Proponents of Cryotherapy claim it can help with weight loss, pain relief, and boosting athletic performance and energy levels.
But before you stand in a freezing chamber for a few minutes, you may want to know whether it really promotes health or is just another wellness trend.
Here are some of the possible benefits that cold exposure therapy offers:
- BRAIN HEALTH. Expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism and cold shock proteins are increased under cold exposure. Most notably, the cold shock protein RBM3 (RNA binding protein), has been shown to protect the connections between neurons, which protects the brain from damage.
- PAIN-RELIEF. The increase in norepinephrine is not only helpful for neurological and cognitive function, but it also seems to decrease inflammation by lowering TNF alpha levels. A randomized control trial has shown whole body cryotherapy to decrease arthritis-related pain.
- ANTI-INFLAMMATORY. Although cold exposure and increased levels of norepinephrine decreases inflammation by suppressing some parts of the immune system, it can actually increase production of other immune cells like NK (natural killer) cells.
- FAT BURNING. Cold exposure and norepinephrine have also been linked to increased production of brown fat in humans. One can also extrapolate that one 3 minute cryo-session at temperatures below -250 deg F could cause one to burn 500-800 calories.
- ANTIOXIDANT EFFECT. Whole body cryotherapy has been shown to increase antioxidant activity via increased glutathione activity when used for 3 minutes daily, for at least 10 days, at temperatures between -200 to -284 deg F.