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By Anna Phillips 

GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) - "Freeze yourself to life" is the motto of one of Uptown Greenville's newest businesses, CryoFitNC. 

Former ECU football player and life-long athlete, Michael Hickman, opened the cryotherapy center in December 2018. 

What is it? 

Cryotherapy is a holistic health treatment touted by star athletes and celebrities alike for its ability to treat all kinds of illnesses and physical conditions including but not limited to: fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, phantom pain, chronic pain syndrome, inflammation of the spine, migraines and mood disorders/depression. 

The idea is to use cold shock therapy to decrease inflammation to reduce soreness and pain. 

Hickman says years of football left him with arthritis in his neck. He discovered cryotherapy while living in Los Angeles. 

After trying it for the first time he says he "was skeptical, more on the neutral side... {he} was hopeful, {he} tried it again and wow -- it changed {his} life."

How it works: 

One cryotherapy session is precisely three minutes long.

"You get inside and it's very cold - I never sugarcoat that, it's extremely cold - you'll probably be at -166 degrees today, so sub-zero temperatures, but your body can withstand anything for 180 seconds, its only 3-minutes," Hickman said just I tried it out. 

An average appointment takes just ten minutes, and Hickman says the longest portion is changing in and out of your clothes. 

You wear socks, slippers and gloves and are given a robe to wear over your undergarments for your walk from the dressing room to the cryotherapy room where a staff person will use a handheld device to take your external skin temperature. Mine was a toasty (and very normal, I'm told!) 87 degrees. 

The goal is to drop that temperature by 30-50 degrees. 

You stand on a platform in the cryotherapy chamber and once enclosed you take off the robe and pass it over the top. 

Staff put a cover over your head that prevents you from breathing in the nitrogen that's already blasting in the pre-cooled chamber. 

Anna's Experience: 

It's instantly cold. 

"Your body is actually realizing its cold and its repairing...its an undescribable feeling because you've never felt that before, you've never felt your blood leave your extremities," Hickman said. 

My knees and elbows went numb within seconds. 

"So all your blood is going to leave your extremities, your legs and your arms to go and protect your vital organs because you're in survival mode, okay, so throughout that time you're stripping out all the inflammation, toxins, lactic acid, all the stuff that doesn't allow us to feel good and it goes into your center and filters," Hickman said. 

You stand on the platform and turn in slow circles with the countdown clock and temperature gauge directly by your head for the entire three minutes. The lowest I saw the gauge hit was about -185 degrees. 

Hickman says he's had clients as old as 87 and as young as 14, but notes that underage teenagers or children need a signed parental consent form. 

Personally, Hickman says he does two sessions every day at -250 degrees. 

In those three minutes, while your body is in survival mode, Hickman says you burn between 500 and 900 calories. 

He says it takes longer than three minutes for hypothermia to set in and no sessions last a moment longer than that. 

When I got out, my external skin temperature was immediately measured again and it was 47 degrees. 

Throughout my session, Hickman asked me repeatedly how I was feeling and it was difficult to come up with anything to say other than "cold!". 

"You'll feel cold {when you get out} and as you warm up and warm up you're going to feel more energetic and then an endorphin rush kicks in and you'll feel like you're a superwoman or ready to take over the world," he said. 

The research: 

Cryotherapy falls under the category of holistic healthcare and it does not have approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

Hickman acknowledges it is a holisitic method and he says it would be difficult to measure its success because its based on how people feel.

In 2016, the FDA published an article for consumers that doesn't quite condemn or condone the practice. 

"Based on purported health benefits seen in many promotions for cryotherapy spas, consumers may incorrectly believe that the FDA has cleared or approved WBC devices as safe and effective to treat medical conditions," says Aron Yustein, M.D., a medical officer in the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health. "That is not the case."

The article says like any new health treatment, you should talk to your own doctor before starting any new treatment. 

You can read the FDA's article, "Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC): A "Cool" Trend that Lacks Evidence, Poses Risks"  
The cost: 

Cryotherapy sessions are sold like a gym membership at CryoFitNC. You can buy individual sessions, session packs or monthly memberships. One session is $45 and the packs/memberships bring the per session cost down for a higher up-front cost. A 3-month unlimited sessions package is $199 per month. 

You can find more information on CryoFitNC at https://www.cryofitnc.com/.

There are also several other spas and healthcare facilities across Eastern Carolina that offer cryotherapy. 

What Is Cryotherapy, What Are The Benefits, And How Does It Work?

Looking like something fresh out of an '80s sci-fi flick, cryotherapy is the latest craze to hit the mainstream. Used by athletes and celebrities looking for their next holistic fix, the high tech treatment is said to be more than just a gimmick. According to its regular users, freezing yourself for several minutes can aid muscle regeneration, boost your immune system and rejuvenate your skin.

But what exactly is it? And does it really work? Well, I tried it out at Saisei holistic cryotherapy studio in North London to find out.

What is Cryotherapy?

Before going into how it feels to step inside a coffin-sized cryo chamber, let's have a look at what exactly is cryotherapy.

Literally meaning “cold therapy", cryotherapy is a technique where the body is exposed to extremely cold temperatures for several minutes. It can be delivered to just one area, or you can opt for whole-body cryotherapy like I did. The latter includes immersing the body in extremely cold air for several minutes, in the belief that you'll receive a number of health benefits. You stand in an enclosed chamber that surrounds your entire body but has an opening for your head at the top, and the cool air, or liquid nitrogen vapor, circulates around your body in the chamber for 2 to 3 minutes.

