According to verywellIhealth, “inflammation is the immune system’s natural response to injury or illness. When you are injured or become sick, your white blood cells release inflammatory chemicals into the blood and affected tissues to protect the body from foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses. The chemical release increases blood flow to the affected areas, causing redness and warmth. Some chemicals may leak into tissue and cause swelling. This protective process may also stimulate nerve endings, causing pain.”

While the inflammatory process is generally normal and natural, some diseases—like rheumatoid arthritis, (when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissues causing pain, swelling, and stiffness in the body’s joints), lupus, chrohns, or even food allergies, can cause the immune system to trigger an inflammatory response when there are no foreign substances to fight off. The immune system, which normally should protect you, turns against itself and starts to damage its own healthy tissues. The immune system actually “thinks” the body’s healthy, normal tissues are infected or abnormal. 

There are two types of inflammation. Chronic and acute.

Acute Inflammation

Acute inflammation is the type that most people are familiar with. This type of inflammation can become severe quickly and is often easy to see or feel. A person may experience pain, immobility, or swelling. Some examples of acute inflammation are the common cold, the flu, bronchitis, headache, hives, or joint pain. 

Chronic inflammation 

According to an article in Advanced Health, “Chronic inflammation lasts for several months, to years, or for life. It occurs from chronic exposure to a low-intensity irritant or toxin, autoimmune response to an allergen, or an autoimmune disease. Basically, your body’s immune system is permanently turned on and fighting against the inflammation. However, if it doesn’t clear up, the chemicals that your body is sending to help repair the area of inflammation begin breaking down healthy cells and tissue.” Chronic inflammation may seem harmless on a day-to-day basis. In fact,  you may not even notice it unless you have what is known as a “flare up.” A flare up usually causes a rapid decline in quality of life and disrupts daily living. Some symptoms of chronic inflammation can include bloating, brain fog, achy joints, persistent fatigue, and pain. You can wait for the feeling to pass.

How Does Cryotherapy Help With Inflammation?

Battling chronic or acute inflammation? Enter whole body cryotherapy. While the use of cold therapy dates back to the Egyptians, in 1978 a doctor in Japan, Dr. Toshima Yamaguchi, whose patients suffered from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) invented and coined the term “whole body cryotherapy” and used it to treat their pain and inflammation. 

When you step into the cryosauna that is anywhere from -200 to -250 degrees fahrenheit, the sudden drop in temperature triggers your survival instincts. As your skin reacts to the cold, your blood vessels constrict which causes the blood in the extremities to be pushed to the internal organs. The internal organs enrich the blood with oxygen, enzymes and nutrients. The immune system also starts to produce more white blood cells which boosts your immune system and reduces inflammation. As you exit the sauna, your body begins to warm itself back up naturally. This results in a release of endorphins and your circulation improves as nutrient rich blood rushes from your internal organs to your extremities. This enriched blood prompts internal organ regeneration, expels toxins and starts other rejuvenation processes throughout your body. 

A research article published in the Annals of Rheumatic Disease Journal found that, “Local and whole-body cryotherapy significantly decreases pain VAS and DAS28 in RA patients. Further RCTs with adequate control groups and methodology are required to calculate effect size properly.”