INTRODUCTORY SESSION: $40
INTRODUCTORY PACKAGE OF FIVE: $200
With the recent explosion of Cryotherapy into mainstream industry and media, many sources have been quick to either claim the modality as effective or ineffective. This article summarizes a 20 page report conducted by Dr. Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D, expert in the field of aging, cancer and nutrition, and serves to shed light upon the century-old, proven science of the effects that cold exposure has on the body.
CRYOTHERAPY INCREASES NOREPINEPHRINE
Cold exposure has been proven in several anecdotal studies to improve mood and even be a viable option for the treatment of depression and other mood disorders. One of the most important response mechanisms of the human body is centralized around the regulation of the crucial hormone and neurotransmitter Norepinephrine (NE). In regards to the body’s sympathetic nervous system, NE is increased when the body’s fight-or-flight response is activated. As for the brain, presence of NE in the bloodstream have profound effects on vigilance, attention span and mood, while the absence of NE results in inattention, poor mood and decreased energy. Not only does NE act as a neurotransmitter in these instances, but it also acts as a hormone, and when present in the blood stream cause vasoconstriction. The role that NE plays in the human body is essential for how the body responds to cold temperatures: by increasing NE in the blood, resulting in constriction of blood vessels and retention of bodily heat (decreased loss of heat to the environment).
Dr. Rhonda Patrick
Ph.D, Biomedical Science - Expert in fields of Aging, Cancer & Nutrition
For more information on Dr. Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D, visit her website at http://www.foundmyfitness.com
COLD IS GOOD. BUT HOW MUCH COLD IS NEEDED?
The answer: It’s gotta be COOOLLDDDD.
Dr. Rhonda’s site’s a few different studies in her report:
“cold water immersion at 68°F (20°C) for 1 hour does not appear to activate norepinephrine release… A long term study in humans directly compared people that immersed themselves in cold water at 40°F (4.4°C) for 20 seconds to those that did whole body cryotherapy for 2 minutes at -166°F (-110°C) three times a week for 12 weeks and found that in both cases, plasma norepinephrine increased 2 to 3fold (200 to 300%)”
So…although standing outside on a cold winter day may not be enough to trigger your body to release NE, the temperatures involved in cryotherapy will!
COLD SHOCK PROTEINS: THE BRAIN REPAIRMEN
Synapses are gaps between nuerons in the brain. These synapses are responsible for cell communication and forming memories. Different things can cause degeneration or breakdown of synapses including disease & environmental factors. When exposed to cold, synapses between nuerons break down. But, not to worry! Synapses do regenerate with the help of Cold Shock Proteins. One protein in specific, RBM3 has been shown to be elevated up to 3 days after exposure to cold! Why is this significant? Degeneration or breakdown of synapses occur from normal brain aging and is greatly increased by diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or after traumatic brain injury. When these Cold Shock Proteins are present, nuerodegeneration or the breakdown of these synapses is decreased! Although most studies conducted thus far have taken place in a laboratory setting and much is still unknown about the effect of RBM3 in humans, the link between synapse regeneration, cold exposure and Cold Shock Proteins may pose as significant puzzle pieces into combatting cellular degeneration and aging.
CRYOTHERAPY DECREASES INFLAMMATION
Inflammation is the body’s way of eliminating the cause of cell injury, ridding the body of dead cells and initiating cell & tissue repair mechanisms. Inflammation has been proven to not only be a key cause for the aging process, but to also be behind at least 80% of all disease.
Now, let’s get back to our friend Norepinephrine. We know that NE acts as both a neurotransmitter and hormone, but NE also has key inflammation reducing properties. NE acts to inhibit the inflammatory pathway by decreasing TNF-alpha, a molecule that increases inflammation, as well as reducing other inflammatory cytokines that are key players in causing inflammatory diseases such as arthritis. Because inflammation is major cause of pain, NE has also been known to decrease pain.
CRYOTHERAPY IMPROVES IMMUNE FUNCTION
You may be asking ‘why does my body house such self harming substances such as TNF-alpha or the harmful cytokines mentioned above?’. The reason for this is because these molecules are what compose your body’s immune system and help to rid the body of any harmful materials. Having a large amount of these immune cells is typically a good thing, as long as they remain in a dormant state and are not overactive.
So how does the cold effect these immune cells? It increases them! Regular cold exposure has been shown to increase white blood cell count, increase cytotoxic T lymphocytes (active in killing cancer cells) and increase other beneficial immune cells as well.
CRYOTHERAPY INCREASES METABOLISM
When the body is exposed to cold, its response is to produce heat. It does this by increasing it’s metabolism, not to produce ATP (your body’s fuel for energy), but to produce heat to warm the body back up. This process is called thermogenesis. Thermogenesis happens in one of two ways. The first is through muscle contractions which result in shivering — this produces heat. The second is non-shivering thermogenesis, that involves the body transferring white adipose tissue cells into the more mitochondria-dense & more metabolically active brown adipose tissue cells. The more Brown Adipose Tissue your body has, the more fat your body will burn.
CRYOTHERAPY INCREASES ANTIOXIDANT ACTIVITY
Another one of those pesky, self-harming substances that your body produces during several processes including metabolism is Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). ROS are great for damaging any and all kind of cells in the body, including DNA. As stated previously, ROS will always be present in the body; this is normal. The important factor is how the body responds to the damage cause by ROS. ROS are key players in the aging process and preventing damage from ROS not only means extending cell and DNA lifespan but also means staying cancer free.
