Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) is a sophisticated method of cold therapy involving three minutes of skin exposure to temperatures between -200°F to -250°F.
While this modality was first utilized in Japan in 1978 to treat rheumatic diseases, studies conducted over the last two decades have established cryotherapy as a powerful adjunct treatment for reducing symptoms of pain and inflammation associated with a number of chronic conditions. Further more, cryotherapy significantly improves recovery time for athletes, treats skin conditions and aids in weight loss.
The sympathetic nervous system is stimulated by the skin’s cold receptors, causing severe vasoconstriction, followed by rapid vasodilation. Blood flow to the skin’s surface and extremities is redirected to insulate vital organs and maintain core temperature, which can fluctuate by only 4.5° C between states of hypothermia and hyperthermia.
These responses are due to perceived life-threatening conditions; therefore, thermal regulation is trivial as the body is forced to activate a cascade of powerful adaptive(survival) mechanisms involving the body’s most crucial systems.
Cryotherapy immediately improves blood circulation, ensuring adequate delivery of oxygen and nutrients to bodily tissues, while improving the body’s natural ability to eliminate toxins.
For millennia, athletes have utilized ice and cold water for raising performance and speeding recovery. The exact mechanisms by which cold therapy have been studied for decades and ways to make the benefits more pronounced have been researched. The pinnacle of this work is Whole Body Cryotherapy.
The immune system is stimulated; the released endorphins reduce pain sensitivity and enriched blood creates favourable conditions for internal organ regeneration, for expelling of toxins from subcutaneous layers, for cell renewal, replacement of damaged cells and elimination of dead cells from peripheral tissues. Every organ is affected positively – self-healing of the human body occurs.
Since Whole Body Cryotherapy’s main site of contact is on the body’s outer skin layers, the treatment benefits many skin conditions. During a treatment the outer skin layers are super-chilled to the point of freezing. This causes a rebound increase in blood supply to the skin and a strong acceleration to the normal regrowth cycles.
Cold therapy is commonly used in Eastern and Western Europe as a procedure to relieve pain symptoms, particularly in inflammatory diseases, injuries and overuse symptoms. A peculiar form of cold therapy (or stimulation) was proposed 30 years ago for the treatment of rheumatic diseases. The therapy, called whole-body cryotherapy (WBC), consists of exposure to very cold air that is maintained at -110C to -140C in special temperature-controlled cryochambers, generally for 2 to 3 minutes. WBC is used to relieve pain and inflammatory symptoms caused by numerous disorders, particularly those associated with rheumatic conditions and is recommended for the treatment of arthritis, fibromyalgia and ankylosing spondylitis.
Since Whole Body Cryotherapy chills the body, it causes an increase in the basal metabolic rate. A single session of Whole Body Cryotherapy has been shown to cause the body to burn an additional 500 – 800 calories. For weeks after even a single session, the Basal Metabolic Rate as measured by Indirect Calorimetry, has been shown to improve by 200 – 300 calories per day. With out change in diet, this would represent a burn of 2 pounds of body fat per month without diet or exercise.
Nervous system- When the body is exposed to extreme temperatures, the brain uses the nervous system as a network of signals to detect weakness and disruption in the body. This scanning process provides valuable information regarding the integrity of all organ systems, in particular the nervous system. This communicative exchange between the brain and the body induces a healing response that addresses deficiencies in the nervous system and can support the body’s innate mission to repair itself at a cellular level.