Cryotherapy: Fact or Fiction

Google search Cryotherapy and you will find a number of claims, some true and some false, some research-backed and some anecdotal.  Most cryotherapy centers tout accelerated recovery from exercise and surgery, relief from pain and inflammation, boosted energy, increased metabolic rate, improved circulation, better sleep quality, vibrant skin complexion and even enhanced overall wellness. So how do you tell what is fact and what is fiction?

CRYO FACT: 

Whole Body Cryotherapy was developed in Japan by a Rheumatologist in 1978, but only made it’s way to the U.S. in 2010.  U.S. scientific reasearch studies are not yet plentiful; European research studies are far more abundant.

CRYO FACT:  

Exposure to extreme cold has been long know to have a sinificant impact on the human body.  Different from the localized cryotherapy (ice packs) that most of us have used, Whole Body Cryotherapy is not a local therapy.  The objective behind WBC is actually to trick the mind into thinking the body is freezing, which activates the body’s survival mechanisms.

CRYO FACT:

The brain gives orders to the extremities to vasoconstrict, which means capillaries in the arms and legs constrict to move blood towards the body’s core in order to retain heat and protect its vital organs.  Think of the treatment as a “bio-hack,” where the body is tricked into a state of perceived danger.

CRYO FACT: 

The cold air of the Cryo chamber prompts a physiological response in which the body produces a rush of hormones including adrenaline, norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin and endorphins, among others.

CRYO FACT:  

As the body’s survival resources are activated, blood floods the body’s core where it becomes replenished with oxygen, nutrients, anti-inflammatory and red blood cells.  After the 3-minute cryotherapy session ends, this enriched blood rushes back to the extremities, contributing to the numerous benefits.

CRYO FICTION:  

Because Whole Body Cryotherapy has not been FDA approved, it cannot be safe or effective.  False premise #1:  Only a treatment with reams of scientific studies can be safe and effective.  False premise #2:  Only FDA-approved therapies can be safe and effective.  Truth? Many therapies that are not yet FDA-approved are safe and effective, but have either not have sufficient scientific studies completed, have gone through the FDA process and/or are held back by the politics of Big Hospital, Big Pharma, and Big government.

CRYO FICTION:  

The use of liquid nitrogen is potentially dangerous for a cryotherapy user, as overexposure could cause light-headedness, feignting and skins burns.  This is true . . . and false.  Of course, overexposure to many things are potentially dangerous.  However, when proper safety protocols are built in at the cryosauna-level and business- level, then those potentialities are  These safety protocols include:  Professionally trained recovery specialists administering and monitoring the user at all times (including contraindications and preparation discussion), system design to keep the head well above nitrogen vapor level, O2 sensors to alert of low O2 levels in the room, auto-off mechanisms in the cryosauna to prevent overexposure, and specialist follow-up post-session.

CRYO FICTION:  

Cryotherapy can be used as a weight loss program.  Actually, cryotherapy is NOT a weight loss program.  It does, however, increase your metabolic rate for the four-to-five hours after a session to the point that users burn an additional 500 – 800 calories above their baseline matebolic rate.

CRYO FICTION: 

Cryotherapy is the magic therapy to treat whatever ails you.  Not so.  As we’ve outlined, you can benefit from cryotherapy in numerous ways.  But it is not instant and it is not magic.  Our bodies have a natural, optimal self-healing rate.  Cryotherapy gets you closer to that ceiling—and like all therapies, you experience the full benefits after numerous sessions.  For acute injuries, the recommended protocol is daily sessions for the first 7-10 days.  Users suffering from chronic pain from arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, joint pain and other tissue-related pain have reported relief from their pain with an every other day regimen.

CRYO FACT: 

Professional athletes in every sport are flocking to cryotherapy, to accelerate their recovery and boost their energy.  Studies show that cryotherapy causes a decrease in pro-inflammatory interleukins and an increase in anti-inflammatory interleukins.  When those whose careers depend on their abililty to deliver peak performance—and who areall looking for an edge—all begin to incorporate a specific therapy, perhaps the weekend warrior, college and high school athlete and every day person should try for him or herself.

Thus, while “scientific” studies are not yet abundant for every use case, plenty of testimonial evidence exists to validate the efficacy of cryotherapy.  And when you can trigger the body’s natural performance and recovery mechanisms in just three minutes, you have greater risk at NOT trying this therapy.

Any natural, non-invasive approach to improving your health and managing problems such as chronic pain, you are side-stepping the medical establishment, dubbed by truth seekers like T. Colin Campbell (author of The China Study and Whole), as more of a “disease care industry,” providing medications that treat only symptoms without getting to the root causes of the respective diseases.

RESEARCH:

http://championcryotherapy.net/research/