Cold Exposure, Inflammation, and Immune Function

Content curated by, Torrance Laugle

Written by, Will Schmidt

We’ve all experienced the flu, twisted an ankle, and gotten a bruise before. Across all of these experiences, and more, humans share the common feeling of an inflammation response from our body.

The purpose of an inflammatory response is to mitigate the initial cause of injury, clear out dead cells and damaged tissue, and to initiate tissue repair. However, when the process doesn’t go as planned—think fever—it gets interesting.

Case in point, inflammation has been identified as the key driver of the aging process. In fact, it’s often associated with most age-related diseases.

Inflammation is, so to speak, a double edged sword in a lot of ways. Cold immersion therapies, like whole body cryotherapy, have been shown to have a direct influence on inflammation.

 

Norepinephrine Reduces Inflammation

Remember when we talked about norepinephrine in depth?

No? You may like a quick look at our blog "Your Brain Loves The Cold" to get caught up.

Initially, we wrote about norepinephrine’s role as a neurotransmitter. However, norepinephrine has many other roles outside of that.

It’s possible that some pain reducing effects of whole-body cryotherapy may be related to an increase in norepinephrine levels, since inflammation itself causes pain. In fact, spinal injections of compounds that induce norepinephrine release have been shown to reduce pain in both human and animal studies.

When you put your body through cold stress, norepinephrine increases. One of its purposes is in reducing inflammation by inhibiting the pathway for TNF-alpha, a potent inflammatory molecule.

Excess TNF-alpha is associated with almost every human disease, ranging from type-2 diabetes to inflammatory bowel disease and cancer. Norepinephrine reduces TNF-alpha, but it also decreases levels of other chemicals like MIP-1α, which is produced by immune cells and potentially plays a role in rheumatoid arthritis.

 

Arthritis and Cold Immersion Therapy

When you reduce inflammation, for the most part, it’s usually a good thing. This is especially relevant to arthritis. In a randomized, controlled trial, patients with arthritis underwent whole-body cryotherapy and saw a significant reduction in pain.

Their therapy was structured to include:

·        Temperatures of -166 degrees F

·        A time of 2 to 3 minutes

·        A frequency of 3 treatments a week

·        A run time of 1 full week

Cold immersion therapy goes well beyond just arthritis though. It has been shown to have an effect on your general immune function.  

 

Cold Immersion and Your Immune System

Like inflammation, the immune system also plays a role in the aging process. Generally, aging is associated with a reduction in immune cells and non-functional immune cells. What’s interesting is that super-centenarians usually have a healthy, biological stock of immune cells.

Cold immersion therapies seem to increase certain types of immune cells. For example, long term, cold-water immersion (3 times a week for 6 weeks) in healthy males was shown to increase lymphocyte numbers.

This runs parallel to the fact that habitual winter swimmers have higher numbers of white blood cells. Additionally, recent research demonstrates that cold exposure in a climatic chamber at 41 degrees F increased white blood cell numbers. Specifically, it increased cytotoxic T lymphocytes: specialized types of immune cells that kill cancer cells.

Further, males exposed to a cold room for 30 minutes, and decreased their core body temperature to 0.45 degrees C (find F), saw an increase in natural killer T cell numbers and activity. These natural T killer cells are yet another type of immune cell that kill viruses and tumor cells.

 

Conclusion

While there’s still a lot of research to be done, initial findings show that cold immersion therapy, like whole body cryotherapy, have a relationship with your body’s inflammation response and immune function. So, the next time your body has an inflammatory response, consider that whole body cryotherapy might be a good option to work through the pain.

How much Cryotherapy should I be doing?

Written by Torrance Laugle, YOLOrevival.com

One of the biggest questions asked regarding Cryotherapy is how many times should I do Cryo? Much like anything else, the answer is largely dependent on a client's desired results. However, we do know dependable therapy often comes with a steep price. My goal in this article is to explain our suggested protocol and give the you the practical requirements for the results you're looking for.

