become very lethargic. I was somewhat in the middle, but I had more of a relaxed aura to me, and it was very pleasant.

Initially, my injured arm had much more range-of-motion, and that night, I slept better than I had in years. Throughout the afternoon, I went through periods of being warm and then cold, but it was all a pleasant experience. The following day my skin was red in places and my sinuses seemed to be clearer, which I attribute to the toxins being released in my body.

Several weeks later, I returned for three additional cryotherapy sessions. For me, the effects of the first cryotherapy treatment lasted about a week. It was explained to me that about two treatments a week for a month could provide effects lasting several months. All total, I have had four sessions of cryotherapy, and I definitely feel like my body has been re-set, hormonally speaking, and the muscles that were giving me pain feel better. Specifically, this pre-menopausal body has had her hormones reset, and I like the results.

Three minutes of freezing cold is worth the plethora of benefits, which also includes improved sleep, clearer skin, and improved range of motion in my injured shoulder. Keep your eye on the prize (better health) and anything is doable!

 

This article originally appears on honey colony by Katherine Darlington

What Even Is Cryotherapy and Is It Legit?

The term “cryotherapy” refers to any cold therapy, so simply icing your knee with a bag of frozen peas counts. But whole-body cryotherapy (WBC), the current wellness trend of choice, involves stripping down to your skivvies and spending three minutes in a chamber that’s chilled to -270 degrees Fahrenheit. Fans of the treatment include athletes, actors, and all-around fitspirational folks, from LeBron James to Hannah Bronfman.

Considering the (questionable) claims that WBC torches major calories, ramps up recovery, and can even fight depression, it’s easy to see why it’s gotten so popular. But how much of that is fact?

The Lowdown

WBC might seem like the new kid on the block, but it’s been around longer than most realize. In 1978, a rheumatologist in Japan named Toshima Yamaguchi discovered that subjecting the body to extreme cold helped rheumatoid arthritis patients move better and feel less pain for up to four hours post treatment, according to Mark Murdock, managing partner of CryoUSA, a leading provider of cryotherapy chambers. Fast-forward to today, and the treatment’s still going strong—and it’s more accessible and affordable than ever, thanks in part to discount sites like Groupon and Gilt City that offer single sessions starting at around $50.

Essentially, the goal of WBC is to rapidly overwhelm your cold sensors to the point where your brain’s tricked into thinking your body’s experiencing hypothermia, Murdock says. Theoretically, the extreme cold constricts blood vessels, driving excess fluid out to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation, explains Allison Lind Wiedman, doctor of physical therapy and sports specialist. After the treatment, once the body realizes it’s not in crisis mode, it redistributes blood and oxygen, which may help with healing and cellular regeneration. “It’s a complete shock to the system,” she adds.

Though cold temperatures in general decrease blood flow (thus supporting part of the cryotherapy explanation), not all cold is created equal.

For example, ice packs or baths are more superficial forms of cold therapy—meaning their pain-relieving powers may not be as extensive. “Ice can only go so far,” Wiedman says. So a very deep injury, or one located in dense muscle tissue such as your quads or hamstrings, may benefit from the deeper penetrating cold experienced during cryotherapy. Not only that, but the cold in the cryo chamber is completely dry air, which cuts back on discomfort and still allows oxygen to get to the skin, Murdock says. Though it’s “intensely” cold, it’s not nearly as painful as sitting in a frigid pool for 10 minutes, he assures. And because the chambers are significantly colder than a 46(ish)-degree ice bath, you won’t have to spend nearly as much time chilling—literally—to feel results.

“It’s a little shocking the first time, because there’s no place on Earth that’s as cold as in that chamber,” Murdock says.

Safety First

Though the treatment itself can vary from location to location, there are a few safety measures that should be standard, Murdock says. First of all, when choosing where to go, avoid places that make outrageous claims—because if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Before you begin the big freeze, the technician should explain the process, warn about possible risks, answer any questions, and take your blood pressure—this should be done every single time to make sure your heart can handle the 10-12 mmHg uptick in systolic blood pressure that occurs during the session. You’ll be given socks, slippers, and gloves, but otherwise you’ll be in bikini- and boardshort-type attire—all of which must be dry to keep frostbite at bay. Once you’re in the chamber, your head and chin remain above the cold zone, so if you’re ready to bounce before the three minutes are up, you can easily tell your tech to stop the session.

