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The Potential of Whole-Body Cryotherapy for Mental Health Support

Mental health expert Ruth Cooper-Dickson undertook her own study to explore the benefits of Cryotherapy on her health and wellbeing.

The results were significant. Post-cryotherapy, I consistently felt more grounded and calm. Even on days when my mind was particularly unsettled, a minute into the session, I noticed a substantial reduction in my anxiety

Ruth Cooper-Dickson is a corporate wellbeing consultant, award-winning qualified positive psychology practitioner, accredited trauma-informed well-being coach, certified breathwork leader and qualified fitness instructor.

In short, there isn’t much Ruth doesn’t know about wellbeing and the challenges around maintaining good mental health.

Ruth undertook an empirical study – measuring her own responses to Cryotherapy and its impact on her own mental health and wellbeing.

Ruth Cooper-Dickson

Ruth Cooper-Dickson – Cryotherapy to Support Mental Health Case Study

Emerging research, though still in its early stages, suggests that whole-body cryotherapy (WBC) can be a beneficial intervention for individuals facing mental health challenges. A notable study by Rymaszewska, Ramsey, and Chładzińska-Kiejna (2008) indicates positive outcomes for those utilising WBC to manage their mental health.

My Symptoms

As an individual diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder, I embarked on a personal exploration to assess the impact of cryotherapy on my mental health. Additionally, being neurodivergent, I often experience heightened anxiety due to my hyperactivity. This prompted me to investigate the effects of WBC on both my mental and physical well-being.

My Cryotherapy for Mental Health Routine

Throughout April 2024, I engaged in weekly cryotherapy sessions, each lasting five minutes with an average temperature of -80 degrees Celsius. The timing of the sessions varied. To monitor my anxiety levels, I utilised the Beck Anxiety Inventory immediately after each session. 

Results of Using Whole Body Cryotherapy for Anxiety and Panic Disorder

The results were significant. Post-cryotherapy, I consistently felt more grounded and calm. Even on days when my mind was particularly unsettled, a minute into the session, I noticed a substantial reduction in my anxiety, aided by simple breathwork techniques such as box breathing.

As a long-distance runner, I also observed enhanced recovery times pre- and post-race, particularly during a trail marathon I participated in during the same month.

Further supporting these observations, a systematic review and meta-analysis by Doets, Topper, and Nugter (2021) concluded that whole-body cryotherapy is an effective supplementary intervention for mental health issues, particularly depressive symptoms.

However, the review highlights the need for more extensive research with larger participant groups. Expanding this body of evidence could also provide valuable insights into the potential benefits of WBC for individuals with ADHD.

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