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15. february 2023

How can Whole Body Cryotherapy impact Metabolism and Weight loss?

In our experience, sustainable weight loss comes from an overall healthy lifestyle and is affected by a number of different factors. Besides the obvious calculation of calories (in/out), factors like sleep, stress, toxin levels in your body etc. all affect our body’s ability to lose weight. And there is usually no quick fix. It takes time and effort.

how can whole body cryotherapy support a healthy weight loss?

Cryotherapy is no miracle pill, and there has perhaps been a general misconception as to its effects on calorie burn and weight loss as a stand alone treatment in general. That being said, research suggests that it might have a positive impact as a supplement to a healthy lifestyle – like eating healthy and exercising enough. Especially if done consistently over a longer period of time.

Cryotherapy is a procedure that involves cooling the entire body to around 10-15 degrees celsius. This causes a loss of energy, as the body and skin must reheat itself, which is where the calorie burn comes in. No studies (that we know of) document exactly how many calories are burned, but we know that in the short-term, cold exposure increases metabolism, as the body has to burn calories to increase core body temperature.

What is more interesting, however, is the conversion of white fat (energy storage) to beige or brown fat (which are highly metabolically active), which can be beneficial for triggering further and more sustained increases in a person’s metabolism.

thermogenesis and calorie burning

Though research on cryotherapy has been conducted since at least the early 1980s (initially most of it focused on cryotherapy’s capacity as an arthritic painkiller), many of its suggested benefits have only been lightly researched. The burning of calories is unfortunately one of these lightly researched benefits. But the little research that has been undertaken is on the whole quite positive.

A 2018 study in the Journal of Obesity showed that, in an attempt to warm itself after exposure to the intense cold, the body burns up fat and calories in the hours post cryotherapy session through the natural process of thermogenesis. The French study noted that single cryotherapy sessions lead to significant decline in a type of fat known as brown adipose tissue––that is, brown fat. This led the researchers to conclude that cryotherapy “may be a viable option for combating obesity.”

Additionally, a Dutch study found that the type of thermogenesis produced by cryotherapy does indeed turn our typically white fat into brown fat. Trial-goers underwent a 10-day cold acclimation regiment, which resulted in a marked increase in non-shivering thermogenesis. The researchers concluded that cryotherapy “might be an acceptable and economic manner to increase energy expenditure and may contribute to counteracting the current obesity epidemic.” However, the study did only feature a small sample size of only 17 trial-goers, and so more research is very much needed.

A scoping review from 2021 found that based on the results gathered, WBC emerges as a promising adjuvant therapy to reduce systemic inflammation, oxidative stress, abdominal obesity, and body mass. The research group searched the literature until the end of August 2021, retrieving 8 eligible studies out of 856, all evaluated for their methodological quality using the Downs and Black checklist. Their conclusion was that overall, the limited data presented, seem to support the efficacy of WBC as an adjuvant treatment in obesity.
Scoping review from 2021

Although not all research results are consistent, it has been demonstrated that WBC may have a beneficial effect on hormonal and metabolic changes, and is also anti-inflammatory. A study on menopausal women showed significant changes as an effect of 20 WBC procedures, indicating the clinically beneficial influence of these treatments on body composition (reduction of abdominal obesity) in menopausal women. However, it seems that increasing the number of treatments would increase the clinical effects.
A menopausal study

At One Thirty Labs we work from a holistic approach and we believe in creating long term sustainable weight loss rather than extreme diets, medicine or quick fixes. Our weight loss programs include diet, movement, mindfulness and treatments combined, but we also test to understand any hormonal imbalances, inflammation, toxins or other stress factors that can block your body from responding normally.

Book a free consultation to find out how we can help you towards your body goals.