How it works

The cold air is delivered to the chamber via a cylinder of liquid nitrogen vapor, with a temperature that ranges between -120˚C to -160˚C.

When I visited Saisei, I met with the studio's owner, wellness and fitness strategist Nyambe Ikasaya. He told me that the cold air of cryotherapy is void of moisture, and so it's much more tolerable. This means it doesn't penetrate deep into other tissues like the muscle and bone, and thus works on the surface area of the skin. This is why you're able to warm up back up fairly quickly after the treatment.

"On the surface of our skin we have skin receptors which pick up changes in temperature," Ikasaya said. "We have heat and cold receptors. 50,000 heat receptors and 280,0000 cold receptors. When exposed to temperatures of -120 degrees and below, 280,000 cold receptors pick up this change in temperature and what the body does to adapt to this change is magic!"

He continued to explain that the first step the body takes to protect its core temperature is to redirect blood from superficial vessels and capillaries in the skin towards deeper structures. This causes blood to flow from the periphery (legs and arms) towards the central core.

"This blood is enriched with anti-inflammatory proteins, red blood cells, white blood cells, enzymes, endorphins along with dopamine and serotonin," he added. "The rebound that happens after the treatment of two and a half minutes to three minutes is re-circulation of the enriched blood to the rest of the cells in the body."

This, he said, leads to:

• Rejuvenation

• Pain reduction

• Reduction in inflammation including inflammatory conditions like arthritis

• Improved detoxification

• Repair cellular damage which aids recovery after exercise

• Increased circulation which leads to increased metabolism

My experience 

What I liked the most about this treatment is that it's very holistic, and it's just about getting the body to do what it already does naturally in an enhanced way. After leaving the chamber, you'll instantly feel more alert and - strangely - happier. Apparently, this is apparently normal, as cryotherapy is also known to raise endorphin levels temporarily.

I had quite a sore knee after training in the lead up to my triathlon and definitely felt like the soreness had been reduced immediately after the cryo treatment. Obviously, it's very cold, but it's not uncomfortable. It was, overall, a pleasant experience and I would do it again.

Other benefits

Ikasaya also told me that cryotherapy is said to help with activation of BAT (Brown Adipose Tissue) otherwise known as "brown fat cells".

"Brown fat, or BAT is a special kind of fat found in most mammals," he explained. "When one is exposed to extreme cold, it is activated and helps to burn regular white fat cells on your hips, stomach, legs, and so on, in order to generate heat. Consistent exposure to cold increases the amount of BAT an individual has."

The treatment is also said to contribute to the release of a hormone called Adiponectin. This is a hormone which is released from fat tissues during consistent exposure to extreme cold and increases circulation, which leads to increased metabolism and fat burning. It also increases insulin sensitivity and reduction in inflammation as well as the number of mitochondria in skeletal muscle, helping with enhancement in muscular size, strength, and endurance.

Article from: Lee Bell Consumer TechFreelance journalist covering health tech and fitness innovation

Source: Bell, L. (2019, January 30). Fitness Recovery Tech: What Is Cryotherapy, What Are The Benefits, And How Does It Work? Retrieved January 30, 2019, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/leebelltech/2019/01/29/fitness-recovery-tech-what-is-cryotherapy-what-are-the-benefits-and-how-does-it-work/#55c9587e2091

CBD Oil: Benefits, Uses, Side Effects, and Safety

As more and more states legalize the use of marijuana, a product known as CBD oil has surged in popularity. A chemical compound found in the cannabis plant, CBD, or cannabidiol, is non-intoxicating and does not cause the noticeable euphoric effects associated with tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC, another marijuana compound). Products marketed as CBD oil may contain THC.

It’s thought that CBD might affect your health by attaching to receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system—a complex biological system involved in maintaining certain aspects of your health. Emerging research shows that endocannabinoids may play a role in regulating such functions as memory, sleep, and mood, as well as metabolic processes like energy balance.

CBD oil contains CBD (and often other active compounds) in a carrier oil. There are a number of forms of CBD oil, including softgel capsules, tinctures, and under-the-tongue sprays. Some forms of CBD oil can also be applied directly to the skin, in the form of products like creams and salves. The concentration of CBD varies from product to product.

Uses 

Proponents of CBD oil claim that it can treat a wide variety of health issues, ranging from everyday ailments to chronic medical conditions. These issues include:

It’s also said that CBD oil can promote sounder sleep, reduce inflammation and pain, fight oxidative stress, improve heart health, support weight loss, and protect against some forms of cancer.

Benefits 

Although CBD oil is used for many different health-related purposes, there isn’t a great deal of research on the oil’s potential health benefits. However, there’s significant support for the effectiveness of CBD oil in the treatment of some forms of epilepsy.

In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex (a drug made with a purified form of CBD oil) in June 2018 for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy in patients 2 years of age and older. These two epilepsy forms are known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Epidiolex is the first FDA-approved drug that contains a purified drug substance derived from marijuana.