Instant gratification

Do I get benefits from just one sessions?

Answer: Yes!

Hangover cure, elevated mood, pain relief, calorie burn, headache relief, energy, accelerated recovery, and improved cognitive focus and function.

Next Question:

How many times do I really need cryotherapy?

I'm going to go over different categories of needs and the suggested protocols for each one.

After dedicating my time to thorough research and coupled with first hand experience, my personal belief when it comes to minimal use of cryotherapy for maximum benefits, is using the 10 day in-a-row experience. If you can budget it, go for the 30 day Challenge. The reason goes deeper than energy, muscle healing, fat burn, and skin care. In fact, it goes to the core root of your cell function. Function describes what cells do; in a multicellular organism (like us) the function is why we exist. The structure makes it possible for a cell to perform its function. Thus, enhanced cell function directly affects and accelerates those desired benefits.

According to Dr. Rhonda Patrick's thorough research, cold exposure increases activity of antioxidant enzymes. One of the side effects of ramping up fat oxidation to burn stored fat for energy, is the production of those damaging reactive oxygen species that damage nearly everything inside cells, including DNA. This is actually a normal product of energy metabolism, and- in a way, is a natural part of being alive.

How we respond to this damage and mitigate it is ultimately what's important.

Reactive oxygen species, by contributing to things like DNA damage and cellular senescence, are a huge component of the very process of aging and also a sign of mitochondrial dysfunction. Being able to prevent that damage from occurring or being able to  repair it after it does occur is extremely important to staying healthy, and cancer free!  Interestingly enough, it appears as though exposure to cold, by functioning as a hormetic stressor, actually activates very potent genetic antioxidant systems which are exponentially more powerful than supplemental antioxidants. These provide the body with the tools it needs for better function and damage repair.

That is just the beginning of why activating these antioxidant enzymes create a longer-lasting benefit and enhanced results.

For example, young men exposed to cryotherap for 3 minutes at ­202°F (−130°C) every day for 20 days doubled the activity of one of the most potent antioxidant enzyme systems in the body called ‘glutathione reductase’, and increased another potent antioxidant enzyme called ‘superoxide dismutase’ by ~43%. Similarly, elite kayakers that engaged in whole body cryotherapy (­248 to ­284°F or ­120 to  ­140°C) 3 minutes a day for 10 day increased the activity of superoxide dismutase by 36% and glutathione peroxidase by 68% . That is pretty stout. For those of you not familiar with superoxide dismutase, this enzyme is in your mitochondria cleaning up all that damage that is being produced every second of every day.

In other words, it is incredible. It is also important to note that the increase in antioxidant enzyme activity, in this case, took multiple sessions of the whole body cryotherapy. Concluding, the more frequent cryotherapy was done, the more robust of an increase seen in activating these powerful antioxidant enzymes.

This brings me to the next question of:

Do I have to do Cryotherapy everyday forever for these effects?

The answer is No. Once you activate this response, it is believed to ‘unlock’ and become adopted into the body's response when exposed to these extreme temperatures. Yay for free Anti- Aging Enzymes!!!!

To learn more about this response, stay tuned for my article ‘The importance of glutathione in the body.'

Based on our experience and WBC research done in Europe, below is a list of estimated time frames needed to start noticing benefits:

ACUTE PAIN AND INFLAMMATION: 3-10 SESSIONS (2-4 TIMES/WEEK)

CHRONIC PAIN AND INFLAMMATION: 10-20 SESSIONS (2-4 TIMES/WEEK)

SPORTS MUSCLE RECOVERY: 1-2 SESSIONS

IMPROVED SLEEP: 1-30 SESSIONS (2-3 TIMES/WEEK)

LOSE LBS OR INCHES: 10-20 SESSIONS (3-5 TIMES/WEEK)

POST SURGERY RECOVERY: 1-10 SESSIONS (2-4 TIMES/WEEK)

