The science behind freezing fat
Can cryotherapy really help you lose weight or is it just another fad among Hollywood entertainers and athletes? Let’s face it if someone tells you all you need to do to get rid of those pesky fat cells is endure a few minutes of cold air it sounds almost too good to be true. We’ll explore the science behind cryotherapy and how it impacts weight loss.
Invented in 1978 by Dr. Toshima Yamauchi, cryotherapy was first designed as a way to potentially treat rheumatoid arthritis by applying frozen instruments to injured or inflamed areas of the body. Ice packs and ice baths have been common among athletes for years and now the therapy has evolved to what is now called whole-body cryotherapy (WBC), which involves spending 2-3 minutes in a cryo chamber at -200 degrees or colder.
Advocates of cryotherapy say it can burn an additional 500-800 calories. Hollywood entertainers such as Jessica Biel, Justin Timberlake, and athletes such as Lebron James & Kobe Bryant praise cryotherapy for its benefits. But how does standing in a chamber of freezing air improve weight loss?
Shivering may actually play a role.
A recent study in the Journal of Physiology showed that men who were exposed to cold climates for 4 weeks showed an increase in– you guessed it–shivering capacity. The men participating in the study also showed increased body heat production, or thermogenesis, in part due to shivering and utilization of brown adipose tissue. Participants also showed no loss in muscle fiber.
“The theory is that when you are in a cryotherapy chamber and you are exposed to cold air, your body thinks it may freeze. This causes the body to send a rush of blood to the brain and other internal organs as a protective mechanism, therefore increasing your body heat and metabolism”.
Increased Fat Burning Capacity
In a study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, people who spent two hours per day for six weeks in a 63-degree room burned more energy than people who spent the time in warmer temperatures. Another study published in Diabetes, people who slept in 66.2-degree rooms increased their levels of calorie-burning brown fat by 42 percent and had a 10 percent boost in metabolic rate.
But is cryotherapy enough for lasting weight loss? Those participants who experienced increased calorie-burning in the previous study did not have a change in their overall body-composition and their brown fat levels and metabolism returned to normal after being in warmer temperatures. This seems to suggest that Cryotherapy alone cannot contribute to lasting weight loss, but in combination with a proven weight loss plan, cryotherapy could prove as a beneficial boost on your weight loss journey.
Things to Keep in Mind
Whether you are considering cryotherapy for weight loss, inflammation or pain reduction, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- You will spend 2-3 minutes in an enclosed chamber, if you are claustrophobic this therapy may not be ideal for you.
- Your cryotherapy provider should provide you with gloves and slippers to protect your fingers and toes, which are more sensitive to cold temperatures.
- You should follow the recommended guidelines and spend only 2-3 minutes in the cryotherapy chamber. Longer times won’t lead to more benefits and could be dangerous.
If you have any of the following medical conditions, then cryotherapy may not be the right treatment for you.
- high blood pressure
- heart condition
- respiratory condition
- open wounds
So should you try whole body cryotherapy for weight loss?
If you are ready to “chill out” and give it a try then give us a call to be sure you qualify as a candidate. In combination with our proven Lifetime Wellness weight loss plan, cryotherapy could be the icy boost you need to jumpstart your weight loss journey.