Whole Body Cryotherapy
Whole Body Cryotherapy is a revolutionary method of cold therapy involving 2.5 – 3 minutes of exposure to subzero temperatures ranging from -150*F to -300*F. This is not a medical procedure, but a radical, non-invasive option for people seeking exceptional results.
Whole Body Cryotherapy originated in Japan in 1978, where it was studied and established as a powerful aid for pain and inflammation associated with a number of chronic conditions. Over the next three decades it quickly spread throughout Europe, becoming widely known for its broad range of training and rehabilitation benefits. However, it was a group of Polish scientists who took the idea and made Whole Body Cryotherapy the physical therapy it is today. The Olympic rehabilitation center in Spala, Poland opened in May 2000 and has been used as an injury and rehabilitation center for many sporting venues.
European studies conducted over the last two decades have established Whole Body Cryotherapy as a powerful option to help with inflammatory disorders and injuries. You may experience accelerated production of collagen, which improves skin elasticity and texture, reversing skin aging and the appearance of cellulite. Whole Body Cryotherapy may boost the body’s metabolic rate and may accelerate weight loss. Professional sport athletes have discovered Whole Body Cryotherapy as a powerful option to decrease recovery time and increase athletic performance.
How Does Whole Body Cryotherapy Work?
Whole Body Cryotherapy treatments work by subjecting the patient’s skin to controlled levels of gas in form of liquid nitrogen, or COLD AIR. The treatment is conducted in a device called a cryochamber or cryosauna. Before treatment, the cryosauna is pre-cooled and dried, and the patient is given informed consent. Next, the patient disrobes inside the chamber, keeping on socks to protect toes and gloves to protect hands. Men also wear regular underwear to protect external genitalia, while women can wear a bathing suit or opt to have treatment without clothing. Treatments are more effective with more skin exposure.
The floor of the unit elevates allowing the patient’s head to be outside of the chamber allowing patients to breathe normal room air. During a session, bursts of nitrogen are circulated around the chamber, directed away from the patient’s skin. The bursts serve to maintain the controlled therapeutic temperature within the cryochamber. In a typical 3 min session, bursts are released with 20-30 second pauses between. The ambient temperature in the chamber is maintained at -300 to -350°F throughout the course of treatment. Immediately after the 2.5-3 minute session, the majority of subjects experience marked improvements in pain and joint discomfort and notice measurable reductions in joint edema. Most also experience increased energy levels with the endorphin releases, normally experienced only after intense exercise.
In a controlled setting, these low temps are therapeutic and not harmful. It’s similar to why we can place our hand into a 400 degree oven without injury, if you don’t touch anything. Heat and cold dissipates more easily in air. On the contrast, solids conduct heat and cold more easily. If you touch the rack in the 400 degree oven, injury will occur.
The initial cold startle response elicits a strong sympathetic nervous system reaction. This causes a dramatic parasympathetic rebound. The circulatory system undergoes dramatic peripheral vasoconstriction followed by strong rebound vasodilation. This improves peripheral vascular tone while reducing histamine (imflammation markers) release due to vascular permeability.
The neuromuscular system responds with a decrease in troponin I, creatine kinase and edema. Positive immune responses include increased white blood cell counts, increased anti-inflammatory cytokines, and reduced pro-inflammatory prostaglandin PGE2. In the endocrine system, WBC triggers an increase in noradrenaline, ß-endorphins, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) concentrations.
Two to three minutes of skin exposure to Whole Body Cryotherapy temperatures (-300°F to -350°F) stimulates the body to initiate the “fight or flight response.” The body will reactively produce endorphins and redirect oxygenated, nutrient- rich blood to the vital organs to defend against what the body perceives as a threat. Once out of the cryosauna this oxygenated blood and endorphins are released back to the peripheral tissues, decreasing histamine (inflammation) markers, helping to mend damaged muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments.
Research conducted over the last two decades in Europe has established therapeutic efficacy of WBC in a wide range of clinical areas. The largest focus of research has been for pain management and athletic performance. Many NFL, NBA, and MLB players have been using cryotherapy as well as long distance runners at the Nike Oregon Project. WBC has been shown to effectively improve physical performance and help to speed recovery time. Additional benefits include burning up to 500 calories following a single treatment, increased skin tone due to collagen deposition, and a decrease in skin blemishes. Due to the numerous adaptive physiological responses and decreased levels of inflammation, WBC has also been studied as an adjunct treatment for atopic dermatitis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder), osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, cardiovascular health, post surgical recovery, and other chronic disorders.
