Winter is Coming: Cold Therapy

What can cold do for you?

Winter is Coming: Cold Therapy

Several people have requested this topic and I glossed over it a bit in a recent newsletter, but also wanted to share the resources I gathered.  Admittedly, I haven't had time to dig into all of these articles, but I've shared my thoughts in bits and pieces other places – including on tech toys (which I admittedly love) and naturally incurred environmental / seasonal exposure.

So, this is mostly a catalog of "quick" resources I pooled rather than my usual dialogue and diving into each study.  Hopeful you can find a category to suit your interests; or you know, start doing some digging on your own ;)

Ice Bath / Recovery:

Research pours cold water on ice bath recovery theory
If the thought of a post workout ice bath is enough to make you shiver, new research will warm your heart. The comprehensive study found cold water immersion after strength training hindered muscle adaptation -- pouring cold water on the long-held theory that an ice bath helps speed up recovery.
Is the ice bath finally melting? Cold water immersion is no greater than active recovery upon local and systemic inflammatory cellular stress in humans
Post exercise ice water immersion: Is it a form of active recovery?
Ice water immersion and contrast temperature water immersion therapy post exercise is fast becoming a common practice among athletes involved in a variety of sports. Several mechanisms have been put forth to explain the rationale for its use. However, ...
The positive effects of ice baths for athletes - Science for Sport
Your weekly research review
Effects of Cold Water Immersion on Muscle Oxygenation During Repeated Bouts of Fatiguing Exercise: A Randomized Controlled Study
Postexercise cold water immersion has been advocated to athletes as a means of accelerating recovery and improving performance. Given the effects of cold water immersion on blood flow, evaluating in vivo changes in tissue oxygenation during cold water ...


Seasonal variations of human sperm cells among 6455 semen samples: a plausible explanation of a seasonal birth pattern
To compare the different sperm parameters according to season of the year on spermproduction day and the season 70 days prior (during spermatogenesis).
Possible stimulation of anti-tumor immunity using repeated cold stress: a hypothesis - Infectious Agents and Cancer
Background The phenomenon of hormesis, whereby small amounts of seemingly harmful or stressful agents can be beneficial for the health and lifespan of laboratory animals has been reported in literature. In particular, there is accumulating evidence that daily brief cold stress can increase both numb…
Effects of physical exercise and cold stimulation on serum testosterone level in men - PubMed
The concentrations of testosterone (TS) and other related hormones in serum were examined before and after physical exercise with a bicycle ergometer (90 Watts, 20 min.) and a cold water stimulation in 32 19-year-old males. While exercising, the serum TS level significantly increased by 20.8% (p les…

Immune System:

Voluntary activation of the sympathetic nervous system and attenuation of the innate immune response in humans
Hitherto, both the autonomic nervous system and innate immune system were regarded as systems that cannot be voluntarily influenced. The present study demonstrates that, through practicing techniques learned in a short-term training program, the sympathetic nervous system and immune system can indee…
The Effect of Cold Showering on Health and Work: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Purpose The aim of this study was to determine the cumulative effect of a routine (hot-to-) cold shower on sickness, quality of life and work productivity. Methods Between January and March 2015, 3018 participants between 18 and 65 years without severe comorbidity and no routine experience of cold…

Adipose (fat) Tissue:

Cold and Exercise: Therapeutic Tools to Activate Brown Adipose Tissue and Combat Obesity
The rise in obesity over the last several decades has reached pandemic proportions. Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a thermogenic organ that is involved in energy expenditure and represents an attractive target to combat both obesity and type 2 diabetes. ...
Unexpected evidence for active brown adipose tissue in adult humans | American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism
The contention that brown adipose tissue is absent in adult man has meant that processes attributed to active brown adipose tissue in experimental animals (mainly rodents), i.e., classical nonshivering thermogenesis, adaptive adrenergic thermogenesis, diet-induced thermogenesis, and antiobesity, sho…
Identification and Importance of Brown Adipose Tissue in Adult Humans | NEJM
Original Article from The New England Journal of Medicine — Identification and Importance of Brown Adipose Tissue in Adult Humans

