There are three ways — all preventive — in which whole-body cryotherapy (WBC) may help to reduce the risk of cancer.
1. Weight Management
According to the National Cancer Institute, higher body fat is associated with at least 13 kinds of cancer, several of which (breast, liver, ovarian, pancreatic, colorectal) are among the best known killers. Researchers still have not determined why extra body fat may lead to cancer (if, in fact, the relationship is even causal), but studies have shown that weight reduction is also associated with cancer risk reduction.
There are hints coming out of scientific research that WBC may activate brown fat cells, which — unlike white fat cells — burn calories and help to control weight. I wrote about the research on brown fat last February. To the extent that WBC activates your brown fat cells and helps you to manage your weight, it helps to keep you in the cohort of people who suffer less cancer and out of the (overweight) cohort that suffer more.
2. Immune System Health
Does cancer always have a cause? Or does it arise because the immune system hasn’t suppressed it? The hide-and-seek game played by mutated cells and immune system cells has become one of the most exciting areas of cancer research: immunotherapy. There are several promising avenues in this field, but I think one of the most interesting is nonspecific immune stimulation, in which a patient’s own immune system is bolstered so it recognizes and attacks mutated cells.
Can you take steps on your own to strengthen your immune system to act against cancer? A study published in 2010 among healthy young men found that WBC “mobilizes the immune system.” The researchers didn’t just count the number of colds the young men caught. They took blood tests before and after each WBC session and examined the blood for known immune markers.
3. Control of Chronic Inflammation
Researchers have long noted a relationship between cancer and inflammation. A paper published in 2006 in the Yale Journal of Biological Medicine titled “Why Cancer and Inflammation?” described a half dozen mechanisms that could be responsible for the association. Inflammation is a sign that your immune system is working, but when it stays active longer than needed to neutralize the threat, it can start attacking the DNA in your healthy cells, which means cancer.
You can reduce inflammation by changing lifestyle habits: give up smoking and drinking, lose weight, stop eating too much meat, get more exercise. But if you already have chronic inflammation, you may need to take extra steps to control it. Last August, I wrote about a study that showed WBC reduces inflammatory markers in the bloodstream. That’s one of the reasons it is so useful in exercise recovery.
4. Mood Enhancement
As early as 1931, medical science recognized that depression is often the earliest symptom of pancreatic cancer. And many cancer patients seem to think that their depressed psychological state is responsible for their illness. But no research has ever demonstrated that sad people get cancer more often than happy people.
Nevertheless, experience tells us it’s better to feel good than to feel downcast. Our WBC clients often report feelings of exhilaration from their sessions. I said at the outset there were three ways, so this fourth one doesn’t count. Mood enhancement probably doesn’t prevent cancer, but it’s still an important element of a healthy life, so I thought I would tack it on.
Be as healthy as you can be. Book a whole-body cryotherapy session today.