LEBMB – Research Topics: Whole-body cryotherapy


Director: Dr. Giovanni Lombardi

Research Topics

Whole-body cryotherapy

Whole-body cryotherapy (WBC) is a medical physical treatment based on the brief whole-body exposure to extremely cold air (-110°C to -140°C) in specific cryochambers. Although initially developed for the treatment of autoimmune/inflammatory diseases nowadays it is widely used in sports medicine. The most recent studies confirmed the anti-inflammatory, anti-analgesic, and anti-oxidant effects of this therapy by highlighting the underlying physiological responses. In addition to its therapeutic effects, whole-body cryotherapy has been demonstrated to be a preventive strategy against the deleterious effects of exercise-induced inflammation and soreness. Exposure to the cryotherapy somehow mimics exercise, since it affects myokines expression in an exercise-like fashion, thus opening another possible window on the therapeutic strategies for metabolic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. In collaboration with Prof. Ewa Ziemann of the Akademia Wychowania Fizycznego i Sportu of Gdańsk, Poland, we are studying the metabolic effects of WBC in terms of muscle-adipose tissue axis, metabolic profile modifications, and inflammation in both professional athletes and sedentary subjects. The objective is to understand if the metabolic activation induced by cold exposure could be beneficial in improving the overall energy metabolism and, hence, we hypothesize its use as an adjuvant in the treatment of metabolic diseases (obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes).