Research findings-1/2021. Whole-body cryo
7 January 2021 / 0 comments

Please register here for our newsletter to get an overview of the last research findings on water immersion and whole-body cryotherapy and how these findings can assist you and your practice.

ProCcare continuously extracts the newly published research studies on water immersion and whole-body cryotherapy. These studies are the basis of our literature database and form the foundation of our ProCcare method which is implemented in our software solution. Our software solution assists athletic trainers, cryo-operators, and business owners who look for optimal support for their athletes and clients by limiting liability, increasing customer value, and elevating customer experience as opposed to the current one-size-fits-all approach.

Study: Legrand, F. D. et al. Affective response to whole-body cryotherapy: Influence of sex, body mass index, age, time of day, and past experience. Complement Ther Med 55, 102539 (2020).

Method: Two hundred fifty-nine customers from two French cryocenters took the Feeling Scale immediately after their first WBC session to assess the affective response following a 3-minute WBC session.

Primary findings by the authors:

(1) Most participants rated WBC as being slightly-to-moderately unpleasant immediately after completing their first session,

(2) Past experience with WBC might positively moderate the negative effects of WBC on affect (particularly in women), and

(3) Those with higher BMI tended to report less negative feelings (once again this was seen for women but not for men).

ProCcare's take-home message: 

Legrand's study shows that a relatively large group of 259 clients rate WBC slightly to moderately unpleasant. People don like cold, and thereby compliance with a WBC routine is at stake. At the same time, we know that low compliance results in less pronounced effects for the client and less recurrent business for the business owner. The physiological response during whole-body cryo presents a high variability among individuals and depends mainly on gender, body composition, age, and general-or local cold adaptation. General cold adaptation following exposure to whole-body cryo is rarely reported as the exposure duration over time and frequency is limited. Instead, local cold adaptation via repeated, systematic exposure is possible when focusing on physiological response habituation. Within a treatment cycle, habituation occurs due to the repeated exposures mentioned in the previous section. Research showed some physiological measures illustrate a habituated response to repetitive whole-body cryo while others do not or even show a stimulation. Thermal sensations have already become habituated after the first and second exposure (Westerlund and colleagues 2009).

Taking this habituation into considerations for first-timers seems to be inevitable to turn them into recurrent clients. To assess whether habituation needs to occur, a proper intake consultation consisting of an intake interview and intake session should be prescribed.

How to apply these findings in practice:

It might be of benefit to acclimatize to whole-body cryotherapy for improving compliance. Therefore, it is recommended to:

  • Assess the thermal and perceptual response of a client before integrating whole-body cryotherapy systematically. Look for the breathing response and increase in heart rate directly after exposure, perceive the intensity of shivering during and after exposure, and assess, if possible and upon some proper training, the skin temperature before and directly after by using a thermal camera. You will notice significant differences in these individual responses. In case the reactions are more intense, more attention to acclimating the client is warranted.
  • In case acclimatization is needed, the focus should be on habituating the physiological response occurring at the last minute of exposure.
  • Repetitive exposure, three times per week for two weeks, to a lower dose should be prescribed. Aim for controlling thermal comfort; it should not be perceived as uncomfortable, the client should not report significant pain. In case the client becomes habituated, more intense treatment sessions can be prescribed.
  • Remain close to still and stay relaxed while standing during exposure. The movement will increase the convection rate, which will impact comfort levels during the acclimatization period and make sure the client feels comfortable by providing proper instruction or music.
  • To test if the client is acclimatized optimally, the intake session can be repeated, comparing the first test's reactions with the second.

Interested in finding out how this habituation is integrated into our CustoRec® solution? Please reach out to us and schedule your demonstration.

Whole-body cryo studies Nov/ Dec 2020:

  1. Aloulou, A. et al. Effect of an Innovative Mattress and Cryotherapy on Sleep after an Elite Rugby Match. Med Sci Sports Exerc 52, 2655–2662(2020).
  2. Cronier, R., Fardellone, P. & Goëb, V. [Cerebral bleeding during a cryotherapy session: A case report]. Rev Med Interne 41, 843–845 (2020).
  3. DeNardi, M., Facheris, C., Ruggeri, P., La Torre, A. & Codella, R.High-impact Routines to Ameliorate Trunk and Lower Limbs Flexibility in Women. IntJ Sports Med 41, 1039–1046 (2020).
  4. Legrand, F. D. et al. Affectiveresponse to whole-body cryotherapy: Influence of sex, body mass index, age, time of day, and past experience. Complement Ther Med 55, 102539(2020).
  5. Nasi, M. et al. Effects of whole-body cryotherapy on the innate and adaptive immune response in cyclists and runners. Immunol Res 68, 422–435(2020).
  6. Rymaszewska,J. E., Stańczykiewicz, B., Lion, K. & Misiak, B. The impact of whole-bodycryotherapy on lipid profile: A systematic review and meta-analysis. ComplementTher Med 55, 102568 (2020).
  7. Zielińska-Nowak, E., Włodarczyk, L., Kostka, J. & Miller, E. New Strategies for rehabilitation and Pharmacological Treatment of Fatigue Syndrome in multiple sclerosis. J Clin Med 9, (2020).
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