Depression, anxiety disorders, whole body cryotherapy - WBCT

Influence of whole body cryotherapy on depressive symptoms

Joanna Rymaszewska, Adam Tulczynski, Zdzislaw Zagrobelny, Andrzej Kiejna, Tomasz Hadrys
Article first published online: 30 MAY 2003
Acta Neuropsychiatrica Volume 15, Issue 3, pages 122–128, June 2003

Cryotherapy has a long tradition in somatic medicine. Yet we know very little about its impact on psyche and mood disturbances in particular. Therefore there is a real need for scientific investigations into this problem.
Objective: The study reported here was an initial approach to whole-body cryotherapy (WBCT) as a potential treatment modality for depression and was expected to provide rough data helping to design a future project with extended methodology, larger sample groups and longer follow-up.
Methods: Twenty-three patients aged 37–70 years gave informed consent to participate in the study. Ten WBC procedures (160 s, -150°C) were applied within 2 weeks. Participants were recruited from depressed day hospital patients. Antidepressive medi-cation was not ceased. Symptoms were rated at the beginning and end of this interven-tion using the 21-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS). Changes in scores were analyzed in the group of patients for every item separately as well as for the sum of all items for each patient.
Results: Almost for each individual HDRS item, the overall score for all patients together was significantly lower after WBCT. This means that all symptoms, except for day–night mood fluctuations, were presumably positively influenced by cryotherapy. The HDRS sum-score for each patient after WBCT was lower than that of the baseline and reached statistical significance in a paired samples t-test. Every patient was therefore considerably relieved after WBC.
Conclusions: It appears that WBCT helps in alleviating depression symptoms. Should this be confirmed in the extended study we are currently implementing, WBCT may become an auxiliary treatment in depression.

Whole-body cryotherapy as adjunct treatment of depressive and anxiety disorders.

2008 Jan-Feb;56(1):63-8. Epub 2008 Feb 5.
Rymaszewska J, Ramsey D, Chładzińska-Kiejna S.
Department of Psychiatry, Wrocław Medical University

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.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A control (n=34) and a study group (n=26), both consisting of outpatients 18-65 years old with depressive and anxiety disorders (ICD-10), received standard psychopharmacotherapy. The study group was additionally treated with a series of 15 daily visits to a cryogenic chamber (2-3 min, from -160 degrees C to -110 degrees C). The Hamilton's depression rating scale (HDRS) and Hamilton's anxiety rating scale (HARS) were used as the outcome measures.
RESULTS: After three weeks, a decrease of at least 50% from the baseline HDRS-17 scores in 34.6% of the study group and 2.9% of the control group and a decrease of at least 50% from the baseline HARS score in 46.2% of the study group and in none of the control group were noted.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings, despite such limitations as a small sample size, suggest a possible role for WBCT as a short-term adjuvant treatment for mood and anxiety disorders. Full text on:

Can short-term exposure to extremely low temperatures be used as an adjuvant therapy in the treatment of affective and anxiety disorders?

Psychiatr Pol. 2007 Sep-Oct;41(5):625-36.
Rymaszewska J, Ramsey D, Chładzińska-Kiejna S, Kiejna A.
Katedra i Klinika Psychiatrii AM we Wrocławiu. Abstract

The aim of the research was to assess the effect of whole-body cryotherapy (WBCT) on the symptoms observed in a group of patients suffering from affective and anxiety disorders and their own subjective assessment of life satisfaction.
METHOD: The study group was given short-term exposure (120-180 sec.) to temperatures between -110 degrees C and -160 degrees C on each working day for a period of 3 weeks (a total of 15 treatments). Both the study group (n=26) and control group (n=34) were observed at the beginning and the end of this 3 week interval. Standard psychopharmaco-logical treatment was carried out in both groups, independently of whether cryotherapy was used or not. Hamilton's scales of depression and anxiety were used, together with the life satisfaction scale.
RESULTS: A statistically significant larger improvement, together with a better mean state after 3 weeks, was observed with respect to 11 of the 14 components of the anxiety scale in the study group compared to the control group (except symptoms associated with the gastrointestinal and genitourinary symptoms and behaviour at interview). A larger improvement, together with a better mean state after 3 weeks, was observed with respect to 12 of the 16 components of the depression scale (except digestive, sexual life hypochondria, body weight and criticism) and 6 of the 11 components of the life satisfaction scale (physical well-being, physical condition, domestic activity, professional activity, personal interests and general satisfaction from life) in the study group.
CONCLUSIONS: Cyclic short-term whole-body exposition to extremely low temperatures significantly reduced the severity of depressive and anxiety symptoms and increased the life satisfaction.

Effects of whole-body cryotherapy on a total antioxidative status and activities of antioxidative enzymes in blood of depressive multiple sclerosis patients

April 2011, Vol. 12, No. 3 , Pages 223-227
Elżbieta Miller, Małgorzata Mrowicka, Katarzyna Malinowska, Jerzy Mrowicki, Joanna Saluk-Juszczak & Józef Kędziora
Neurorehabilitation Ward, III General Hospital Lodz,
Department of Chemistry and Clinical Biochemistry, Medical University of Lodz,
Department of General Biochemistry, University of Lodz
Department of Chemistry and Clinical Biochemistry, University of Bydgoszcz

Objectives. Oxidative stress (OS) plays an important role in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). In MS patients depression is often observed. Cryotherapy might have an effect on OS. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of whole body cryotherapy (WBCT) on changes in total antioxidative status (TAS) of plasma and activities of antioxidative enzymes in erythrocytes from depressive and non depressive MS patients.
Methods. Twenty-two MS patients with secondary progressive disease course (12 depressive and 10 non depressive) were treated with 10 exposures in a cryochamber. Before and after WBCT the plasma TAS and the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) in the erythrocytes were measured.
Results. The level of TAS in depressive MS group was significantly lower than in non depressive MS (P < 0.0003). WBCT increased the level of TAS in depressive (P < 0.002) more than in non depressive MS patients (P < 0.01). WBCT treatment of MS patients resulted in the significant increase of TAS level in plasma but had no effects on activities of SOD and CAT.
Conclusions. Our results indicate that WBCT suppresses OS in MS patients, especially in depressive patients.

Whole Body Cryotherapy, Cryotherapy WBCT WBC depression cryotherapy


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