WHAT IS CRYOTHERAPY +FAQS
Cryotherapy is an invigorating, non-invasive treatment that has been around for many decades. It was founded in 1978 by Dr. Yamaguchi of Japan to help his patients manage pain caused from rheumatoid arthritis. He was able to find that cryotherapy reduced soreness and pain because of the immediate release of endorphins, which makes one less sensitive to pain.
Whole Body Cryotherapy is cold exposure therapy where the skin is exposed to temperatures ranging between -140 to -260 F in a two to three-minute session. One session stimulates the body’s cold receptors, therefore activating an internal systemic anti-inflammatory response. There will be a significant improvement of blood circulation and the increase in oxygen to all the cells in your body from being exposed to the extreme cold temperatures powered by liquid nitrogen vapor.
The power behind whole body cryotherapy happens during the vasoconstriction and vasodilation of the blood vessels. During the whole body cryotherapy treatment, your body experiences vasoconstriction to protect your internal organs from the extreme temperatures by keeping the blood around the core of the body. Vasoconstriction reduces circulation by tightening and shrinking the blood vessels. Once you are finished with a cryotherapy session, your body is now able to accelerate its natural healing process through vasodilation. During vasodilation, your blood vessels expand to three times their normal size to flush the blood surrounding the core to pick up extra oxygen and disperse it throughout the whole body.
An important thing to note is that the tissue is never actually being penetrated by the cold, only 1/8 of an inch of the skins surface! This is how cryotherapy differs from an ice bath. While in an ice bath for 15 – 20 minutes, your muscles temporarily lose capacity because your tissues freeze which means your muscles will now need more time to recover.
WHAT DOES CRYOTHERAPY DO TO ME?
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).
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.
WHAT DOES NOREPINEPHRINE DO?
1. NORPENIPHERINE IS RELEASED WHEN THE BODYS FLIGHT OR FIGHT RESPONSE IS ACTIVATED
2. ACTS AS A HORMONE – WHEN PRESENT IN THE BLOODSTREAM, CAUSES VASOCONSTRICTION.
3. ACTS AS A NEUROTRANSMITTER – IN RESPONSE TO THE BODYS SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM, WHEN RELEASED IT HAS PROFOUND EFFECTS ON VIGILANCE, ATTENTION SPAN, AND MOOD!
4. KEY INFLAMMATION REDUCING FACTORS – BY INHIBITING THE INFLAMMATORY PATHWAY BY DECREASING TNF-ALPHA ( AMOLECULE WHICH INCREASES INFLAMMATION). IT ALSO REDUCES INFLAMMATORY CYTOKINES THAT ARE KEY PLAYERS IN CAUSING INFLAMMATORY DISEASES SUCH AS ARTHRITIS.
WHY SHOULD I GET CRYO?
If you are affected by pain, inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, anxiety, ADHD, muscle sorness or fatigue from laborious work or exercise or are just looking for a great calorie burn, cryotherapy is for you. These are just a few of the many benefits cryotherapy has to offer.
WHAT DO I WEAR?
The more skin that is exposed to the cold air, the better! No need to bring anything with you if you want to go commando*. We will provide you with a fresh robe, dry socks, gloves, and slippers. Some clients feel most comfortable wearing underwear or a swimsuit; we support this decision, but your underwear or swimsuit must be completely dry (not sweaty at all) and have no metal. If you are coming from a workout and feel most comfortable in your undies, please bring a dry pair to wear. **Men must wear underwear**
WHAT HAPPENS IF I AM WET OR SWEATY?
No problem, we can help! We will have towels for you to dry off and a fresh, dry, clean robe you can use while your body cools down and you stop sweating. Dry skin is a MUST!
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER MY FIRST TREATMENT?
After one session, your skin will feel cold to touch for a few minutes, but don’t worry, you will warm up quickly after. You may feel a rush of energy, like you just drank a large cup of coffee. You also may notice less aches and pains if you came in with any, and greater mobility in your muscles/joints (thanks to the increased blood flow and vasodilation). A few hours after treatment, you may get more hungry then normal, so have some healthy snacks on hand! Your hunger is caused because your body is working hard to recover, which requires a bit of calorie expenditure (about 500 – 800 calories!!). Lastly, one of the best things about a cryo session…be prepared to sleep tonight!!
I FEEL NOTHING AFTER MY FIRST VISIT? HELP!!!
Don’t give up, come back in! IN order to receive the maximum effects of cryotherapy throughout the body, we recommend 10 – 15 visits within the first month. Just like with working out or starting a diet, one time normally isn’t enough to see and feel change in the body. After a handful of visits, you will FEEL better, so you will MOVE better, and LIVE better.
WHO SHOULDN’T DO WHOLE BODY CRYOTHERAPY?
The following are contraindications: 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 siezures, severe Raynaud’s Syndrome, fever, tumor disease, symptomatic lung disorders, bleeding disorders, severe anemia, infection, claustrophobia, cold allergy, acute kidney and urinary tract diseases, and anyone under the age of 18 without parental consent.
HOW DOES WHOLE BODY CRYOTHERAPY WORK?
The Whole-body chamber uses a gaseous form of nitrogen to lower skin surface temperature by 30-50 degrees during a two-three minute session. The exposed skin reacts to the extreme temperatures by sending messages to the brain that stimulate natural regulatory functions of the body. In addition, the skin’s exposure to these subzero temperatures trigger the release of anti-inflammatory molecules, endorphins, toxins, and increases oxygen circulation within the bloodstream.
DIFFERENCE IN AN ICE BATH AND CRYOTHERAPY
Whole Body Cryotherapy treatments result in a very different response from the body compared to traditional ice baths. Two to three minutes in the chamber, which is a cold, dry nitrogen vapor, is equivalent to 20-30 minutes in an ice bath without the uncomfortable feeling of submerging in ice cold water. The nitrogen vapor chills the top skin layers and cold receptors lowering the outer body’s temp 30-50 degrees. This causes the brain to restrict blood flow to your extremities, which is the bodies natural fight-or-flight response to extreme cold. The body reacts to the Whole Body Cryotherapy treatment by releasing anti-inflammatory proteins and endorphins resulting in super-charged blood. Fifteen minutes in an ice bath of cold water initially causes the body to move blood to the extremities and results in a lowering of the body’s core temperature. Ice baths do no supercharge the blood like Cryotherapy.
ARE THERE ANY RISKS TO CRYOTHERAPY?
There are minimal risks. Risks associated are: Fluctuations in blood pressure during the session by up to 10 systolic points (this effect reverses at the end of a session and peripheral circulation returns to normal), allergic reaction to the cold, claustrophobia, redness, and skin burns.
CAN JEWELRY BE WORN?
Please remove all jewelry. Earrings are fine, as the head is outside the chamber. Cold and metal can sometimes be a disaster, so we ask to please take jewelry