INCREASED ENERGY: 1-10 SESSIONS (2-3 TIMES/WEEK)

INFLAMMATORY SKIN ISSUES: 10-20 SESSIONS (2-4 TIMES/WEEK)

FIBROMYALGIA: 10-20 SESSIONS (2-3 TIMES/WEEK)

MIGRAINE HEADACHES: 5-10 SESSIONS (2-3 TIMES/WEEK)

ALLERGIES: 3-10 SESSIONS (2-3 TIMES/WEEK)

Most of the research I have found involves patients getting WBC (Whole Body Cryotherapy) 1-2 times a day for up to 3 weeks straight. This is why WBC is reported to be so effective, and why I wholeheartedly believe everyone should do 2-4 weeks of Cryotherapy everyday once in their lifetime. WBC is not a miracle cure for disease and/or pain. However, it vastly stimulates the body to heal itself. Any type of chronic health problem or injury will take time to overcome. If you want to really see what WBC can do for you, you need to be consistent and give it enough time to do its job. Thinking that just a few sessions will overcome a chronic health issue is simply unrealistic.

 Have more questions? I have more answers!

Email me at Torrance@chillnout.com

Your Brain Loves The Cold!

Content curated by Torrance Laugle

Written by Will Schmidt

When most people think about cryotherapy or cold-water immersion, the first thing that comes to mind is its effect on metabolism, muscle soreness, and recovery. What’s funny is they don’t consider the effects it has on their thinking muscle: the brain.  

According to Dr. Rhonda Patrick, there exists evidence that suggests cold exposure affects your brain in a multitude of positive ways. How does standing in a cryo sauna for three minutes bring on these benefits? It all starts with a chemical native to your brain and body called norepinephrine.

What is Norepinephrine?

Norepinephrine acts as both hormone and neurotransmitter in that it:

  • Releases heat and lactate in the body

  • Increases vasoconstriction—the constriction of blood vessels—when released into the bloodstream

  • Has profound effects on mood, pain, metabolism, and inflammation

  • Is involved with maintaining vigilance, focus, attention, and mood

“One of the most consistent and profound physiological responses to cold exposure is a robust release of norepinephrine into the bloodstream, as well as in the locus coeruleus region of the brain,” says Dr. Patrick.

In other words, norepinephrine has a distinctive impact on your brain. Increases in norepinephrine in your body, brought on by cold exposure, heighten your sense of vigilance, focus, and attention.

Conversely, Dr. Patrick says decreased norepinephrine levels are associated with inattention, decreased focus, impaired cognitive ability, low energy, and poor mood. In some cases, low levels of norepinephrine are believed to cause depression.

To instigate the release of norepinephrine in your body, you have to subject yourself to specific ranges of temperatures through practices like cryotherapy.  

Temperature

In order to achieve the release of norepinephrine into the bloodstream, you have to hit a specific temperature threshold. According to Dr. Patrick’s research:

“Cold-water immersion at 68 degrees F for one hour does not appear to activate norepinephrine release whereas one hour at 57 degrees F increased it by 530 percent and also increased dopamine by 250 percent.”

It might seem like the longer you’re in the cold, the better. However, a recent, long-term study on humans and cold immersion therapy indicates that’s not necessarily the case.

One group of people sat in cold water at 40 degrees F for 20 seconds. The other group did whole body cryotherapy at -166 degrees F for two minutes.

Both did their treatments three times a week for 12 weeks. In each case, plasma norepinephrine increased by 200 to 300 percent.

Norepinephrine, while incredibly beneficial for your body, is only part of the picture. Cold immersion also releases specific proteins in your brain that go well beyond improving your mood and focus.

Cold Shock Proteins

“When the body is cooled, many genes are shut down, the exception, however, are genes involved in lipid metabolism (fat burning) and the group of proteins known as cold shock proteins,” says Dr. Patrick. “The expression of these two categories of genes is increased upon cold exposure.”

