What is biohacking?
The term ‘biohacking’ is one of the top health and wellness terms of 2020 and 2021, but what exactly is it and where does whole body cryotherapy fit in?
According to the website SuperHumantalks.com, biohacking is often referred to in several different ways:
- ‘It’s the symbiosis between your body and technology.’
- ‘Optimizing your body through the use of biology and technology.’
- ‘Creating an environment for optimal performance.’
- ‘Biohacking is messing around with your body.’
Biohacking is a very broad concept, it can be something as simple as focusing on your diet and how it interacts with your genes or it can mean the use of science and technology in helping to optimise your body’s overall performance.
In short, biohacking views the body as an interconnected system that has input (e.g. food, exercise, treatments) and output (energy and general health etc). The suggestion is that the body’s system can be tweaked to improve and optimise its efficiency, with the overall goal being for you to feel the best you can, to reach your peak fitness performance, or even, to extend lifespan.
So, how does whole body cryotherapy fit in?
Cryotherapy is a form of biohacking in that its use is intended to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of an individual using extremely cold temperatures down to as low as -160°C.
Exposing skin to these temperatures brings about a series of physiological reactions, that help the body to repair, recover and reinvigorate. Cryotherapy is a drug-free intervention that has huge beneficial offering, such as, enabling sufferers of particular ailments to receive relief, athletes to perform at their optimum levels, and even, offering wellbeing improvements through relaxation and stress relief.
Some examples include the following:
For Sports & Fitness
Biohacking for sports and fitness is performance-based, it is all about using cryotherapy to help individuals reach their physical peak.
Whole body cryotherapy relieves the effects of injury and overexertion of the muscles. The anti-inflammatory, restorative and rehabilitative effects of cryotherapy have been shown to have highly positive results as a recovery protocol and, consequently, have been widely adopted by sports medicine practitioners
Become More Efficient
The rush of oxygenated blood, nutrients, and enzyme that flood the body after having a cryotherapy session, offer an elixir to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the athlete’s body. At the same time, the bad biological products that result from intensive exercise, stress, and the overuse of muscles are removed, enabling the body to absorb the highly concentrated and purified effects of exposure to extreme cold within the cryotherapy treatment. So, not only will your muscle recover faster but the body becomes more efficient, with the result that the individual feels refreshed, suffers reduced muscle pain, recovers their range of motion, and is able to return to fitness quicker.
The body’s reaction to a course of Cryotherapy treatments will enable an increase in performance. The rejuvenating and restorative effects of the treatment enable the athlete to respond both physically and mentally to the stresses and strains of modern sports. The effects of the cryotherapy treatment enable the athlete to push beyond the norm and to pump the oxygenated and enzyme enriched blood around the body, repair itself and ultimately perform at a much higher level, helping the athlete to gain an edge on their competitors
For General Health and Wellbeing
Whole body cryotherapy is a versatile treatment that can assist the body in repairing itself, alleviating symptoms, and helping to promote physical wellbeing.
Some examples are below:
Cryotherapy can deliver pain relief to individuals by decreasing inflammation, improving antioxidants, and increasing beta-endorphins. The cold is a natural pain suppressant and many patients have taken part in published studies that high light the use of a series of cryotherapy treatments in a chamber has a positive and significant impact on the reduction of the sensation of pain with an additional benefit in increased function and range of movement in areas that had previously been painful.
Immune System Boosting
The ability to fight illness and disease can be seriously impaired with an immune system that is not fully functional. Studies have highlighted that cryotherapy has a positive impact on the immune system, increasing the white blood cell count, particularly notable is the protein Interleukin-6, which has both pro and anti-inflammatory effects.
Subjecting your body to such low temperatures triggers a fight or flight response from the body. The extreme cold temperature activates the body’s immune response and triggers the release of several hormones. One of those hormones is Endorphins. This hormone is usually produced after rigorous exercises and induces the feeling of general well-being and pain relief.
The power of a good night’s sleep cannot be underestimated. The increased dopamine levels resulting from a cryotherapy treatment have been shown to increase the depth, duration, and quality of sleep that many athletes experience, with many effects on the body’s recovery and the mental well-being of the athlete.