Another source of comfort? Certain chambers have built-in security measures; the ones Murdock works with, for example, feature doors with magnets rather than locks, and are programmed to shut off after three minutes or if the door is opened.

One major red flag to watch out for: You should never, ever be left to your own devices during a session; a trained technician should be in the room not only to walk you through the procedure beforehand, but also during your time in the chamber so he or she can monitor (and encourage!) you.

To Freeze or Not to Freeze?

A look at the rave reviews on Yelp and Instagram is enough to prove one thing: Anecdotally, whole-body cryotherapy is awesome. But—and this is a big but—the scientific results aren’t entirely conclusive. For example, one small study suggests WBC boosts recovery; other research saw a decrease in depression and anxiety ratings in a group of 26 participants. Yet another study suggests that the treatment offers considerable pain relief from osteorarthritis. On the flipside, a 2015 study notes that there isn’t enough hard evidence to say cryotherapy is effective at treating muscle soreness. Finally, though we hate to break this one to you, there’s no science that proves it’ll help you drop the lbs.

Long story short: We have much more to learn about it. Whole-body cryotherapy’s still a question mark, scientifically speaking, according to Wiedman. It’s also not approved or regulated by the FDA, and it for sure has its risks—including frostbite and possible heart problems (particularly if you have a heart condition to begin with).

That said, if you’re convinced cryo’s NBD, aren’t pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, are generally healthy, and have gotten the green light from your doc, it may not be a bad idea to give it a try. In fact, for athletes in particular, this treatment may be a useful training tool, Wiedman says.

Just remember to be realistic. Of course whole-body cryotherapy isn’t going to carve a rock-solid core overnight or immediately send you speeding across the finish line with a PR under your belt. It’s an elective therapy (like massage), not a medical treatment or procedure, Murdock stresses. “It’s not going to fix any issues specifically, other than soothing, comforting, and providing relief, which is going to allow you to move better for three to four hours,” he says.

This article was originally posted at greatist.com by Alexandra Duron

 

Book your cryotherapy session today:  https://gocryosd.com/booknow/

What is cryotherapy and what are the benefits of the -200 degree chamber?

CRYOTHERAPY is a medical technique which uses cold temperatures for health benefits.

It is sometimes referred to as cryosurgery, cryozone, cryoablation or cryosauna and uses a cryo-chamber.

What is cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy involves the application of sub-zero temperatures to treat diseased or dead tissue.

For tailored treatments, it can be applied via a spray gun or cotton swabs to certain parts of the body.

A whole-body treatment involves getting into a body-sized capsule – up to your neck – while liquid nitrogen is pumped into the air, cooling the entire chamber to -200°C.

Argon gas is sometimes used, but nitrogen is the most common in cryotherapy.

The most common form of treatment involves spending up to five minutes immersed in the chamber, any longer could poses risks for the human body.

Little is worn inside the chamber, like swimsuits, with trunks for men and bikini-style clothing for women.

What are the benefits?

It is used to treat certain localised skin conditions, such as warts, moles, skin tags and verrucas.

In the case of warts and other external uses, it works by freezing the afflicted area very quickly and then letting it thaw slowly.

This kills the cells and eventually the body forms a scab which falls off after a few weeks.

Cryotherapy can also be used by people to alleviate muscle pain, sprains and swelling, which is what the whole-body cryo-chambers are commonly used for.

The sessions claim to have other health benefits aside from helping treat specific conditions.

These are said to be increased blood circulation, boosted immune system, decreased fatigue, and faster recovery time from sports injuries.

Cyrotherapy is used as a treatment for certain types of cancers, and can be used internally and externally depending on which cancer is being targeted.

It is sometimes used in conjunction with radiotherapy and surgery, but is still a relatively new form of treatment.

As cryotherapy itself is still a fairly new form of treatment, further studies need to be conducted to prove any long-term benefits.

Who uses it?

