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Whole body cryostimulation may help treat obesity: Study

Whole-body cryotherapy is a kind of therapy where we expose ourselves to very cold temperatures for a small duration.

Whole body cryostimulation is a useful “add-on” treatment for obesity, research being presented at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Dublin, Ireland (17-20 May) suggests.

Levels of cholesterol and other blood fats improved twice as much in individuals living with obesity who were exposed to extreme cold for a short period of time, compared with individuals given a sham treatment.

Those who had whole body cryostimulation (WBC) also experienced a greater reduction in waist circumference and in blood sugar levels.

Dr Jacopo Fontana, of the Istituto Auxologico Piancavallo IRCCS, Italy, said: “We know from previous research that WBC can have powerful effects on the human body.

“It can increase the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, as well as act as a novel anti-inflammatory and antioxidant treatment, which together can have beneficial effects on body composition including the proportion of adipose tissue.

“A growing body of work suggests that WBC is useful adjuvant, or add-on, therapy for a range of conditions, namely rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory musculoskeletal conditions and long COVID.

“We wanted to investigate its potential adjuvant role in the treatment of obesity.”

Dr Fontana and colleagues studied the effect of WBC on body composition, blood pressure, heart rate variability, lipid and haematological profiles and physical performance in individuals living with obesity.

29 participants (12 men and 17 women, BMI >30 kg/m2) were hospitalised for a multidisciplinary rehabilitation programme (which included a personalised diet plan, psychological support and supervised physical activity) and non-randomly allocated either to a group receiving 10 2-min WBC sessions at minus 110°C in a cryochamber over two weeks (WBC) or a control group receiving the same intervention at non-cryostimulating temperatures of minus

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