Cryotherapy, Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress & Immunity

Intense physical exercise can stimulate the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the body. This highly reactive chemical substance formed as a result of the regular metabolism of oxygen normally has an important role in maintaining homeostasis of a system. However, over-accumulation of these free radicals of molecular oxygen can cause a disturbance in the systems’ stability. The effects of ROS are usually counteracted by antioxidants and when the balance is disrupted a formation of oxidative stress can occur. This event can lead to many pathophysiological conditions in the body. Luckily, the beneficial characteristics of whole-body cryotherapy can restore the much needed balance.

Oxidative Stress

Every cell in the body is exposed to oxygen free radicals that have the potential to damage that cell. Molecules of antioxidants located in that cell can prevent the harmful chemical reaction by donating an electron to these free radicals. This also happens when they are subjected to different levels of physical stress, including intense exercise. Because the ROS formation is increased, the antioxidant capacity of the body starts to weaken. The ROS production, in turn, may impair oxygen consumption by the cells and in this way cause even higher production of ROS. This can cause muscle damage, heart and blood vessel disorders, and fatigue syndrome.

Removing Oxidative Stress with Whole-Body Cryotherapy

Brief application of extremely low temperatures of cryotherapy is likely to activate the homeostatic mechanism of the body. It is known that hypothermia can protect the endothelial barrier and thus reduces the passage of harmful substances from blood into the surrounding cells. When applied after the workout session, the cold nature of cryotherapy can alleviate physical stress and reduce the risk of oxidative stress formation induced by exercise. Low-temperature environment additionally reduce the extent of injury to muscle fibers, meaning the whole-body cryotherapy has the potential to increase the biological regeneration. Such improvements might me caused by enhanced oxygenation of the muscles. Blood with elevated levels of oxygen can then deliver vital nutrients to the cells which allow the body to enter enhanced oxygenation period to further enrich the body with oxygen and other essential nutrients. Vicious cycle of ROS production is then broken and the balance amongst oxidants and antioxidants is restored.

Improving Immunity

Enriched oxygenation potentials of the whole-body therapy are not beneficial solely for muscle regeneration and mitigating fatigue syndrome, but can positively affect the immune system as a whole as well. When combined with a healthy lifestyle, whole-body cryotherapy has the ability to enhance susceptibility to viruses and immunity to common illnesses. By decreasing physical stress in the body and elevating oxygen levels it can additionally enhance the general mental state and mood.

Leave a Comment