Mitochondria (your cells' power houses):

Cold exposure differently influences mitochondrial energy efficiency in rat liver and skeletal muscle
This study deals with mitochondrial energy efficiency in liver and skeletal muscle mitochondria in 15 days cold exposed rats. Cold exposure strongly i…
The effects of exercise and cold exposure on mitochondrial biogenesis in skeletal muscle and white adipose tissue
The purpose of this study was to determine whether exercise or/and cold exposure regulate mitochondria biogenesis-related gene expression in soleus and inguinal adipose tissue of mice. Forty ICR 5-week old male mice were divided into four groups: thermoneutrality-untrained ...
The effects of fasting and cold exposure on metabolic rate and mitochondrial proton leak in liver and skeletal muscle of an amphibian, the cane toad Bufo marinus | Journal of Experimental Biology | The Company of Biologists
Mitochondria Health: An Exploration of Temperature and Light Therapy
Any way we can boost mitochondria helps us to increase the longevity of our cells and support energy production. Here we explore temperature and light therapy to improve mitochondrial health and support healthy aging.

Cold Showers:

Adapted cold shower as a potential treatment for depression - PubMed
Depression is a debilitating mood disorder that is among the top causes of disability worldwide. It can be characterized by a set of somatic, emotional, and behavioral symptoms, one of which is a high risk of suicide. This work presents a hypothesis that depression may be caused by the convergence o…
Voluntary activation of the sympathetic nervous system and attenuation of the innate immune response in humans
Hitherto, both the autonomic nervous system and innate immune system were regarded as systems that cannot be voluntarily influenced. The present study demonstrates that, through practicing techniques learned in a short-term training program, the sympathetic ...
Scientific Evidence-Based Effects of Hydrotherapy on Various Systems of the Body
The use of water for various treatments (hydrotherapy) is probably as old as mankind. Hydrotherapy is one of the basic methods of treatment widely used in the system of natural medicine, which is also called as water therapy, aquatic therapy, pool therapy, ...
The effect of post-exercise hydrotherapy on subsequent exercise performance and heart rate variability - PubMed
We investigated the effect of hydrotherapy on time-trial performance and cardiac parasympathetic reactivation during recovery from intense training. On three occasions, 18 well-trained cyclists completed 60 min high-intensity cycling, followed 20 min later by one of three 10-min recovery interventio…


Randomized Controlled Trial: Targeted Neck Cooling in the Treatment of the Migraine Patient
Cold therapy has long been the number one self-care treatment employed for migraine without aura and the second most common for migraine with aura, yet its mechanism remains elusive. In this study, a mechanism by which this time-tested therapy works is ...
Whole-body cryotherapy as adjunct treatment of depressive and anxiety disorders
Rheumatism has been treated using whole-body cryotherapy (WBCT) since the 1970s. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of WBCT as an experimental, adjunctive method of treating depressive and anxiety disorders.A control (n=34) and a study group ...
[Whole-body cryotherapy in rehabilitation of patients with rheumatoid diseases--pilot study] - PubMed
The pain level after application of the cold therapy decreases significantly. The pain reduction lasts about 90 minutes. The initial pain level decreases during the whole time of treatment, no significant improvement, though, can be shown from the middle to the end of the four-weeks treatment. Accor…
Translating whole-body cryotherapy into geriatric psychiatry--a proposed strategy for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease - PubMed
Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which is the most common form of dementia, constitutes one of the leading causes of disability and mortality in aging societies. Currently recommended medications used in treating AD include cholinesterase inhibitors and the NMDA antagonist--memantine, but poorly counteract…
Whole-Body Cryotherapy in Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory skin disease with dry and itchy skin causing remarkable adverse impact on quality of life. Some patients do not tolerate treatments, or in some cases the treatments are ineffective. Effective combination therapies for moderate or severe AD are lacking…
Cryotherapy: Safety, what to expect, and benefits
We look at the benefits of cryotherapy including weight loss, inflammation reduction, and the possibility of it preventing dementia. Learn more here.

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