One specific, cold shock protein, RNA binding motif 3 (RBM3), is found in the brain, heart, liver, and skeletal muscle, and increases in activity greatly with only mild cold exposure.

According to Dr. Patrick, RBM3 has the potential to directly affect our brain synapses, which are how neurons communicate and how our brain forms memories.

What’s interesting is that synapses break down during cold exposure. This was first observed through studies conducted on hibernating animals.  

When the animals awoke from hibernation, almost 100 percent of their synapses regenerated. Further, this phenomenon may not only be limited to hibernating animals—it’s also been observed in lab mice, which don’t hibernate.

The mice were cooled to a temperature of 41 degrees F for 45 minutes. Generally, they experienced a 26 percent loss of synapses in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory.

Once the mice were warmed back up, they rapidly regenerated around 93 percent of synapses lost to the cold. How does this relate to humans? The answer is in the RBM3 cold shock protein.

According to Dr. Patrick, the role of RBM3, as a cold shock protein, is to bind with RNA to increase protein synthesis to dendrites, which are part of the neuron that communicates with synapses. Effectively, this enables RBM3 to regenerate neurons damaged in cold immersion.

“A single exposure of this cold shock protocol at 41 degrees F for 45 minutes was enough to increase RBM3 in mice’s brains for three days,” says Dr. Patrick. “When the procedure was repeated once a week for two weeks, not only was the expression of RBM3 robustly increased, but it lasted for an additional six weeks after that.”

RBM3 research is relatively new, and it’s not clear whether the effect would occur the same way in humans. However, it appears that only a 2 degree F reduction in core body temperature is enough to induce RBM3 and other cold shock proteins.

Contrary to what a lot of scientists and researchers claim, there’s an abundance of evidence that suggests cold immersion, like cryotherapy, is great for your body and brain. This is the first post in a series that details the different ways cold immersion therapy, like what we offer at Chill N Out, affects your body. Stay tuned for more!

 

 

 

Cryotherapy 101

Cryotherapy 101: Everything You Need to Get Started

by Will Schmidt

What do Cristiano Ronald, Daniel Craig, Kobe Bryant, Lindsay Lohan, LeBron James, and Tony Robbins have in common? They’re all advocates for Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC).

Multiple news outlets have covered the WBC movement, and popular TV shows like HBO’s Ballers showcase the cold therapy treatment to viewers. This has helped facilitate the spread of WBC to mainstream culture, but despite it all there’s still controversy and misinformation surrounding cold treatment therapy.

Before we dig into it, there are some facts about cold therapy you should know.

  • Fact: Ancient Greeks and Romans used cold treatment therapies and praised cold treatments for their effectiveness

  • Fact: WBC was initially developed in 1978 as a way to treat rheumatoid arthritis

  • Fact: Professional athletes have been using WBC for recovery since 1990

  • Fact: US athletes began using WBC in 2011 as a post-workout recovery tool

  • Fact: Cold therapy is cited as being more effective than heat for inflammation and pain

What is Cryotherapy, Really?

Looking at the broad spectrum, the first thing you should understand is that there are two different options for WBC: nitrogen fueled Cryo Saunas and walk-in, electric cooled chambers. Each has its respective benefits, and we’ll be exploring both more in depth in future articles.

At Chill N Out, we use the Cryo Sauna. The temperature in the sauna is cooled with Nitrous gas and drops to between -120C and -160C. The process causes only your skin temperature to drop, not your core temperature. This is because Nitrogen is denser than Oxygen and thus can’t permeate your skin beyond a depth of one half (0.5) millimeters.

The cold causes rapid, vascular constriction which sends all of the blood in your peripheral arteries to your core and vital organs. Once you exit the sauna, the blood vessels in your body begin the vasodilation and pull the oxygenated blood back into your muscles and joints. WBC has also been said to flush toxins from your system and assist in the removal of lactic acid buildup.