Celebrities and athletes are known to use cryotherapy.

A-listers Jennifer Aniston, Demi Moore and Daniel Craig are all reported to have used the treatment.

The James Bond actor is said to have used cryotherapy in the lead up to his role as the 007 agent in Skyfall.

Take That singer Gary Barlow has also immersed himself in a cryo-chamber ahead of his new solo tour.

A recent video showed the 47-year-old at one of his sessions, where the temperature is cooled to -200°C.

The former X Factor judge said he had been undergoing the sessions to boost his immune system and keep him in top form for his tour.

And he revealed it was his son who talked him into it.

He told the Daily Mirror: “Someone said to me, it was probably my son, that Ronaldo never goes on the pitch unless he’s had cryo.

“The problem is I am so gullible, I believe all this.”

The footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is another famous face who uses the cold treatment, having reportedly bought his own cryo-chamber back in 2013.

The 33-year-old is said to undergo two three-minute sessions per week to keep himself in peak condition.

It reportedly cost the dad-of-four £36,000 (€45,000) to install and needs regular supplies of liquid nitrogen canisters.

 

Article originally posted at The Sun by Rebecca Flood

 

Book your cryotherapy session today:  https://gocryosd.com/booknow/

Freeze Away Inflammation with Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy has been around in one form or another for ages: exposure to frigid air, cold-water immersion, or just applying ice to sore muscles. The ancient Romans would take plunges in frigidarium baths and the Nords would crack open icy lakes for a winter swim.

Here in modern times, cryotherapy is popular with elite athletes, celebrities, and biohackers alike. Health claims range from increased immunity to shinier hair, and more and more “cryosaunas” are popping up for personal use.

How much is hype and how much is science? Let’s take a look at what cryotherapy is and the evidence for how it works.

What is cryotherapy?

Technically “cryotherapy” could refer to any kind of cold exposure that improves performance. But it’s mostly whole body cryotherapy (WBC) that’s been in the news for claims that it can boost metabolism, increase endurance, and even help reverse depression.

WBC involves short exposure to extreme cold via a cryochamber – a human-sized tank filled with liquid nitrogen-cooled air. Exposure can vary from 2-3 minutes in temperatures that plummet to -130°C (-266°F). Another method is to take an ice bath for up to an hour in water temperatures of about 19°C (66°F).

On the surface, cold therapy works wonders for speeding up healing. When you apply ice to swollen muscles, the cold constricts blood vessels and reduces blood flow to the area, and pain, swelling, and inflammation decrease. The original idea behind WBC was similar: expose the body to cold to reduce inflammation. It turns out WBC does that and a lot more.

Cryotherapy curbs pain and inflammation 

Dr. Toshima Yamaguchi started using cryotherapy to help his patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as far back as 1978. News of the therapy spread and quickly became popular with elite athletes in the NFL and NBA. They use it to help lower inflammation and decrease pain, acutely and over time. Cryotherapy triggers anti-inflammatory norepinephrine release that reduces short-term pain from injuries [1].  It also makes intensive physical therapy more tolerable for chronic pain from conditions like fibromyalgia, chronic back pain, and osteoarthritis. [2]

The cool thing about cryotherapy is that it can decrease inflammation while simultaneously stressing your body enough to keep your cells on their toes. Low doses of physical stress from a cold plunge can elicit an adaptive response and strengthen your immune system by increasing white blood cells and immune cells; your bolstered immune system can then kill viruses and fight off tumor factors. [3,4,5]

Short bursts of cold therapy may also increase the antioxidants glutathione and superoxide dismutase, which help support liver and immune function, optimize cellular function, and protect against oxidative stress. [6]

Muscle soreness and recovery

Chronic low-grade inflammation is bad, but the inflammatory response you experience after exercise is actually a good sign that your body is in tissue repair mode. As your muscles become engorged with blood and a pro-inflammatory response rushes the area, anti-inflammatory cytokines hit the scene to keep your immune system in check.

This process of inflammation, tissue repair, and anti-inflammatory mediators ensures that you recover optimally and that your muscles heal and grow. Which is why some studies suggest that icing too soon after exercise actually slows your recovery post-exercise. So what about all of those elite athletes who swear by cryotherapy? Turns out the benefits may vary depending on the timing of your cold therapy.

