Why Being Cold Is Cool

Cryotherapy is an ever increasing trend in current times and for good reason. From professional athletes using it for recovery, to biohackers and the general population using it for overall health, the benefits seem endless. 

But what actually is cryotherapy? 

Cryotherapy is exposure to sub-zero temperatures (-120º to – 170º) for 2-3 minutes in a safe, controlled environment under supervision of a health professional. 

The Cryotherapy chamber at pH clinic is more effective and a lot more comfortable than other forms of cold exposure such as ice baths and ocean swimming. The best way to describe it is you get all the physiological benefit without the mental discomfort. 

On a surface level being cold is linked to a range of different health benefits including but not limited to:

  • Increased metabolism (burn more calories) 
  • Improved Energy levels 
  • Reduce Inflammation and swelling 
  • Improved Immune Response 
  • Improved stress responses. 
  • Improved cardiac and heart function 

Let’s dive into why using Cryotherapy is becoming increasingly necessary in today’s society. 

In this modern world we live in we are so used to using heaters or throwing a jumper on, living at a constant 21º-23º temperature. We become so accustomed to this that our natural health suffers and we have fallen out of alignment with what our bodies are supposed to be able to do naturally. Cold therapy is capable of bringing our health back to a level that we have lost. 

Using Cryotherapy to get cold allows us to access our bodies autonomic nervous system (the system that unconsciously regulates from our hormones to our heartbeat). This is  important to remember when discussing the following benefits in more detail. 

Reducing Inflammation and Swelling. 

Research found that using cryotherapy below freezing temperatures takes the number of inflammatory proteins found in the body post injury, post exercise or completion can be almost reduced to zero. This was due to the increased levels of cortisol found in the blood. This level of reduced inflammation lasted to up to 6 days after the cryotherapy session. 

What this means is that with consistent cold exposure the immune system is significantly boosted and your ability to recover after heavy bouts of exercise or after an injury is significantly improved. 

Weight Management 

Consistent use of Cryotherapy is an excellent tool for you to use to achieve your weight management goals. 

There are 2 types of fat in the body: White Fat & the HEALTHY Brown fat. 

Brown fat is a Healthy lean type of fat tissues that is able to release energy as and when needed resulting in the production of heat. Our bodies were naturally designed to have good amount of brown fat. New born babies have a relatively high amount of brown fat, so they can regain any health lost within a relatively short period. Over the years the amount of brown fat tissue drastically decreases and continues to decrease the older we get due to the lifestyles we live.  

Brown Fat is ESSENTIAL for Healthy Metabolism, healthy immune function, recovery and so much more.

But what does this mean for weight management?

There is a significantly negative relationship found between body fat and the amount of brown fat tissue. This meaning a person with a higher BMI or more body fat will have less brown fat tissue. Generallt people who are overweight or obese have less of this type of fat or none at all. This indicates that brown fat plays a huge role in weight management.

Production of brown fat is stimulated by gradual and consistent cold exposure. 

When you have a good amount of healthy brown fat stores, the body activates it at around 18ºc and our body will start to naturally produce heat. As the temperature drops below 18º the more brown fat is activated to assist in the health of the body.

People who struggle with weight management would benefit from cold therapy such as cryotherapy as this could assist in increasing the amount of brown fat tissues, ensuring that fat would rapidly dissolve to provide the body with heat,  resulting in a more radius decrease in body weight. You can burn up to 800 calories in one cryotherapy session with consistent use.

General well- being

Using the cryotherapy machine improves your general well being in life. Being cold provides you with a healthy amount of short term stress and stimulating your nervous system. By being cold your body learns to deal and handle stress a lot more calmly and efficiently right down to a subconscious level. This then translates into you being able to better choose how you control or handle the stressful situations life throws at you. 

Think of it as training for life. Being uncomfortable for a short period of time will make you a lot more comfortable for the rest of the time. 

Improved energy levels 

Exposure to the cold e.g. Cryotherapy can provide you with better energy balance as it trains the blood vessels. This directly stimulates the blood stream, increasing the metabolic rate, which in turn results in an increase in energy.Your energy levels only increase exponentially with consistent use of cryotherapy treatment.

Brown fat is rich in mitochondria (what produces energy in a cell) so as you develop more and more brown fat with consistent use the better energy levels you will gain.

Autoimmune diseases 

People suffering from an autoimmune disease such a rheumatism have an overactive immune system, to an extent where their immune system regards the bodies own cells as intruders and attacks them, producing antibodies. Using Cryotherapy can lead to a a reduction in inflammation being produced throughout the body. This reduces the risk in developing other injuries in the body as healthy tissue is stimulated, reducing pain and discomfort in joints, muscles and tendons.

Heart and vascular function 

Using cryotherapy has a major effect on the heart and vascular system. It can be used to strengthen the whole system resulting in less frequent use (lower heart rate). Through use of Cryotherapy you are training all the little muscles that assist blood vessels, improving blood flow around the body.  

By Dr Harrison Stone (ALTR Therapy Practitioner)

Harrison

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