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The Effect of Whole Body Cryotherapy on Inflammation

Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) has become increasingly popular in sports medicine and popular culture. Many professional athletes and celebrities use WBC to “enhance recovery after injuries and to counteract inflammatory symptoms resulting from overuse or pathology”.

Whole Body Cryotherapy Induces Anti-Inflammatory Effects

A study of 69 physically active male subjects (including 10 professional rugby players and 39 healthy individuals) that were treated with 30 cryo sessions lasting 2 and a half minutes each, resulted in several new findings [1].

One of the notable findings was that WBC induces anti-inflammatory effects. Findings show that WBC stimulates the anti-inflammatory response while also noting that the fitness capacity of each individual affects the inflammatory response to WBC in non-athletes (the physical condition of participants had a direct effect on the magnitude of the benefits received).

The study also calls for further investigations to focus on establishing, whether reduced inflammation has a beneficial effect on athletes’ performance if training was to be combined with cold therapy.

1. Banfi G, Lombardi G, Colombini A, Melegati G. Whole-body cryotherapy in athletes. Sports Med. 2010;40:509–517. doi: 10.2165/11531940-000000000-00000. [PubMed]