Here’s a look at findings from recent studies on several other possible benefits of CBD oil:

Anxiety

CBD shows promise in the treatment of anxiety disorders, according to a report published in the journal Neurotherapeutics in 2015. Looking at results from experimental research, clinical trials, and epidemiological studies, the report’s authors found evidence that CBD may help treat generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, the authors caution that human-based research on CBD and anxiety is fairly limited at this point.

Can Marijuana Really Reduce Symptoms of Anxiety?

Addiction

CBD oil may be of some benefit to those with addiction, suggests a review published in the journal Substance Abuse in 2015. In their analysis of 14 previously published studies, scientists determined that CBD may have therapeutic effects in people with opioid, cocaine, and/or psychostimulant addiction. They also found that CBD may be beneficial in the treatment of cannabis and tobacco addiction. There is some evidence that CBD may block or reduce the effects of THC on the mind.

Heart Health

In a small study published in the journal JCI Insight in 2017, researchers observed that CBD may help prevent stress-related changes in blood pressure. For the study, nine healthy male volunteers took a single dose of either CBD or placebo. Compared to those given the placebo, those treated with CBD had lower blood pressure both before and after experiencing a stressful event.

Side Effects 

Some research indicates that the use of CBD oil may trigger a number of side effects, including:

  • Anxiety

  • Changes in appetite

  • Changes in mood

  • Diarrhea

  • Dizziness

  • Drowsiness

  • Dry mouth

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

There’s also some concern that the use of CBD oil may lead to increased levels of liver enzymes (a marker of liver damage or inflammation). 

Safety Concerns 

CBD oil may interact with several medications, including some types of anti-epileptic drugs.

report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published in the journal Pediatrics cautions pregnant women and nursing mothers to avoid marijuana use due to possible adverse developmental effects to their baby. In a study reviewed for the report, short-term exposure to CBD was found to increase the permeability of the placental barrier, potentially placing the fetus at risk from certain substances.

If you're considering trying CBD oil, it's important to discuss potential side effects and adverse reactions with your physician. In one study, for instance, children with refractory epilepsy treated with CBD experienced an aggravation of seizures, sleepiness, digestive disturbances, and irritability.

CBD oils may contain some THC. Cannabis may impair your ability to drive safely or operate equipment and may have short- and long-term effects on your memory, attention, mood, heart rate, and mental health. It is also easy to overconsume CBD oil, so it's important to start with a low dose, as it may take several hours or longer to begin to feel the effects after consumption.

Sources:

Wong, C. (n.d.). Is CBD Oil as Useful as People Say? Retrieved January 22, 2019, from https://www.verywellhealth.com/cbd-oil-benefits-uses-side-effects-4174562

Blessing EM, Steenkamp MM, Manzanares J, Marmar CR. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):825-36. DOI: 10.1007%2Fs13311-015-0387-1.

Jadoon KA, Tan GD, O'sullivan SE. A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study. JCI Insight. 2017;2(12). DOI: 10.1172%2Fjci.insight.93760.

Prud'homme M, Cata R, Jutras-aswad D. Cannabidiol as an Intervention for Addictive Behaviors: A Systematic Review of the Evidence. Subst Abuse. 2015;9:33-8. DOI: 10.4137%2FSART.S25081.

Bonn-Miller MO, Loflin MJE, Thomas BF, Marcu JP, Hyke T, Vandrey R. Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online. JAMA. 2017;318(17):1708–1709. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.11909

CRYOTHERAPY FOR Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis

Whole body cryotherapy now occupies a firm position in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The success of treatment has now been confirmed by a whole range of clinical studies.

As already mentioned, the disease processes with these autoimmune disorders primarily play out in the joints (inflammation of the synovial membrane of the articular capsule, destruction of cartilage and bone structures). Nevertheless, although new principles of action (TNF-α-blockade) have recently been included in therapeutic programs, a complex procedure is still required for treatment. This also results from the understanding of rheumatoid arthritis as a systemic disorder that damages the entire organism. Medication-based, if necessary surgical treatment, mobilization therapies, physical therapy (warm or cold applications) and also psychological treatment must be combined with and adapted to the patients’ own personal coping strategies. For this purpose an extensive and excellent source of information is available in the form of literature provided by self-help organizations.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronically progressing illness which is not yet possible to cure despite all the advances that have been made in its therapy. As such the goal of treatment is to achieve a decrease in disease intensity in order to halt or delay its progression.

Whole body cryotherapy can be understood in this context as an adjuvant physical therapy that if applied resolutely can assist in achieving the therapeutic goal. It is not in principle a substitute for other proven therapies even if, as experience and studies have shown, a reduction in drug consumption can also often be achieved upon its application.

Whole body cryotherapy should be given twice per day on a hospitalized basis, or three times with highly active processes, over a period of two to three weeks optimally, where success of treatment should be assessed every two to three days by the doctor. As Dr. Bianka Benkenstein was able to verify in one study, a relief of symptoms, measured by the reduction in pain and restriction of movement, could be achieved with on average 10 to 15 cold exposures, even with a high initial activity of inflammatory disease. The disease manifestation was shortened and the inflammatory activity receded.

Under no circumstances during a cryotherapy should mobilization-therapeutic activities be refrained from. Movement improves the distribution of synovial fluid and in so doing the nutrient supply of the joint cartilage. On the other hand muscle atrophy due to inactivity is also reversed that might otherwise lead to secondary damage, for example at the skeleton.

