The effect of three different (-135°C) whole body cryotherapy exposure durations on elite rugby league players

Selfe, James, Alexander, Jill, Costello, Joseph, May, Karen, Garratt, Nigel, Atkins, Stephen, Dillon, Stephanie, Hurst, Howard, Davison, Matthew, Przybyla, Daria, Coley, Andrew, Bitcon, Mark, Littler, Greg, & Richards, Jim (2014) The effect of three different (-135°C) whole body cryotherapy exposure durations on elite rugby league players. PLoS One, 9(1), e86420.

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Abstract

Background: Whole body cryotherapy (WBC) is the therapeutic application of extreme cold air for a short duration. Minimal evidence is available for determining optimal exposure time.

Purpose: To explore whether the length of WBC exposure induces differential changes in inflammatory markers, tissue oxygenation, skin and core temperature, thermal sensation and comfort.

Method: This study was a randomised cross over design with participants acting as their own control. Fourteen male professional first team super league rugby players were exposed to 1, 2, and 3 minutes of WBC at -135°C. Testing took place the day after a competitive league fixture, each exposure separated by seven days.

Results: No significant changes were found in the inflammatory cytokine interleukin six. Significant reductions (p<0.05) in deoxyhaemoglobin for gastrocnemius and vastus lateralis were found. In vastus lateralis significant reductions (p<0.05) in oxyhaemoglobin and tissue oxygenation index (p<0.05) were demonstrated. Significant reductions (p<0.05) in skin temperature were recorded. No significant changes were recorded in core temperature. Significant reductions (p<0.05) in thermal sensation and comfort were recorded.

Conclusion: Three brief exposures to WBC separated by 1 week are not sufficient to induce physiological changes in IL-6 or core temperature. There are however significant changes in tissue oxyhaemoglobin, deoxyhaemoglobin, tissue oxygenation index, skin temperature and thermal sensation. We conclude that a 2 minute WBC exposure was the optimum exposure length at temperatures of -135°C and could be applied as the basis for future studies.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 66822
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086420
ISSN: 1932-6203
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > HUMAN MOVEMENT AND SPORTS SCIENCE (110600) > Exercise Physiology (110602)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > HUMAN MOVEMENT AND SPORTS SCIENCE (110600) > Sports Medicine (110604)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Selfe et al.
Copyright Statement: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits
unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Deposited On: 02 Feb 2014 23:37
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2014 01:31

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