The human immune system is incredibly complex, and some scientists spend their entire professional lives trying to thoroughly understand it. Despite the superstitions and misinformation that have so much traction with the anti-vaccination crowd, most people have a basic understanding of how the immune system works. When it is strong, you don’t get sick as much. When it’s weak, you do. Note that even the healthiest environment harbors many, many sources of possible infection. That is why a person born with no immune system will not survive outside a sterile plastic bubble. Can whole-body cryotherapy (WBC) support immune health? Maybe, at least a little.
Clean Living Comes First
First of all, if you were born with a functional immune system, there are a lot of ways to weaken or damage it. Constant stress, lack of exercise, too much exercise (i.e., overtraining), unbalanced diet, insufficient hygiene, too much hygiene, dehydration, abuse of alcohol, smoking, lack of sleep, are just a few of the factors than can undermine your body’s ability to fight infection. If your immune system has been weakened by one or more of these factors, you need to change the way you are living. There’s no substitute for that. Compared to managing stress, exercising, and eliminating bad habits, cryotherapy can only ever be a supplemental aid.
A 2010 paper in the European Journal of Applied Physiology reported on a study of 15 healthy young men. Each got 10 three-minute sessions of WBC. The researchers took blood samples before and after the WBC sessions and tested them for signs of increased immune system functioning. The tests showed a significant increase in white blood cell count. They also showed increases in Interleukin 6 (IL6), which was most pronounced after the tenth session, implying a sort of cumulative effect.
There was also a significant reduction in total antioxidative status. (Antioxidative stress is an overabundance of compounds that interfere with immune system functioning.) The researchers concluded that repeated sessions of WBC have a “mobilization effect” on the immune system.
The WBC Immunity Hypothesis
What if you’re not in the healthy young men demographic? It’s possible this mobilization effect works for others, too. A clinical trial testing cryotherapy in combination with a biological recruited men in the 18-85 age group. The disease was prostate cancer, and the researchers were looking for immune cell response. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how well it worked, because the study started in 2014, and I have seen no reported results. Nevertheless, the existence of the study tells us there are reputable scientists hypothesizing a WBC-enhanced immune response.
Finally, I would note that there has been quite a bit of research on WBC as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, and while most of the research on WBC as a treatment concentrates on its role as a pain reliever, there is good evidence that it reduces both antioxidant levels and oxidative stress.
Cryotherapy for Immune Health
While most of the science on WBC as an immune system strengthener is still fairly speculative, there’s good reason to incorporate it into your care routine. Peak’s WBC service is safe, noninvasive, and even pleasant. A session takes only three minutes. So the risk of using it and the inconvenience factor are both very low. It also offers a host of other benefits. Book a session today.