Benefits of Whole Body Cryotherapy
With Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) the body is exposed to ultra-low temperatures, triggering a systemic anti-inflammatory response. The client is placed in Cryotherapy Chamber for a short duration of 1.5-3 minutes which lowers the client’s skin surface temperature significantly and stimulates receptors without damaging any tissue.
This modality was first utilized in Japan in 1978 to treat rheumatoid arthritis. European studies conducted over the last two decades have established WBC as a powerful treatment for inflammatory disorders and injuries. The accelerated production of collagen improves skin elasticity and texture, reversing skin aging and the appearance of cellulite. WBC boosts the body’s metabolic rate, accelerating weight loss outcomes. Professional athletes have discovered WBC as a powerful treatment to decrease recovery time and increase athletic performance. Although Whole Body Cryotherapy originated in Japan, it was a group of Polish scientists who took the idea and made Whole Body Cryotherapy the physical therapy it is today. The Olympic rehabilitation center in Spala, Poland opened in May 2000 and has been used as a training and injury rehabilitation center for many sporting bodies.
In the Cryochamber, the patient is protected from acute frostbite with socks. Clothing worn during the treatment is minimal: for women clothing is optional while for men genitals have to be covered with cotton underwear. During treatment the average skin temperature drops to 10°C (50°F), while the coldest skin temperature can be 5°C (41°F). The core body temperature remains unchanged during the treatment, however it may drop slightly afterwards. Therapy triggers the release of endorphins which induce analgesia (immediate pain relief).
Patients report that the experience is invigorating and improves a variety of conditions such as psychological stress, insomnia, rheumatism, muscle and joint pain, fibromyalgia, itching, and psoriasis. The immediate effect of skin cooling and analgesia lasts for 5 minutes, but the release of endorphins can have a lasting effect, where the pains and signs of inflammation as found in blood tests remain suppressed for weeks. The effects of extreme cold and endorphin release are scientifically studied. Additionally, there is a 500-800 calorie after-burn associated with the body warming itself up, thus jump-starting the metabolism helping reach weight-loss goals.
Sports and Training Benefits
Professional teams and elite athletes have been using Whole Body Cryotherapy to win championships and Olympic Gold Medals. Cryotherapy has been used for decades in sports and training to treat and relieve chronic pain symptoms associated with competitive injury and overuse and has been proven in sports medicine as a recovery modality from muscle and ligament damage due to the anti-inflammatory and restorative properties of intense cold treatment.
Gain The Competitive Edge
When the body is exposed to Whole Body Cryotherapy, the result is vasoconstriction of the blood vessels followed by vasodilation. This process helps the body rid itself of toxins and speed distribution of pain reducing endorphins. Highly oxygenated blood is presented to the affected areas helping the body repair and strengthen itself as well as increasing stamina during completion.
Cryotherapy sessions before or after completion or workouts help to increase your energy, stamina and metabolic rate. Post-sport sessions will aid in recovery an injury repair.
Spa and Beauty Benefits
Anti-Aging and Skin Rejuvenation
The Nitrogen environment and intense cold of nearly -250*F activates collagen production in the deeper layers of the skin, leaving it smoother, firmer and tighter. After a series of treatments, clients notice more even tone and renewed elasticity and an improved overall ‘younger’ appearance. A reduction in cellulite has also been noted as another benefit.
Increased Caloric Burn Aids in Weight Loss
The exposure to the extreme cold tricks the body into thinking that it is in Hypothermia, causing it to increase heat production to protect the core of the body. This is accomplished by way of muscle contractions, which requires energy and this process causes the body to ‘burn’ between 500-800 calories in addition to skin improvement. The release of endorphins into the body leaves many clients with a feeling of being energized and a positive outlook.
Health and Wellness Benefits
Whole Body Cryotherapy treatment is great for your health and wellness. The outer surface of the skin is lowered to nearly 35*F for 2-3 minutes by way of a Nitrogen mist. During this time, the vessels and capillaries in the skin undergo a period of vasoconstriction followed by vasodilation. This causes toxins in the body to be broken down and carried away and signals the brain to release highly beneficial biochemical into the bloodstream.
Chronic Medical Conditions
European medical studies have shown that Whole Body Cryotherapy can help to alleviate the symptoms of chronic conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, Auto-immune 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, affective disorders, anxiety and depression.
The exposure to the extreme cold tricks the body into thinking that it is in Hypothermia, causing it to increase the metabolic rate in order to increase heat production to protect the core of the body. Although the body is not at risk, this process causes the body to ‘burn’ between 500-800 calories. Most clients notice a sound nights sleep and the release of endorphins into the body leaves many clients with an immediate feeling of being energized and a positive outlook.