If you interrupt your body’s pro-inflammatory response with cold therapy immediately after exercise, you may actually reduce the benefits from exercise and inhibit performance. [7] Instead of icing right away, waiting about an hour post-exercise (aka after the peak pro-inflammatory process) may improve performance and recovery. [8] In fact, WBC performed within 48 hours of an elite race (but not within an hour of the race) increased recovery, speed, and power in athletes by 20%. [9]

Collagen, the protein behind strong cartilage, joints, skin and hair, also ramps up production after cryotherapy, and collagenase, an enzyme responsible for rapid collagen breakdown, slows down. [10] While cold therapy is boosting collagen production, it’s also inhibiting the stress hormone cortisol, which works to break down collagen and can disrupt your healthy blood sugar and sleep patterns. [11]

Increased fat burning

The idea behind cryotherapy and increased fat burning is simple: the body responds to extreme cold by increasing your metabolism to heat up your body, which in turn burns fat through a process called cold thermogenesis. Cryotherapy can increase your metabolic rate by up to 350%. [12]

Long-term mild cold exposure can also increase brown adipose tissue (BAT), a type of fat that is beneficial to humans. [13] Unlike other types of fat, brown fat increases metabolism, burning energy and glucose to generate heat. [14] In one study, BAT was highest in volunteers that slept in mild cold, 19°C or 66°F, which means you can boost your metabolism by cooling your room at night – a practice that may also improve sleep.

Better mood and a better night’s sleep

Cold exposure produces feel-good endorphins and increases production of norepinephrine. [15] Norepinephrine is a hormone and neurotransmitter involved in your sleep-wake cycle and has profound effects on energy, focus, mood and sleep patterns. This may be because of norepinephrine’s role in neurogenesis – the production of new neurons in the brain – which links to improved mood and memory. [16]

The rise in norepinephrine along with a decrease in cortisol supports a healthy sleep-wake cycle. [17, 18] It’s also possible that the rush of endorphins and subsequent feeling of relaxation is why so many people claim that cryotherapy is their new sleeping drug of choice.

Cold water immersion at 57°F (14°C) for 1 hour increased norepinephrine 530% and dopamine, another feel-good neurotransmitter, by 250% [19]. You can get similar effects from whole-body cryotherapy sessions at -250°F 2-3 times a week.

You don’t have to join a cryosauna or have a frozen lake nearby to get the benefits of cryotherapy. In many cases, lowering the temperature in your bedroom at night and cold bursts in the shower may help balance neurotransmitters and balance mood, while ice baths 1-hour post-exercise may help speed recovery and increase endurance. If you’re just getting into cryotherapy, you can start slow with this simple protocol. Definitely worth a try!

 

 

Article originally posted at bulletproof.com

 

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Cryotherapy: Freeze your way to better health?

NEW YORK –– If you think it’s cold outside now, how about enduring temperatures that are hundreds of degrees below zero — by choice?

As CBS New York reports, more and more people are venturing to into the “frozen zone” for health and beauty.

“Everyone’s looking for the fountain of youth. Everyone’s looking for that thing that’s going to make them feel better,” spa-goer Heidi Krupp told CBS2’s Kristine Johnson.

And what makes Krupp feel better is stepping into a chamber where the temperature is an unbelievable minus 141 degrees Celsius. That’s 228 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.

The treatment is known as whole body cryotherapy, a new health trend popping up across the country. It is two to three intense minutes of exposure to freezing nitrogen gas.

The extreme temperatures shock the system and is said to stimulate the immune system. In addition to saying it makes you look younger, Krupp said it’s a rush that lasts for hours — even days.

“I am addicted,” she said.

“The temperatures are ranging from minus 184 degrees Fahrenheit — I know it sounds scary — to minus 264 degrees Fahrenheit,” said Joanna Fryben, CEO of the Kryolife cryotherapy center in New York City.

Fryben said the treatment was developed in Europe to treat pain related to fibromyalgia, arthritis and other ailments.