Everybody is different, and every person’s body responds to WBC differently. However, there are a few common uniting most experiences together. Generally speaking, people:

  • Feel a release of endorphins and norepinephrine

  • Experience a noticeable increase in energy levels and appetite as metabolism ramps up

  • Notice more effective sleep and relaxation

  • Have improved athletic recovery

At the end of the day, unlike an ice bath, you’ll only spend about 90 to 180 seconds in the Cryo Sauna. Most people find the time goes by very quickly, but if you ever feel uncomfortable ending the session is as easy as stepping out of the sauna.

The Science Supporting Cryotherapy Exists

Take to Google Search and you’ll find that the general opinion around WBC is divided. Some people swear by it while others claim there’s absolutely no scientific documentation to back up the therapeutic claims.

However, that doesn’t mean there’s no corroborating evidence on WBC. In fact, a study conducted by Italian scientists in Milan found promising results when looking at WBC as a recovery tool for athletes.

According to the group, “WBC is used to relieve pain and inflammatory symptoms caused by numerous disorders, particularly those associated with rheumatic conditions, and is recommended for the treatment of arthritis, fibromyalgia, and ankylosing spondylitis.”

The study shows that WBC has also gained a wide acceptance in sports medicine as a method to improve recovery from muscle injury. Some of the results were interesting – these are some top level highlights:

  • WBC is not harmful or detrimental in healthy subjects

  • WBC induces oxidative stress, but at a low level

  • WBC does not seem to be harmful to the immune system

  • WBC shows positive effects on muscular enzymes and should be considered a procedure that facilitates athletic recovery

  • WBC does not damage, in any way, the heart during treatment

Based off of their research, the conclusion for their study states that WBC is not harmful and has no negative effects in athletes. If you’re interested in reading the full report, or researching more case studies, check it out here.

Stay Engaged with Chill N Out

WBC is still relatively new, and there’s going to be more research that gets published on the subject as time moves forward. The Chill N Out blog was designed to ensure that you get the most up to date resources to make the most of your cryotherapy experience.

So, if you’re curious feel free to stop by our locations in Pacific Beach and Point Loma – we’ll be happy to give you a rundown of the Cryo Sauna, the process, and answer any questions you might have. Be sure to read our blog, follow our social media, and subscribe to our newsletter for continual updates and news in the world of cryotherapy.

 

Cryo at the Beach: Pacific Beach Now Open!

Chill N Out is officially open in Pacific Beach!  Located right on Garnet Ave across from 24 Hour Fitness & The Mad Beet smoothie shop, this location will make fitting cryotherapy into your fitness/recovery routine a breeze.

Do you live in Bird Rock, La Jolla, Mount Soledad, or Mission Beach?  This is your home studio!  Chill N Out Pacific Beach offers all of the same amenities as our Sports Arena location: spacious dressing rooms to stretch out after your session, awesome staff, and privacy!  Worried about the parking on Garnet?  There is a private lot behind the studio!  Just pull into the Bank of America parking lot, turn right down the alley, and we are the first lot on your right.   Please use our front door entrance even if you park in the back.  We love all of our clients and we're so excited to see some familiar faces at this new location, and also meet new ones!

pacific beach lobby

pacific beach lobby

Cryotherapy in San Diego: Sports Arena Now Open!

Chill N Out's first location is now open with the industry standard in cryosauna technology: the Juka machine! We are located in the Point Loma Plaza shopping center (Vons, 24 Hour Fitness, Buffalo Wild Wings, etc).  This location is very convenient for anyone in the Point Loma, Ocean Beach, Mission Valley, or Pacific Beach areas.  We're right upstairs between The Pilates Room & Nutrition Zone


Chill N Out seeks to offer a more comfortable therapy experience - with customers each receiving a personalized treatment by a technician who walks you through the entire process.  Our dressing rooms are spacious and private, and your tech will be the only one in the treatment room with you during your session... unless of course you'd like your spouse or friends to accompany you - after all, you'll probably want a photograph or two to document your first time at -240° F! 

 

chill n out lobby