As acute-clinical, rehabilitative and cure-therapeutic observations also suggest, one can say that under a whole body cryotherapy there is 

–   an improvement in general well being,

–   pain reduction or elimination as well as a reduction of other inflammatory signs such as swelling and warming,

–   improvement in general mobility and joint function in up to 60% of the treated cases and

–   reduction in medicine intake (glucocorticoids and non-steroidal anti-rheumatics) in 35 to 40% of the patients. 

The effects can still be shown three to six months after completion of therapy.

For further useful information about whole-body cryotherapy at -110 ° C, and the mechanisms of action, we recommend the book "The Power of the Cold" by Prof. Dr. sc med Winfried Papenfuss, published by Edition K Wolfsegg.

Source: Whole body cryotherapy in cryo-chamber for treating rheumatoid arthritis. (n.d.). Retrieved January 17, 2019, from https://wholebody-cryotherapy.com/en/cryotherapy/rheumatoid-arthritis.html

Cryotherapy Can Reduce Symptoms of ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention, hyperactivity and/or impulsivity that occurs in academic, occupational, or social settings.

Symptoms of ADHD sound a lot like typical kid-behavior—and that can make a diagnosis challenging. Most kids are fidgety, easily distracted and don’t want to listen. These behaviors become problematic and may be diagnosed as ADHD when they become severe and interfere with daily functioning and social and academic development.

ADHD is especially hard on parents, who often blame themselves for their child’s problems. ADHD has been labeled everything from a disorder to a disease, to merely bad behavior and lack of willpower.

ADHD is not simply a childhood disorder—data indicate that 3 to 4 percent of adults in the US have ADHD. Symptoms in adults include poor concentration, lack of focus, forgetfulness and procrastination. Adult ADHD can have negative effects on relationships and job performance and has been linked to addiction, anxiety and depression.

Experts agree that the causes of ADHD are variable and individual-specific. Current research indicates the following potential causes for ADHD:

1. Heredity: ADHD runs in families and there may be genes specific to occurrence of the disorder. At least 25% of adults with a history of hyper-activity are the biologic parent of a child with hyperactive symptoms. What genes are involved? Current research suggests that genes related to faulty inflammation modulation could be directly linked to development of ADHD.

2. Exposure to toxic substances during brain development: cigarette smoke and alcohol exposure during pregnancy have been implicated as possible triggers for ADHD. Cigarette smoke contains free radicals which can cause systemic and neuro-inflammation; inflammation related to alcohol has been shown to inhibit neuronal development and neuroprotective factors and to increase pro-inflammatory bio-chemicals in the brain—all of which have been shown to exist in ADHD patients.

3. Brain injury due to trauma: ADHD patients have higher than normal levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. During brain injury, the balance of neurochemicals in the brain switch from anti-inflammatory to pro- inflammatory cytokine generation. (4).

4. Brain structure differences: ADHD patients showed 3-4% smaller volume in all brain regions (brain size is NOT related to intelligence). Research indicates that the presence of inflammatory cytokines is directly related to brain volume loss. (3) Neuro-inflammation is known to be tissue destructive and abnormally high levels of inflammatory cytokines have been found in patients with ADHD.

5. Neurotransmitter imbalances—deficiency in dopamine and norepinephrine production.

6. Inflammation— The development of ADHD is often accompanied by high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (6). Data suggests that this chronic inflammation contributes directly to increased neuron destruction, a feature found in ADHD brains. (5)
Food sensitivities, flora-imbalances and other gastrointestinal issues are often found concurrent with ADHD diagnosis—these issues are related to chronic inflammation of the GI tract. Coexisting conditions are an indicator of systemic chronic inflammation which may be have predictive value and contribute to ADHD symptoms.

7. Omega-3 and Omega-6 Imbalance. (3) Patients with ADHD have been shown to have low DHA (Omega-3) and high Omega 6 levels (15). This non-optimal ratio, which is probably due to current dietary preferences, has been shown to increase inflammation, especially in the brain. Low DHA is also associated with impairments in cognitive and behavioral performance (2).

8. Oxidative stress—reflects an inability to detoxify free radicals or to repair their damage. Oxidative metabolism (detoxification) was found to be impaired in children and adolescents with ADHD (1) indicating a potential role for anti-oxidant therapy in the management of symptoms.

How does cryotherapy help children and adults with ADHD? Extensive research has shown that brain inflammation is connected to virtually all types of mental illness. Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, as well as more serious conditions like autism, dementia, and even schizophrenia, have all been linked to inflammation of the brain.

Whole body cryotherapy is fundamentally anti-inflammatory. Exposure to cold, as found in cryotherapy:
1. stimulates the release of anti-inflammatory bio-chemicals throughout the body, including in the brain;
2. releases endorphins which improve mood, focus, memory, concentration and sleep;
3. causes a vasoconstriction/vasodilation sequence which improves blood circulation and stimulates healing in damaged tissue;
4. increases levels of anti-oxidants, reducing oxidative stress and damage throughout the body, including in the brain;
5. increases levels of both dopamine and norepinephrine, which have been suggested to be low in ADHD patients.