“Depression, anxiety, insomnia, and the patients who are treated with who body cryotherapy — they actually also reported an alleviation of these symptoms,” she said. However, there’s been little scientific research on the subject to back up any of those claims.

Extreme cold is known to be effective for pain relief. Sports teams like the Knicks are using it to help athletes with post-game recovery, Johnson reported.

So, Johnson herself gave it a try.

“Is it normal to be this nervous? My heart is really beating,” she said before stepping into the chamber.

Her first impression: it was cold. Really, really cold.

“I feel like there’s ice cubes all down my legs,” Johnson said.

Yet Johnson said the exhilaration was undeniable.

“If you need that burst of energy, you really get it — like right away,” she said.

But pain management specialist Dr. Houman Danesh warns there are precautions that must be taken.

“For example, if you have high blood pressure, if you have poor circulation in your fingers, if you have asthma, if you have blood clots anywhere, if you’re pregnant — it’s not something you should do,” Danesh said.

But Krupp is a true believer and says the health and even beauty benefits work for her.

“It helps me stay youthful, young, it also actually almost lets you lose a little bit of weight. It just is like a great lift for you. It’s amazing,” she said.

As for the costs, a single treatment is $90, and a series of treatments is less expensive, but not covered by insurance.

 

Article originally posted at cbsnews.com

 

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Cold truth about cryotherapy: Holy %#*&, the longest three minutes of my life

In order to show fans what big-league players go through, I’ve been hit by a 92 mph pitch, put on catcher’s gear and blocked pitches in the dirt, and had my hair cut by Eric Hosmer’s barber — basically, anything for a laugh.

So when Royals head trainer Nick Kenney asked whether I wanted to try out the team’s cryotherapy chamber, of course I said yes. I then went on the internet to find out what I had just agreed to.

Turns out you climb into something that looks like a cross between a phone booth and a time machine and expose yourself to nitrogen vapors and incredibly cold temperatures — like 180 degrees-below-zero temperatures.

That makes your body think you’re freezing to death (mainly because you are, but you’re doing so under controlled conditions), so your body says the heck with your fingers and toes — let’s save the important stuff in the body’s core. The blood then leaves your extremities and heads for your torso.

When you come out of the cryotherapy chamber, the blood returns to your extremities, but now it’s enriched because it’s got extra oxygen in it, or special sauce, or 11 herbs and spices (I’m a little fuzzy on the scientific details). And that makes you feel better in general. Personally, I think you feel better because you’re no longer freezing to death, but that’s just a theory.

In any case, apparently cryotherapy fights inflammation, reduces chronic pain and deepens your sleep.

Your head needs to stay clear of the chamber because you don’t want to breathe in the nitrogen vapors; bend down to scratch your knee, and you might pass out — which is why you hear Kenney telling me to keep my chin up.

I knew my head would stick out of the chamber — thank the internet again — but at first glance, the Royals’ cryotherapy chamber seemed too tall for me, and that’s the fault of ex-Royals pitcher Chris Young. The Royals had to buy an extra-tall cryotherapy chamber so the 6-foot-10 Young could fit inside. So if you’re not 6-foot-10, you stand on risers to keep your head clear of the freeze.

Kenney supplied me with gloves, socks and booties, and, wearing nothing else but shorts, I jumped into the chamber. The standard treatment lasts three minutes. Kenney had me rotate a quarter-turn every 15 seconds. There are two nozzles at the back of the chamber pumping out the nitrogen vapors, and the quarter-turns make sure your body gets frozen evenly — kind of like a polar rotisserie.

Ninety-five degrees below zero for three minutes while wearing nothing but shorts is a long three minutes.

I was surprised to learn that a lot of Royals players are jumping into the cryotherapy chamber twice a day: once when they arrive at the ballpark and once again before they leave, which, if nothing else, got them ready to play baseball in this spring’s weather conditions.

The next day, I told Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas what I’d done, and he started laughing. Then he asked what setting I’d been on.

Wait a minute … there are settings?

