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Cryotherapy for Fibromyalgia | Case Study

Cryotherapy and Fibromyalgia

This case study highlights how Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) can help fibromyalgia sufferers to ease their symptoms without the need for medication.

It will cover:

  • What is Fibromyalgia (FMS)
  • Standard Fibromyalgia Treatments
  • How Cryotherapy can Help Fibromyalgia with studies showing how rapid the impact on symptoms are, without the need for medication
  • How our client Liz has benefited from WBC sessions at The Cryo Hub

“The day of my first session was wonderful, I felt the warmth flowing through my body and walked out floating on air. It was like having a pain free massage (which normally hurts me!) it was mind blowing how ‘normal’ I felt

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia, also called fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms include:

  • Widespread pain
  • increased sensitivity to pain
  • muscle stiffness
  • fatigue
  • problems with mental processes (known as “fibro-fog”)
  • Headaches
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Standard Fibromyalgia Treatments

Currently there is no known cure for fibromyalgia, so standard treatments seek to minimise the symptoms and make them more bearable.

Treatment is often a combination of:

The notion of taking medication such as antidepressants with their potential side effects is a key reason why fibromyalgia sufferers have explored alternatives to help with their symptoms.

How Does Cryotherapy Help Fibromyalgia?

Whole Body Cryotherapy works in a few ways to stimulate the body.  The most obvious being the impact on the circulatory system as vasoconstriction exercises the muscles around the thousands of miles of capillaries in the body to ‘squeeze’ blood towards the body’s core – and then the vasodilation as you warm up and blood returns to those same capillaries.  

The second effect is thermal shock. By safely, but rapidly, dropping the body’s skin temperature during a WBC session, the brain reacts as if it has been exposed to a far more uncomfortable shock such as that of an ice bath or frozen lake – releasing beneficial neurotransmitters, hormones and anti-inflammatory proteins in response.

This reaction can be felt shortly after a WBC session with the energy boost felt as adrenaline is released, as well as the Cryo ‘feel good’ effect as neurotransmitter levels naturally rise.

When it comes to cryotherapy’s impact on fibromyalgia, studies have indicated that regular whole body cryotherapy sessions induce a change in ‘cytokine profiles’ which in turn alleviate the symptoms.  

Cytokines are proteins secreted by various cells in the body to communicate with one other.  Whole Body Cryotherapy stimulates the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines called interleukins – and it is their effect on the body that is thought to cause the relief in symptoms for fibromyalgia sufferers.

A study published in the journal Advances in Rheumatology found that Serial WBC is a fast acting and effective treatment for FM. Proven effects of WBC may be explained by changes in cytokines.

“Patients with fibromyalgia were improved for pain and functional mobility after 10 whole-body cryostimulation (WBC) sessions compared to the outcomes in the control group”

Whole body cryotherapy in fibromyalgia patients: Effects on pain and functional mobility
– Science Direct | Elsevier

Cryotherapy for Fibromyalgia Case Study – Liz

I have found that life is more ‘cope-able’! The change my mind and body feel is immeasurable

Hearing about the impact of WBC to alleviate fibromyalgia via scientific studies is one thing.  But it’s perhaps more enlightening to read about the journey of someone who has suffered from fibromyalgia and found cryotherapy to be of help.

Liz was one of the very first early adopters of our electric WBC chamber – and very kindly gave us a run down of her experience so far.

Can you please describe the symptoms you were feeling that led you to try Whole Body Cryotherapy? How were they impacting you?

I have Fibromyalgia. It’s a debilitating condition that gets very little help apart from pain killers. Fibromyalgia has symptoms as long as a piece of string. It is not an inflammation condition although that’s what it feels like. I have had many blood tests for inflammation only to be told I have none but I still feel pain all the time.

The brain is telling the body that it is in pain and the body listens! Some experts advised me to partake in yoga – yes, a great idea, but in my case I am in more pain after exercise for at least three days! 

My particular pain areas are my sternum (where the ribs attach), across my shoulders/neck and I have pain in my forearms. I have bursitis in my left hip and a tear in my left shoulder ligament. Lifting anything used to be a breeze, walking a long distance was a pleasure……not anymore!

I believe that I have had fibromyalgia most of my life. I went to a dance/drama school as a boarder. I presumed the pains that I felt were the same as everyone else who were doing dance classes back to back every morning for 3 hours.

Why did you think Cryotherapy could help?

I’m not really an advocate of pill popping, I personally believe that the body, to a certain extent, has the ability to cure itself. When I heard about Cryotherapy I was interested, curious and thrilled that I had found something that could help me. After learning from Steve, Emma and Rachel all the benefits, what was there to lose? 

I have a past life in Beauty Therapy, so am quite knowledgeable about the body, so I understand how it works and am very comfortable with what Cryotherapy does for you.

How did you find the initial experience? Were there any changes to your symptoms?

The first experience of Cryotherapy was interesting! I discovered that my skin was hypersensitive to cold (another of the Fibromyalgia symptoms!) It was very cold! Quite a shock to the system! I managed 3 minutes, but perhaps I made my experience worse for myself as I stood still. Moving around makes the time go quickly and takes your mind off quite how cold it is!

The day of my first session was wonderful, I felt the warmth flowing through my body and walked out floating on air. It was like having a pain free massage (which normally hurts me!) it was mind blowing how ‘normal’ I felt. 

The following day however I was in terrible pain. I was determined to feel that elation again so agreed to try again. I returned the following week. It was still cold, I still only did 3 minutes, and that elation returned. I slept well for the first time in however long and my pain levels dropped considerably.

Have you developed a routine which works for you?

I return each week, sometimes if I’ve had a busy week and my pain is getting worse, I might do 2 sessions. Once a week is usually enough for me. I know when I’m ready to go back as my pain levels rise again. 

I am now up to 4.15 minutes. That’s my limit as my body temperature gets too low if I’m in for longer. Listening to a bit of Donna Summer always helps while I’m in the chamber!!

What are the outcomes you’ve seen as part of your routine? Not just for your initial goals but any other effects?

I have found that life is more ‘cope able’! The change my mind and body feel is immeasurable. I only occasionally take a painkiller if my Sternum/ribs are in pain. An exercise class is still out of the question, I guess I don’t want to cause anymore pain. 

Do I look forward to going in the machine…….no! It’s cold, no doubting that! But I go in for the most amazing feeling I get when I come out. I feel regenerated, normal and ready to take on the week ahead! It’s my 4.15 minutes of reboot!

If I Suffer from Fibromyalgia and Want to Try Cryotherapy, What Should I Do?

The Cryo Hub offers a first session free to anyone who wants to try out genuine WBC. We know the. notion of going into a cold chamber can be daunting – so this is the easiest way to find out if the power of the cold can have a positive impact. Simply head to our booking page, book your first session and at the end of the check out, use the code ‘FIRST-FREE’

Alternately please feel free to contact the team: [email protected]

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