For more information on how to treat ADHD naturally without medications, please click on this link:

https://www.cognitune.com/best-natural-adderall-alternatives/

Sources: Cryotherapy used to reduce symptoms of ADHD. (2018, April 30). Retrieved January 16, 2019, from http://chillcryotherapy.net/blog/cryotherapy-can-reduce-symptoms-of-adhd/

(1) Psychiatry Res. 2015 Sep 30;229(1-2):310-7. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2015.07.003. Epub 2015 Jul 8.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and oxidative stress: A short term follow up study. Guney, Cetin, Alisik M, Tunca H, Tas Torun Y, Iseri E, Isik Taner Y, Cayci B, Erel O.

(2)Fenton W, Dickerson F, Boronow J, Hibbeln J, Knable M (2001) A placebo-controlled trial of omega-3 fatty acid (ethyl eicosapen- taenoic acid) supplementation for residual symptoms and cognitive impairment in schizophrenia. Am J Psychiatry 158: 2071–2074
(3) Raz R, Gabis L (2009) Essential fatty acids and attention-deficit- hyperactivity disorder: a systematic review. Dev Med Child Neurol 51:580–592
(4) DaiS,ZhouY,LiW,AnJ,LiP,YangN,ChenX,XiongR,LiuP, Zhao Y, Shen H, Zhu P, Chen J (2010) Local glutamate level dictates adenosine A2A receptor regulation of neuroinflamma- tion and traumatic brain injury. J Neurosci 30:5802–5810
(5) Fredriksson A, Archer T (2004) Neurobehavioural deficits associated with apoptotic neurodegeneration and vulnerability for ADHD. Neurotox Res 6:435–456
(6) J. G. Millichap, “Etiologic classification of attention-deficit/hyper- activity disorder,” Pediatrics, 121, No. 2, e358–e365 (2008).

Freezing Genitals to Boost Sex Drive Is Apparently a Thing People Do Now

Freezing one's genitals on purpose is apparently all the rage overseas. Men's Healthreports that customers at Ainscow Spa in Manchester now have the ability to try out a so-called "Love Mist" treatment, which includes the subzero freezing of penises and vaginas.

The service, which received very Sun-y and Mirror-y write-ups in the Sun and the Mirrorearlier this week, claims to "lift the endorphin levels and sex drive" of those adventurous enough to endure it. The appearance of one's genitals is also alleged to see potential improvement following this mist of love. 

"When the sub-zero temperature covers the skin, the sudden drop in heat stimulates the temperature receptors, prompting the brain to transmit messages throughout the body so the blood vessels undergo 'vasoconstriction,'" the spa said of the Cryotherapy UK treatment. "This produces a quicker blood flow and ramps up endorphin levels, generating a natural high."

Source: Cowen, T. (2018, June 01). Freezing Genitals to Boost Sex Drive Is Apparently a Thing People Do Now. Retrieved January 9, 2019, from https://www.complex.com/life/2017/02/freezing-genitals-boost-sex-drive

Cryotherapy Might Be the Best Way to Recover from Joint Pain

The other day while eavesdropping on a training session at the gym, I heard a statuesque trainer tell his client he recently started cryotherapy to help with his recovery. Since I was between sets—checking all of my social media pages and taking selfies—I took the time to Google this procedure. My knees had been bugging me recently, and I was desperate for any kind of relief.

The images that filled my screen showed people with their heads sticking out of machines resembling tanning beds except standing up and surrounded by fog. I came across testimonials from pro athletes like LeBron James and rave reviews from people with sculpted bodies who probably have never tasted Taco Bell’s nacho fries.

It turns out that one of the hottest fitness trends is making your body think you’re dying. That's how cold it gets in those chambers. Allegedly it's good for you.

In a nutshell, cryotherapy is a procedure that involves standing upright in a cryochamber with temperatures ranging from -184 F to -256 F. The extreme cold stimulates the skin’s temperate receptors to activate the nervous, immune, and endocrine systems. Basically, all the participating systems in your fight or flight response activate like Captain Planet characters. Any pain or inflammation is reduced. Your mood ring turns from a filthy brown to a sunny orange. And all of that happens in less than 3 minutes.

Any longer and, well, you saw Titanic, right?

I needed to see if it was worth the hype, so I paid a visit to a center recommended by a friend—Kryo X—in midtown Manhattan. Apparently one of the Real Housewives went there, and it’s a block from my apartment, so why not.

After being greeted by a friendly technician, hearing about their pro hockey player clients, and getting all of my safety questions answered—it’s very safe unless you’re pregnant, have unmanaged hypertension, deep vein thrombosis, acute or recent myocardial infarction, uncontrolled seizures, fever, Raynaud’s syndrome, cold allergy, acute kidney and urinary tract diseases, open wounds or ulcers, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or are being treated for cancer—I began my first of three treatments.

I stripped down to my boxer briefs, wiped away any moisture on my body to avoid frostbite, and put on the tube socks, mittens, earmuffs, face mask, and Ugg-like boots the center provided. Then I stepped into the cryochamber. It was kind of like walking into a very bright walk-in freezer…initially. For my first go-round, the technician took it easy on me and set the temperature to -215 F. And for three minutes he made small talk with me to take my mind of my body shaking uncontrollably. You know when Andre 3000 chants, “What’s cooler than being cool? Ice cold!” He should really update that last line to “Doing cryotherapy!”

