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Purpose: This study examined the acute effects of a single session of Whole-body Cryotherapy (WBC) following severe intermittent running exercise on biomarkers of inflammation, muscle damage and stress.

Methods: Endurance-trained males (n = 11) were tested twice using a within-participant, balanced cross-over design that consisted of 5 × 5 min of high-intensity running (HIR) followed by either 3 min of WBC at -110 °C or a passive control condition (CON). Before the HIR and after 60 min of recovery a ramp-test was completed. At seven time points up to 24 hrs post exercise venous blood samples were analyzed for serum levels of interleukin 6 (IL-6), interleukin 10 (IL-10), c-reactive protein (CRP), soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1), myoglobin, cortisol, and testosterone.

Results: HIR induced significant increases in all biomarkers except sICAM-1 in both recovery conditions, respectively. Compared to the CON condition WBC did not attenuate exercise- induced changes in IL-6, IL-10, sICAM-1, myoglobin, cortisol, testosterone or their ratio. Increased levels of cortisol following exercise were negatively correlated with subsequent running performance in both conditions (WBC: r = -0.61, p = 0.04; CON: r = -0.64, p = 0.04).

Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that the postulated physiological mechanisms by which WBC is proposed to improve recovery, i.e. reductions in inflammation and muscle damage, may not be accurate.

Krueger, M, Costello, JT, Achtzehn, ST, Dittmar, KH, Mester. J (2019).

Full Article : https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30031682/