So how can we keep these nasty ROS from wreaking too much havoc? You guessed it, cryotherapy. Cold exposure has been shown to activate invaluable naturally occurring genetic anti-oxidizing systems (these are much more powerful than supplemental antioxidants).
One important thing to note here is that in regards to anti-oxidizing enzyme activity, it was shown to take multiple sessions of whole body cryotherapy to activate these enzymes. AKA the more cryotherapy sessions done, the more activation of these beneficial enzymes.
The science behind cryotherapy and cold exposure is not new science. It has been proven in studies time and time again. Cryotherapy allows the controlled elicitation of the body’s natural cell repairing, pain & inflammation reducing and metabolic processes. Do understand that many of the studies detailed in Dr. Rhonda’s report include extended, regular exposure of cryotherapy and cold exposure. The use of coldness as a ‘good stressor’ on the body can help to trigger several beneficial responses within the human body.
What is Cryotherapy?
1) Who developed this technology?
Whole body 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.
2) When was whole body cryotherapy developed?
Whole body cryotherapy has been used in Europe and Japan for more than three decades. Multiple research studies have been published in medical journals about the effects of whole body cryotherapy, and in many European countries the treatments are covered by medical insurance policies. In the United States, whole body cryotherapy is considered a non-medical wellness modality, and health insurances do not offer reimbursements for the service.
3) How does it work?
The Cryosauna uses gasiform nitrogen to lower the client’s skin surface temperature by 30-50 degrees Fahrenheit over a period of two-three minutes. The Cryochamber is cooled using liquid nitrogen but clients are not in direct contact with the gas. The skin reacts to the cold and sends messages to the brain that acts as a stimulant to the regulatory functions of the body. It produces the scanning of all areas that may not be working to their fullest potential. The skin exposure to the extreme temperatures also triggers the release of anti-inflammatory molecules and endorphins.
4) Is it safe?
Yes. Single person direct injection Cryosaunas and multi-person Walk-in Cryochambers have been used for the past 30+ years without any severe adverse reaction ever recorded. Problems have only arisen if a client steps into the machine with wet clothing, especially wet socks, as water will freeze immediately at these temperatures. The nitrogen being used to cool the single-person cryosauna is the same nitrogen that makes up the air we breathe (actually 78% of it). In either type of chamber, the client breathes room-air. In the single person chamber, the operator raises the platform the client stands on up so that the head is above the heavier nitrogen vapors. Here, the client breathes normal room-air. In a recent safety evaluation, we have used a pulse oximeter to record blood oxygen saturation in more than 30 clients using the single person chamber and found no drop in blood oxygen saturation throughout the treatment. For added safety, chambers are also equipped with an oxygen monitor at the level of the mouth, which will shut off the nitrogen supply should the oxygen concentration drop by 0.5%. In order to protect the more temperature sensitive tissues such as hands and feet, clients wear dry socks, slippers, and gloves, which we provide. In the walk-in chambers, clients also have to wear a face-mask (to protect the nose and prevent the inhalation of cold air), as well as earmuffs or a hat covering the ears.
5) Is it comfortable?
Before entering the Cryosauna, clients are required to dress in protective clothing composed of cotton socks, cotton underwear (for men), and gloves. If you are using the walk-in chamber, you will also be provided with a cotton band to cover your ears and a disposable mask to cover your mouth. A session is of short duration (2-3 minutes), and the cold is ‘dry’, so it is very tolerable. Towards the end of the session, you may get a ‘pins and needles’ sensation, which disappears immediately after the treatment.
6) How do I feel after the treatment?
During each session the body releases endorphins, which are hormones that make you feel good and energetic. The mood-enhancing effects from each session can last for days.
7) How many treatments should I do?
Depending on the condition of treatment, you should initially take 10 treatments in the first month to maximize your results. After that you can take fewer treatment spaced further apart to maintain and improve on your results (e.g. once or twice every week).
8) Can I catch a cold because of this procedure?
No. The immediate cold impact of the cryosession will raise the internal body temperature for a short period of time. The stimulation of the immune system can help decrease the severity and frequency of future colds.
9) I am claustrophobic. May I use WBC?
Yes, you may. The Cryosauna door is held by a magnet and never locked. You may step out at any time. The Cryosauna is open to the top and your head is raised above the level of the upper rim of the cabin.
10) Do I have to take a shower before or after?
No, you don’t. This procedure is absolutely dry and does not make your skin wet.
11) Who should not use whole body cryotherapy?
The following conditions are contraindications to whole body cryotherapy: Pregnancy, severe Hypertension (BP> 160/100), acute or recent myocardial infarction, unstable angina pectoris, arrhythmia, symptomatic cardiovascular disease, cardiac pacemaker, peripheral arterial occlusive disease, venous thrombosis, acute or recent cerebrovascular accident, uncontrolled seizures, Raynaud’s Syndrome, fever, tumor disease, symptomatic lung disorders, bleeding disorders, severe anemia, infection, claustrophobia, cold allergy, age less than 18 years (parental consent to treatment needed), acute kidney and urinary tract diseases.
12) What are the risks of whole body cryotherapy?
Whole body Cryothherapy is very well tolerated and has minimal risks: Fluctuations in blood pressure during the procedure by up to 10 points systolically (this effect reverses after the end of the procedure, as peripheral circulation returns to normal), allergic reaction to extreme cold (rare), claustrophobia, redness, and skin burns (only if exposed to low temperatures longer than recommended).
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.