Source: Dawson, Lamar. “Cryotherapy Might Be the Best Way to Recover from Joint Pain.” GQ, GQ, 16 June 2018, www.gq.com/story/cryotherapy-is-great-for-joint-pain.

Cold Therapy Can Improve Quality of Life in Fibromyalgia Patients, Trial Shows

Exposure to extreme cold can help improve the quality of life in fibromyalgiapatients by reducing musculoskeletal pain and inflammation, according to a clinical trial.

Results of the trial suggest that whole body cold-based therapy, called cryotherapy, should be considered as a treatment for fibromyalgia.

The study, “Effect of whole body cryotherapy interventions on health-related quality of life in fibromyalgia patients: A randomized controlled trial,” was published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine.

Cold has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation in many conditions, including rheumatic diseases and fibromyalgia. Cryotherapy has been shown to provide short-term pain relief in fibromyalgia patients.

Whole body cryotherapy is designed to trigger thermal stress that will promote blood vessel constriction and slow nerve signals, resulting in pain relief.

To better understand the potential benefits of cryotherapy for fibromyalgia patients, a team led by researchers at University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne in France conducted a randomized, controlled trial.

Participants included 24 adults with fibromyalgia who were randomized to undergo either whole body cryotherapy or not (these patients were called the control group). All patients underwent physiotherapy during the study period.

Patients in the cryotherapy group were exposed to extreme cold for three minutes at minus 110 degrees C (equal to minus 166 degrees Farenheit) in MECOTEC’s cryoair whole body cryotherapy chamber during 10 treatment sessions over eight days. All sensitive parts of the body, such as the face, ears, feet, and hands, were protected to avoid tissue damage.

All participants were asked to complete a quality of life questionnaire before treatment began and again one month after the final session.

Participants in the cryotherapy group reported significantly improved physical and mental health scores, compared with the baseline, or before treatment began.

The mean physical score improved from 21.3 to 55.6, and the mean mental health score from 30.1 to 60.4, whereas the control group did not have any significant changes in values.

“With few whole body cryotherapy sessions, rapid improvements have occurred both in the mental and physical dimensions of patients’ quality of life,” the researchers said.

Additional studies are still warranted to evaluate the long-term benefits of whole body cryotherapy for treating fibromyalgia. Since this therapeutic strategy has been demonstrated to improve sleep quality, further studies should address if whole body cryotherapy could improve sleep patterns in patients with the disease, the researchers said.

Source: Melão, Alice. “Cryotherapy Can Improve Fibromyalgia Patients' Quality of Life, Trial Says.” Fibromyalgia News Today, Fibromyalgia News Today, 27 Feb. 2018, fibromyalgianewstoday.com/2018/02/27/cryotherapy-can-improve-fibromyalgia-patients-quality-of-life-clinical-trial/.

What is Cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy causes the body to kick in to preservation mode and the brain signals the body to rush blood to the core for protection and continue to function the vital organs, cleansing the blood and increasing body heat (and metabolism). When the treatment is over, the fresh, clean and enriched blood rushes back throughout the body, boosting immunity, cell renewal and natural pain relievers.

Athletes and Cryotherapy

Faster Recovery

The craze began with sporting teams in 2011, when the Dallas Mavericks, the second-oldest team in the NBA that year, gave all the credit of their first league championship to Cryotherapy.

Dr. Ryan Tuchscherer said that the Denver Broncos “use it with a lot of the guys Sunday morning before they go to the stadium, so about three hours before kickoff we’ll go through and use the cryotherapy unit on them because it cleans out any inflammation, soreness that they have, but it also kind of dumps endorphins back into the body.”

Other athletes that use Cryotherapy are Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Mike Leake and Usain Bolt. Floyd Mayweather Jr., undefeated boxing champion, swears by Cryotherapy and does sessions before and after fights.

Effects of Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy treatments lower the skin temperature by 30-50 degrees. It causes the brain to think the body is freezing. The brain then triggers a fight-or-flight response and releases endorphins which are the body’s natural painkillers, resulting in reduced pain and inflammation.

- Cryotherapy benefits for sports and fitness

- Decreased muscle soreness, pain and inflammation

-Increased energy and peak athletic performance

-Increased blood circulation

-Improved muscle strength and joint function

-Faster return to sports training

-Decreased injury recovery time

-Decreased fatigue

Inflammation

Inflammation is a biological response of tissues and cells to injury and cellular damage, and acts as a protective attempt by the body to remove the distressed stimuli and to initiate the healing process.

The problem is that the receptors involved in pain are also present in inflammation; their activation causes the inflammatory reaction.

These chemical signals released by damaged cells result in dilation of blood vessels, accumulation of white blood cells, warming of tissue and swelling. Cryotherapy combats this response by constricting the blood vessels, thus decreasing inflammation.

Pain

The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of cryotherapy can drastically improve joint disorders such as rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Fibromyalgia is a disease that causes pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons. After emerging from the chamber clients report a pleasant warm feeling throughout the whole body. They say that their joints move more fluidly and that they feel strong and full of energy. This initial positive effect may last up to eight hours.

The immediate effect of skin cooling and analgesia lasts for five minutes, but the release of endorphins can have a lasting effect, where the pains and signs of inflammation as found in blood tests remain suppressed for weeks.

