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Whole body cryotherapy in cryo-chamber for treating bronchial asthma

Asthmatics often describe their stay in the cold chamber as highly recuperating. They are sometimes even inclined to take whole body cryotherapy as a genuine substitute for their previous asthma therapy. This, however, should be warned against. As was already stressed for whole body cryotherapy with other diseases, the following also applies very much to bronchial asthma. It is not a substitute, but an additive therapy, that under especially favorable conditions may allow a reduction in medication intake. However, at least two conditions must be fulfilled for this purpose:

1.   The previous therapy must have led to a stable state.

2.   The patient is capable of bearing both physical and psychological burdens.

Both these conditions should be judged professionally by a doctor.

Cold therapy should be phased in, with the duration of the stay in the cold chamber being increased from one to three minutes only after two to three days. During the first application the doctor should always be present because different individuals can show very different types of cold reaction.

The positive effect of whole body cryotherapy on bronchial asthma (improvement in well being, increase in performance) is obviously rooted in its broad spectrum of effects. It generally exerts a respiration stimulating effect. In a forced expiration volume test an increase in FEV is found immediately after the cold action. A short-term dilation of the bronchial tubes occurs. The respiratory musculature relaxes and the general physical capacity is improved. In addition one can assume an inhibitory effect on chronic-inflammatory processes in the bronchial mucosa.

Here something needs to be said about so-called cold asthma, a form of bronchial asthma where cold can cause a spasm of the bronchial tubes.

Prof. Dr. W. Menger performed an interesting experiment on the effect of a cold stimulus in the presence of a disposition towards cold-asthma and his result was published in his book “climate therapy at the North and Baltic seas”. He wrote: “Our own investigations revealed a remarkable reaction: after a short winter walk (in weather-appropriate protective clothing) half of the youths afflicted with asthma experienced a bronchospasm induced by the cold. However, this effect was reversed through the action of large area cold on the skin (dressing in a swimsuit or bikini). Cold acts on the naked skin and the vegetative nervous system like a cramp-inducing inhalant or spray.”

And now to the study data: of the 28 asthmatics a bronchoconstriction occurred in the airways of 12 individuals after the winter walk. After the action of whole body cold, however, the findings in 9 of them improved to starting levels.

Ultimately the mechanism of action underlying this finding is unclear. It can be assumed that the above described cold effects in bronchial asthma just as with this special form are induced via neuroreflexive pathways. Cold-asthma should not therefore be considered as a contraindication for whole body cryotherapy. Indeed it much rather seems that reactions are induced via the skin that can lead to an improved cold tolerance of the bronchial system.

For further useful information about whole-body cryotherapy at -110 ° C, and the mechanisms of action, we recommend the book "The Power of the Cold" by Prof. Dr. sc med Winfried Papenfuss, published by Edition K Wolfsegg. Large parts of the content of this website were taken from this book. 

The catchy standard work is suitable for both professionals and interested readers. With pleasure we forward your order of "The Power of the Cold" directly to the publisher.