The research over the last three decades on the effects of Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) can be split into two categories: medical and sports performance. To understand the benefits it is necessary to explain the effects of WBC on the human body.
The human body continually strives for a state of equilibrium. This is influenced by both internal and external factors. During WBC, in an innate response to protect the body from the critically low temperatures, the brain gives orders to all peripheral parts of the body to constrict the muscles and tissues in order to send blood to the core of the body. This is because the body’s core temperature must remain at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. So upon receipt of signals from the skin’s cold sensors of the freezing temperatures in the cryo-chamber, the brain has a clear warning that maintaining the necessary core body temperature will be impossible if blood circulation in the outer layers of the skin is allowed to continue. Therefore, all survival resources are mobilized, and blood is diverted from the periphery (vasoconstriction) into the body’s core to begin circulating in an “internal cycle” where it becomes oxygen, nutrient and enzyme enriched in order to protect it’s vital organs. In addition, the body’s endocrine system activates the release of hormones into the blood while in its perceived critical state.
Upon exiting the chamber, the body senses the change in temperature and releases the blood from its “internal” cycle to the periphery (vasodilation) where the enriched blood now floods the tissue in these areas.
These physiological responses manifest themselves in an anti-inflammatory effect, pain relief and an endorphin induced “high”.
These benefits can then be applied across a variety of medical conditions as an adjunct to physiotherapy treatments or in the case of sports performance allowing quicker recovery from training.
For a comprehensive list of conditions that can benefit from WBC please go to the Medical Benefits and Sports Performance pages.