In sports medicine, Whole Body Cryotherapy has gained wider acceptance as a method to improve recovery from muscle injury

Source: Cryotherapy. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.earlyivw.com/cryotherapy/, Jan. 4, 2019

I Tried Cryotherapy as a Treatment for Depression

RIP Oliva Rodriguez - 12/31/18

Can going into a chamber chilled to -200 degrees help your mental health? I first heard about cryotherapy from the hippest girl I know, the quintessential person who knows about everything a good year or so before the rest of us. She told me that a Russian debutante she knew took her to a glorious place on La Cienega in West Hollywood where the two of them lost weight by standing in an ice cold chamber for three minutes, rocking out to Tame Impala (note: I didn’t know who that was). Right away, I had three conflicting thoughts simultaneously: one that she was insane, two that I complain that LA summer nights are too chilly so I could obviously never do it, and three that I had to try it right away.

The Cold Hard Facts

A month or two later, I found myself at the place she’d told me about—Cryohealthcare, the leading spot for Angelenos who like to freeze (the company is now expanding to New York). I was there, yes, because I’m a little obsessive and my perspective is admittedly a little skewed when it comes to body and weight and so I will try many things as a result. But I had also learned something else when I spoke to Robin Kuehne, who owns the Cryohealthcare monopoly with his brother Jonas—the MD who was the first doctor to bring cryotherapy to the US—and Jonas’ wife Emelia. Robin told me a social worker was bringing a group of depressed patients in regularly because of the impact cryotherapy can have on brain chemistry.

This really got my attention, because if there’s anything that rivals my interest in physical health, it’s mental health. I actually keep an Excel spreadsheet mood chart and every day I give the previous day a 1-10 rating. In addition to suffering from alcoholism (I’m sober a little over a decade-and-a-half), I’ve had bouts of depression since my early 20s. In other words, I was a good candidate to put the “positive impact on mood” cryotherapy theory to the test.

The Research

There have been some studies done on the topic, largely out of Poland, where the original cryotherapy machines were manufactured. One of the studies, “Whole-body cryotherapy as adjunct treatment of depressive and anxiety disorders,” focused on a group of 18-65 year-olds who had daily, 2-3 minute cryogenic treatments for 15 minutes and found that they showed more improvement after three weeks than a control group.

How, exactly, does this happen? In non-scientific terms, the idea is that when your body is in -200 degrees, it produces endorphins—sort of like a spinning class on crack. Add in the positive impact cryo is said to have on sleep (I’m a sometime insomniac so this really got my attention), the immune system and serotonin and you’ve got some faces, perhaps, frozen into perma-smiles.

Source: I Tried Cryotherapy As a Treatment For Depression, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/after-party-chat/201604/i-tried-cryotherapy-treatment-depression., Retrieved Jan. 1, 2019

Breaking Down the Benefits of Cryotherapy for Athletes

According to Webster, an athlete is “a person trained or skilled in exercise, sports or games requiring physical strength, agility or stamina.” With sports reaching unprecedented levels of intensity, today’s athletes are training harder than ever, pushing their bodies to the edge of their physical limits to win and reach their goals. To sustain their game and gain an edge over their competition, many are looking for the right way to rest and recover.

For nearly ten years, athletes have turned to whole-body cryotherapy to stay competitive in peak physical condition.

This month, we’re focusing on the health and well-being of athletes, and in this post, we’ll break down exactly what you need to know about the benefits of cryotherapy for athletes.

Thinking about adding cryotherapy to your sports recovery regime?

You’re in good company. Athletes from around the globe are adding cryotherapy to their health and wellness routines to stay in top physical condition. Because so many users report faster recovery times, this natural wellness method is becoming increasingly popular amongst the athletic and medical communities alike.

From first-round draft picks to gold medalists, all-stars to future hall-of-famers, here are just a few of the benefits of cryotherapy for athletes and the incredible roster of adoptees.

Faster Recovery Time

Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo swears by cryotherapy. What started as an attempt to heal an old injury turned into a staple in the star athlete’s recovery regime, “going for treatments up to twice a week to guarantee quick recovery after matches and training and, subsequently, optimal performance.” He even installed a chamber in his home.

Stronger Performance in the Training Room

Many collegiate and professional teams have invested and are investing in cryotherapy. The Georgia Bulldogs and Mizzou use state-of-the-art whole body cryotherapy chambers to ensure their athletes have access to the fastest recovery possible. The Kansas City Royals have used cryotherapy as well, citing it as a “secret weapon” for keeping athletes healthy during postseason.

No matter what your game is, cryotherapy could be the alternative treatment you’ve been looking for and can serve as a powerful addition to your sports recovery regime.

Are the benefits of cryotherapy for athletes just hype?

Since it’s debut, cryotherapy has proven to be very beneficial in the sports world. For more information about the benefits of cryotherapy for athletes, check out this recent podcast episode.

Source: Cryotherapy Benefits for Athletes | Impact Cryotherapy. (2018, August 08). Retrieved December 27, 2018, from https://impactcryo.com/athlete-cryo-benefits/

How Should I Expect to Feel after Cryotherapy?

“Cryotherapy Reviews – the results are in.

During a cryotherapy session, participants will feel a dry, comfortable cold, however, the feeling after the 3-minute chill is much different.

