People often ask why there is a Whole Body Cryotherapy machine in our physical therapy practice?
and I say why not?!
Whole Body Cryotherapy, WBC, is a fantastic adjunct to any physical therapy treatment on many levels.
Whole Body Cryotherapy will provide pain relief via the production of norepinephrine, NE. Cold exposure releases NE, into the bloodstream and to the brain. This release of NE is one of the most consistent and profound physiological consequences to cold exposure. NE acts to inhibit the inflammatory pathway by decreasing molecules that increases inflammation. Because inflammation is major cause of pain, NE has also been known to decrease pain.
REDUCE WHOLE BODY INFLAMMATION
The second reason to utilize WBC is to reduce whole body inflammation.
Since inflammation has been identified as the key driver of the aging process, and is associated with most age-related diseases and every health condition, we should do all that we can to reduce it.
We now have great resources on how to avoid things that promote inflammation, including avoiding dietary sources of inflammation.
These sources include:
- Processed food
- Pasteurized dairy
- Refined carbohydrates
- Corn and soybean oil
- Trans fats…just to name a few
We know to replace these foods with antioxidant foods (antioxidants combat inflammation). Some of these foods include:
- Goji berries
- Wild blueberries
- Dark chocolate
- Kidney beans
- Cilantro…just to name a few more!
We can reduce inflammation by reducing stress through relaxation, breathing, meditation, avoiding inflammatory foods, and the use of WBC!
So, how does WBC work to reduce inflammation you ask?
As we talked about before, norepinephrine(NE) is released when we are exposed to cold. NE is a hormone and a neurotransmitter. It is responsible for focus, attention and mood, and affects pain and metabolism. NE reduces inflammation by inhibiting chemicals that increase inflammation.
In a randomized controlled trial patients with arthritis underwent WBC 166°F (110°C) for 2-3 minutes three times a week for 1 week had a significant reduction in pain. There may be many mechanisms including the cold induced reduction in inflammatory chemicals.
Not to mention, WBC has even more benefits! It can even increase your metabolism and boost your immune system!
Regular cold exposure has been shown to increase white blood cell count and increase other beneficial immune cells as well.
When the body is exposed to cold, its response is to produce heat. It does this by increasing its metabolism. This involves a type of self-heating of the body that transfers white adipose tissue cells into the denser & 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
Dr. Rhonda Patrick best describes the effects of cryotherapy and antioxidant activity in her article Cold Shocking the Body. “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. 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. The more cryotherapy sessions done, the more these beneficial enzymes will be activated.
Our motto at One on One is to “move well, live well and stay well”. By adding WBC to your experience, it will only enhance any other treatment, and then serve as a great component to staying well. Cryotherapy has many benefits so let’s chill together!
Karen David Warren, Founder of One on One Physical Therapy, brings a wealth of knowledge to her patients incorporating over 20 years of physical therapy and sports medicine experience and education. Karen holds a Master of Physical Therapy degree from Emory University and a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from the University of Southern California. She is an Adjunct Faculty and guest lecturer for the Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program, a Clinical Instructor at the Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program, Emory University, and on the Advisory Board for the Physical Therapy Program at Mercer University. Karen’s email address is Karen@onetherapy.com and more information can be found at www.onetherapy.com.