What is whole body cryotherapy?
Whole body cryotherapy (WBC) is the stimulating use of extremely low temperatures below minus 80 degrees centigrade. The chamber works by cooling the entire skin surface of the body in order to stimulate defensive reflexes and reactions such as increase in blood circulation and help to stimulate the immune and central nervous systems.
How does it work?
The sympathetic nervous system is stimulated by the skin’s cold receptors, causing severe vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels), followed by rapid vasodilation (widening of blood vessels). Blood flow to the skin’s surface and extremities is redirected to protect vital organs and maintain core temperature. The body’s response to extreme cold activates a cascade of powerful adaptive (survival) mechanisms involving the body’s most crucial systems.
The patient enters the pod in a bathing suit/shorts and t-shirt and is supplied with socks, gloves, and mouth and ear protection. During the treatment the skin temperature never drops lower than 5 ⁰C, however the core temperature remains unchanged.
The treatment triggers the release of endorphins and therefore induces natural pain relief in the body. The immediate effect of skin cooling and pain relief lasts for a few minutes; however the release of endorphins can reduce pain and inflammation in patients for weeks, allowing for more frequent and effective physiotherapy treatment.
How can whole body cryotherapy benefit you?
Cryotherapy can help a wide range of medical conditions including:
- rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
- frozen shoulder
- muscle and ligament strains
- skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema
Cryotherapy can improve blood circulation, ensuring adequate delivery of oxygen and nutrients to body tissues, while improving the body’s natural ability to eliminate toxins.
This treatment is increasingly used by elite athletes around the world to aid post training recovery and treat injuries.
Why have whole body cryotherapy at BMI Healthcare?
Extensive experience: whole body cryotherapy is provided by trained staff in the Physiotherapy department.
Fast access to treatment: you don't need to wait for a referral from your GP to access our cryotherapy service, you can arrange your appointment directly with us at your convenience.
Currently, whole body cryotherapy is located at BMI Hendon Hospital. Please contact the physiotherapy team to discuss your suitability for cryotherapy treatment.