When stepping out of the cryosauna post-cryo session, it’s normal to feel instantaneously warm – this is because you are exiting the extremely cold temperatures created by the machine. Immediately after cryo, or even hours later, you may experience a sense of calm or rejuvenation. Many cryotherapy users have also reported feelings of euphoria and/or energy – others report having improved and/or deeper sleep the night following the session.”

Source: https://impactcryo.com/how-should-i-expect-to-feel-after-cryo/

“WHY am I subjecting myself to - 230 degrees??"

Check out these words of wisdom from a CRYOFitNC client - Wayne Salter - Owner of Fit Body Boot Camp -Greenville, NC :

“WHY am I subjecting myself to - 230 degrees??”
Because like many of you, I have aches and pains. I have stiffness, sometimes low energy, and generally feel old.

Sure, a lot of people say, "well, that's all just part of getting older.".

Hogwash. Rubbish! I'm not giving in that easy.

If there's something I can do for myself to have more energy, feel stronger, less stiff, younger, etc., then why shouldn't I do it??

Cryotherapy has many proven benefits, too many to list. Look it up on their site.

That's the same reason I believe so strongly in eating better and exercise. That's why YOU are reading this...because I had a deep enough conviction to share this message of health and hope with people, that I opened a gym.

There are so many things that are in YOUR CONTROL that you can do to stay in the best shape that you can, for as many years as you can.

All you have to do is choose to do it. You don't have to just go with the flow and let age "happen".

Now I'm not naive enough to think that living healthier makes you invincible. I may get diagnosed with cancer next week.

But at least I'm doing all that I can to put the odds in my favor of a strong and healthy life for many years to come.

And if I live long enough, there will be a time that I'm sitting on a front porch with my my wife Ashley, and I see someone jogging by.

That older me will think, "I wish I could get up and run like that."

So that's why I do what I do, while I can do it. Because I CAN, and one day I won't be able to.

I wear a shirt that says "Biohacker". This is a mindset of doing alternative little things for your health that can make a big difference.

As I get older, it gets more and more important to "biohack" as much as I can.

I may not convince you to jump in a cryo-chamber (although I'm experiencing amazing benefits) but I hope to convince you to take charge of your life and do what you can for your health. You've only got one body.”

-Wayne Salter, Owner Fit Body Boot Camp

WHY CRYOTHERAPY IS GREAT FOR YOU IN THE WINTER MONTHS

3 Big Reasons Cryotherapy Is Good for You During Winter

Brrr…it’s getting pretty cold out there!

If you’re a cryotherapy user, you probably think that this time of year is a good one to put the brakes on your cryotherapy sessions, but the opposite is actually true: Cryotherapy throughout the winter months can actually be one of the most effective times of the year to make sure you’re keeping up with your sessions — or even get started with cryotherapy for the first time. 

From boosting your energy to helping you ward off the seasonal colds that are always prevalent during the winter, here are the top three reasons you should double down on your cryotherapy sessions from October to March. 

1. Cryotherapy can be a way to fight seasonal depression.

With the shorter, colder days right about now, it’s easy to fall into the clutches of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).  While some people are convinced that there is a connection between the darker days and the disorder, Dr. David Kerr, an associate professor of psychology at Oregan State University, says the research is inconclusive.

Instead, Kerr’s extensive research states that there is a link between our modern lifestyles evolving faster than our genetic makeup and suggests that the reason you feel tired all winter has to do with the fact that your body is genetically wired to save energy during these colder, darker months. For those of you who spend most of your days in the office, this is great news, because you don’t need sunshine to feel better. Instead, you need something that shocks your body into an energy-burning mode. 

One of the biggest fixes for shocking your body into Energizer bunny efficiency? Getting your endorphins going with an energy boost — which is one of the top reported reasons users do cryotherapy. Outside of potentially helping with inflammation relief, athletic recovery, and pain relief, a session in a cryosauna could also incredibly beneficial for boosting the generate of endorphins. And with more endorphins, you can kiss those winter blues away! 

2. Cold therapy can also help ward off winter colds.

The past few flu seasons have been particularly harsh, and this year is not shaping up to be any different. While it may seem counterintuitive to drop into a tank of freezing temperatures to improve your health — a cryosauna is nothing like rolling around in the snow or walking around outside without the proper clothes. 

As a beneficial addition to any healthy lifestyle, cryotherapy may actually help users stay on track with immune-boosting habits during flu season by helping fight chronic aches and lower overall stress. In addition to the reported feelings of energy, cryotherapy has also been reported to provide pain relief, which has a positive effect on the body’s stress levels. And when a body is more at ease, the body’s ability to fight off illness and disease increases. Sounds like a win-win situation, right? 

3. Worried about keeping up with your holiday wellness goals? Cryo can be an easy way to stay in control.

It’s hard to stay on track with your health goals in the winter — we get it. With Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in swift succession one right after the other, it can be difficult to maintain a firm handle on your wellness goals. Add on top of that the endless parties and shopping lists that pile up around this time each year, and you’ve got a perfect storm for not keeping up with your healthy habits. 

Requiring less than five minutes per session, cryotherapy is one habit that is easy to keep track of. Just commit to three minutes a few times a week, and you can enjoy a range of benefits that promote natural healing and wellness across the board. 

Source: 3 Big Reasons Cryotherapy Is Good For You During The Winter, Retrieved from: https://impactcryo.com/reasons-cryotherapy-is-good-for-you-during-winter/