Pulse January / February 2016 - Page 26

CONVERSATIONS WITH DR. LAUREN MUNSCH DAL FARRA DR. LAUREN MUNSCH DAL FARRA was first introduced to the cryochamber when she visited a spa in Southern France that focused on providing treatments to athletes. “I tried it for low back pain and noticed a positive effect after the first session,” says Dr. Munsch Dal Farra, who specializes in cardiology. At the spa, she met a woman with multiple sclerosis who was wheelchair-bound several years prior to starting a Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) treatment. “After six months, she was able to walk again. She attributed her improvement to the cryochamber since she used no other treatments during that time,” she says, adding that personally hearing the woman’s story has further piqued her interest in cryotherapy. Later, Dr. Munsch Dal Farra founded and now serves as co-CEO of PALM Health, LLC, a Missouribased integrative medicine and wellness center that offers facilities like hyperbaric chamber, salt room and a cryotherapy chamber. PULSE: What is a cryotherapy? Dr. Lauren Munsch Dal Farra: Historically, rolling in the snow, standing under ice cold waterfalls, swimming in a hole cut in the ice, and ice baths were used in many cultures for invigorating the mind and body, and for reducing inflammation, pain, muscle soreness or swelling. Cryotherapy has emerged as the modern technology today where a person is exposed to subzero temperatures (-150°F to -300°F), for a period of one to three minutes, in order to evoke physiological reactions to cold. Low temperatures are obtained by chilling the air with liquid nitrogen vapor and applying it either locally, on selected parts of the body, or generally, on the entire body as with the cryosauna or cryochamber. P: Who developed Whole Body Cryotherapy? MDF: Whole Body Cryotherapy was originally developed in 1978 by Dr. Toshiro Yamauchi who treated patients for pain and inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis in Japan using cold (cryo) procedures. His studies indicated he could significantly reduce the soreness and pain his patients felt during manipulation of their joints, because the rapid decrease of temperature of the outer layer of skin led to the immediate release of endorphins; therefore, less sensitivity to pain. Scientists in Germany and Poland further developed this method. The third 24 PULSE ■ January/February 2016 cryochamber in the world was developed in Poland in 1989, and further research promoted the commercialization of the cryochamber, which then gained popularity among professional athletes. The Olympic rehabilitation center in Spala, Poland, which serves athletes and sport teams around the world, opened in May 2000 and has since been offering cryotherapy during training and injury rehabilitation. Research in Europe on Whole Body Cryotherapy has been prominent over the last 30 years. P: How often can guests safely have cryotherapy? MDF: The treatment lasts one and a half to three minutes. Usually, two to three sessions per week is adequate to experience the benefits; however, many people report results after one to two sessions. For people undergoing intensive exercise training, physical rehabilitation or treatment for rheumatic arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, the best therapeutic effects are obtained by using cryotherapy twice a day, with at least a threehour interval between procedures over the course of at least two to three weeks. Sessions should not exceed three minutes. P: What are some of the potential benefits of this treatment? MDF: Whole Body Cryotherapy triggers the release of endorphins, which induces analgesia (immediate pain relief). The