Treating Arthritis with Whole Body Cryotherapy

swollen joints chart

Arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other rheumatic conditions (AORC), are the leading cause of disability in the United States. Over 50 million Americans have arthritis, 1 in every 5 adults, 300,000 children and countless families. The first steps in conquering arthritis are learning the facts, understanding your condition and knowing that help is by your side.

Arthritis is very common but is not well understood. Actually, “arthritis” is not a single disease; it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. People of all ages, sexes and races can and do have arthritis.

Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Symptoms may come and go. They can be mild, moderate or severe. They may stay about the same for years, but may progress or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs. Arthritis can cause permanent joint changes. These changes may be visible, such as knobby finger joints, but often the damage can only be seen on X-ray. Some types of arthritis also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin as well as the joints.Reducing these symptoms, thereby enabling patients to engage in necessary weight-bearing exercise, protects patients from further degeneration.

A study conducted at the Institute of Rheumatology in Warsaw compared the outcomes of 40 patients with rheumatoid arthritis divided to receive Whole Body Cryotherapy or Physical Therapy daily for 4 weeks. The outcomes that were tracked were blood markers of inflammation, and patient reported pain scores.

Histamine levels were considerably lower in the blood of patients with RA following Whole Body Cryotherapy and remained lower over a period of at least three months after treatments were discontinued.

Those receiving Whole Body Cryotherapy were also shown to have a therapeutic down-regulation of polymorphonuclear cells and coupled with an up-regulation of calprotectin levels and sodium potassium ATPase activity. No significant changes in histamine levels or the other biochemical parameters were measured in groups of patients treated only with Physical Therapy.

Most importantly, pain scores were significantly diminished and reduced more than they did in those receiving Physical Therapy only. Therefore, Whole Body Cryotherapy can play an integral role in diminishing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

pain chart

swollen joints chart


D. Kargus, K. Blum, T. Tauber, J. Teuber, Bayreuth (2000). Whole-Body Cryotherapy in Inflammatory and Non-Inflammatory Rheumatic Deseases.