Squarely in our middle-age, my husband, Tim, and I often joke about the attendant aches and pains that seem to accompany growing older. But when sciatica set in (for him) and a pulled muscle post-exercise had me favoring one leg over the other, it became decidedly less of a laughing matter.
A wrestler in high school and an outdoor enthusiast in adult life, my husband swears by the “RICE” method recommended by his coaches and physicians over the years. Short for “rest, ice, compression, elevation,” the steps have been stock-standard in our home for as long as I can remember. When I sprained my ankle, his advice? Stay off of my ankle, ice it 20 minutes on, 20 off, wrap it up, and prop it up on a few comfy pillows. In past years, however, American physicians have been tapping into a new “I” in that equation - or “C,” rather. Cryotherapy.
Submitting the body to cold temperatures, be it a polar plunge into an alpine lake, an ice bucket challenge, or just a sprained ankle in a Home Depot bucket on the sidelines, works to reboot the body’s sympathetic nervous system. Responsible for triggering the “fight or flight” response, our nerves can bring rest and relief or rage; stress or serotonin. As the first Orange County-based whole body cryotherapy center (and one of the first in nation), Cold Rush Wellness Cryotherapy in Laguna Niguel is a full service, physician-run cryostimulation clinic dedicated to whole body health, starting deep in the core of its clients.
A Historical Perspective
Developed in its current form by Dr. Toshima Yamaguchi in 1978 to treat rheumatoid arthritis, Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) quickly gained recognition in the Japanese - and subsequently European - medical communities for its benefits beyond treating arthritis. Physicians began using WBC to treat a broader range of ailments including chronic inflammation, fibromyalgia, psoriasis and to revitalize skin. In Germany, for example, cyrosaunas are available in 60 hospitals for the treatment of autoimmune disease and post-surgical recovery.
Unlike traditional ice baths, WBC is a dry process - because dry cold doesn’t penetrate the body like cold water or cold air with moisture, WBC temperatures are able to be much colder than what the human body could normally tolerate without extreme discomfort. Patients step into a cryotherapy sauna to expose their body to hyper-cooled air -200 degrees to -240 degrees Farenheit, triggering the body’s natural healing mechanisms as though it were freezing. Blood accumulates in the body’s core in order to warm itself and capillaries expand to nearly four times their normal diameter. This allows white blood cells to flow through the body faster, accelerating the healing process. During the two to three minutes your body is exposed to these extreme temperatures, the brain triggers the release of endorphins, adrenaline and other hormones for an increase in energy, a boost to the immune system and promote overall healing.
“Cryotherapy centers in Europe are all physician-run and deemed safe by the medical community,” says Owner Scott Young, D.C. who relocated his chiropractic and rehabilitative practice to Orange County over four years ago after 20 years in The Netherlands. “Benefits include decreased inflammation, improved athletic performance and rapid recovery from workouts, improved post-surgical healing and pain relief, faster healing of strains and sprains, improved metabolism, increased energy and is particularly helpful in relieving the symptoms of chronic skin conditions such as shingles, psoriasis, eczema, rosacea and dermatitis. At Cold Rush Wellness, we adhere to the European model and take all precautions to keep it a safe and effective treatment.”
Dr. Young, who operates his holistic health practice by “finding the problem, fixing it and leaving it alone,” discovered the benefits of whole body cryotherapy for himself while living in Amsterdam. He found the health benefits rejuvenating and importantly, backed by sound science.
With years of experience treating such varied conditions as rheumatoid arthritis, insomnia, post-surgical rehabilitation, strains, sprains, eczema, shingles, and dermatitis, it is no wonder that Cold Rush Wellness has been embraced by a growing number of patients.
One of the benefits of publishing South County Magazine is that it affords me an opportunity to share my own experiences at local businesses or in meeting business owners and entrepreneurs in the area. In this case, my husband and I both decided to give WBC a try. Over the course of 30 days (with treatments three times per week), I can personally attest to increased energy levels and surprisingly better sleep. For his part, my husband has long suffered from low back pain resulting in significantly decreased range of motion. A month into treatment, he can bend and stretch further than he has been able to in years without pain and feels “much less stiff.”
Athletes swear by it for a boost in metabolism and rapid recovery from strenuous workouts. Given the results Tim and I have experienced, I’m anxious to see how we feel in another 30 days. I’ll tell you one thing though … so far, WBC has proven to be quite the upgrade from a bag of frozen peas on my ankle.
Scott Young, D.C. can be reached by calling (949) 281-6853. Cold Rush Wellness is located at 30251 Golden Lantern in Laguna Niguel.
For more information, visit www.coldrushwellness.com