Three of them, as it turns out, and those settings regulate how much pressure is used to shoot the nitrogen vapors out of the nozzles; the more pressure, the colder it feels. When I asked Kenney what setting I’d been on, he said three — the coldest setting possible. But he also said I was lucky: I was the first one in the chamber that day, and the chamber gets colder the more it’s used. Some players have endured three minutes at 180 degrees below zero.

For the most part, the players I talked to said they’d rather do three minutes in the cryotherapy chamber than five minutes in a tub of ice water, and I can’t say I blame them. But neither one’s a walk in the park — unless you’re walking in the park in January wearing nothing but a Speedo and galoshes.

Catcher Drew Butera asked whether I felt any different after using the cryotherapy chamber, and I said I hadn’t noticed anything specific. But I did sleep like a baby that night.

A baby who was very glad it was no longer 95 below.

 

Article originally posted at kansascity.com by Lee Judge

 

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Subjective evaluation of the effectiveness of whole-body cryotherapy in patients with osteoarthritis.

OBJECTIVES: One of the treatments for osteoarthritis (OA) is whole-body cryotherapy (WBC). The aim of this study is to assess the effect of whole-body cryolherapy on the clinical status of patients with osteoarthritis (OA), according to their subjective feelings before and after the applicabon of a 10-day cold treatment cycle. The aim is also to assess the reduction of intensity and frequency of pain, the reduction of the painkiller medication used. and to assess the possible impact on physical activity.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The study involved 50 people, including 30 women (60%) and 20 men (40%) Thirty-one patients had spondyloadhritis (62% of respondents), 10 had knee osteoarthritis (20%). and 9 hip osteoarthritis (18%) The overall average age was 50 I :10.9 years: the youngest patient was 29 years old and the oldest 73 years old. The average age of the women was 6 years higher. The study used a questionnaire completed by patients and consisted of three basic parts. The modified Laitinen pain questionnaire contained questions concerning the intensity and frequency of pain, frequency of painkiller use and the degree of limited mobility. The visual analogue scale (VAS) was used in order to subjectively evaluate the therapy after applying the ten-day treatment cycle

RESULTS: According to the subjective assessment of respondents after the whole-body cryotherapy treatments. a significant improvement occurred in 39 patients (78%). an improvement in 9 patients (18%). and no improvement was only declared by 2 patients (4%)

CONCLUSIONS: Whole-body cryotherapy resulted in a reduction in the frequency and degree of pain perception in patients with osteoarthritis. WBC reduced the number of analgesic medications in these patients. II improved the range of physical activity and had a positive fled on the well-being of patients.

 

Muscular disorders associated with ankylosing spondylitis and their correction with the help of whole body cryotherapy

AIM: The objective of the present study was to evaluate the possibilities for the correction of muscular disorders associated with ankylosing spondylitis and their correction with the help of whole body cryotherapy.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The study included 55 patients randomly allocated to two groups Group I was comprised of the patients treated with the use of the common mineral baths. physiotherapy, therapeutic physical exercises, spinal massage. and whole body air­cryotherapy Group 2 contained the patients who were treated in a similar way with the exception of whole body cryotherapy they served as controls. Muscular disorders were diagnosed by means of functional muscular testing.

RESULTS: The study has demonstrated the high prevalence of muscular disorders in the patients suffering from ankylosing spondylitis. Moreover it revealed the profile of such disorders associated with ankylosing spondylitis and showed significant correlation between the results of functional muscular testing BASMI and BASFI indices as well as characteristics of chest excursions (p<0 01) The analysis of the results of the treatment gave evidence of the higher effectiveness of the combined treatment including whole body cryotherapy in comparison with the alternative therapeutic modalities employed in the present study. This therapeutic modality ensured the statistically more pronounced improvement of functional muscular testing parameters p<0.05) muscle strength and extensibility. as well as certain other clinical and functional characteristics. The groups of muscles most susceptible to cryogenic therapy have been identified.

CONCLUSION: The data obtained in the present study shed light on some specific features of the action of whole body cryotherapy accounting for its corrective influence on the muscular disorders in the patients presenting with ankylosing spondylitis It is concluded that the proposed approach can be recommended for the introduction in the combined therapeutic and rehabilitative treatment of muscular disorders associated with ankylosing spondylitis

 

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