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Living with Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)

Ongoing Cryotherapy Update

Hey everyone,

It’s been about a year and a half since I last gave an update. I regularly read your posts, and am often touched by the kind words and camaraderie.

I was a bit reluctant to add this update because the last ting I would ever want to do would be that it would make people feel bad. Which is why it’s taken me so long. Although maybe that is only my own guilt complex.

As I said in my earlier posts I’ve had PSA since I was in my mid 20’s. Life was really limited and I don’t need to explain the pain to you guys. But since I started with my Cryotherapy almost 2 years ago I’d say I’m about 90% symptom free. It has completely turned my life around.

Last May I actually walked the Camino! Still can’t believe it. I plan/ hope I can do it every year. I’ve also started out studying for a new career. Maybe life begins at 40.

I still sometimes have some relatively mild pains. I take diclo or ibu, but it’s not debilitating like before.

The Cryotherapy isn’t pleasant and I always get nervous before I do it. But it’s only once or twice a year- once I start feeling the pain returning.

My health insurance won’t pay for it anymore which sucks. But I save the money to pay for it. It’s stupid really cos the medication is so much more expensive, and with Cryo, I don’t want/need it anymore. I also personally found the side effects of the medication hard.

I know Cryo isn’t something that a lot of people will have access to. Or even with access it doesn’t work for everyone. I guess its the nature of this disease that it’s so hit and miss with what actually helps. And I really didn’t want to make anyone feel bad in case they don’t have access to this, it it doesn’t work for them (there goes my guilt complex again). I hope it doesn’t come across like I’m showing off or preaching. I definitely don’t know better than you guys. I’ve just been lucky to find the right treatment I guess.

But if anyone has any questions about my experience with Cryotherapy I’d be happy to answer.

I suppose it’s only been two years, and who knows longer term. I don’t think 100% loss of my symptoms is realistic. But I’m so so grateful for 90%. And I’ll take that for as long as I can get it.

All the best,

Cal xo

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Well glad it is helping. I don’t think you have to feel at all guilty about it, I am sure everyone is happy you have the opportunity to try something that looks like maybe helping!
I have thought about trying it, but with my Raynaud’s and small fiber neuropathy, probably not be a good idea. Everyone is different, so what might be great for one person would be devastating to someone else.

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Cal, thanks so much for sharing that with us! No apologies, please: good news, honestly shared isn’t received as gloating or boasting. We need good news to keep our hopes and spirits up.

I just looked at your profile, and it says “Berlin”. Is that Germany?

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Hey Seenie,

Thanks for your lovely response. Yeah, Berlin Germany. I moved here a few years ago.

So greets from Berlin xo

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Hey Jon, thanks for your response. Yeah I know it’s really not for everyone. I do so hope that you find the best treatment available for you though, if you haven’t already.

Cal xo

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Great news! I have access to cryotherapy and have been pondering trying it. My body generally prefers heat over ice, so the freezing temperature is what is keeping me away. Here they do it in a booth where you stand with goggles. I hear it’s uncomfortable. But is it? How long did it take after your first treatment to notice results? Thanks @Cal!

Can you describe what cryotherapy is and how it works in detail? Is it just something like an ice bath or is there a service provider? I’m interested in trying it.

Hi Sha,

I’ve never done the single ‘pod’ standing up. I imagine it’s probably quite different to ‘full immersion’. The chamber I go into goes down to -110c. It is uncomfortable for me, maybe not for everyone. The benefits are immediately noticeable. I think someone else has asked for a description of it. So I’ll give a more full account below.

Hey dazqz,

I will try my best. First off, so you can visualise it the Cryo I use looks like this:

No water or ice baths involved. There are two types available.
The first like mine in the picture above. where there is a small group (In our case 3) prepare before going into the small anti chamber you see on the left. Sturdy shoes and socks. Swimming trunks two special sets of gloves, and a mask to cover the mouth nose and ears.

The operator will check your ready and then you enter the anti chamber on the left. This is cold (maybe -40) but nothing like the cryo chamber. The purpose is twofold. To acclimatise a bit, and also that no warm air from outside can make its way into the Cryo - it’s meant to be kept at a constant of -110c.

After 30 seconds the Operator will let us know the a mic that we can go into the Cryo. The first time you do get quite a shock, it’s obviously not natural to willingly walk into that environment. But the adrenaline kicks in and you march around in little circles with your new buds. Mostly they also play music which is a nice distraction. You know it’s only three minutes, but for me at least it is always a Bit of a challenge. 3 minutes can feel quite long.

3 minutes is the maximum time you can be in there for, otherwise there’s too much of a risk.

The treatment plan is 7-10 sessions which must be on consecutive days for max 3 mins per session. Day one of my first ever session I think I only managed 40 seconds, I still felt a benefit though, so decided to try more, and eventually got it up to 3 minutes per session.

With each session I would notice a difference, but by the end of the whole treatment plan I always feels like a new person.

Having never tried the single pod Cryo I can’t really comment. I assume they expect the same results from it. And obviously your head would be outside, and you can’t walk around.

The pros: for me all the health benefits are it.
Plus generally invigorating
Seems to boost my energy
And improve my skin
You can leave any time
Should always be a professional present.
It’s only 3 minutes
Natural- no side effects
Beneficial effects last around 9-10 months.

The cons: it is not pleasant. It’s a essentially a hostile dangerous environment. Initially I was also claustrophobic. It takes a bit of mind exercise to work through that. In the beginning I kept thinking some Bond guy type baddie would put a broom through the door handle n we would all be trapped. But of course that won’t happen, I can just be a bit of a wuss I guess.

It can be quite a long journey to you nearest Cryotherapy suite for each session of only 3 minutes.

It is physically uncomfortable/slightly painful. But absolutely not as bad as the pain from the disease. It can be dealt with.

How it works. Good question. My understanding is that cold therapies have been used to treat inflammation and injury going back to the Egyptians. But this version of it started to be developed in the 1970’s in Japan for treatment of Rheumatoid arthritis. And has eventually become what we now know as this modern Cryotherapy. I have asked Drs and google how is works on numerous occasions and can’t seem to get a satisfactory answer. The best I’ve come up with are two theories, one that the sudden release of endorphins decreases pain sensitivity. And two, that during those three minutes in the chamber your body is in fight or flight mode and it being tricked into fighting for its life, all of the blood is flowing from the extremities to your core and cleaned ridden of the toxins inflammations, kind of like a hard reset.

Perhaps the bottom line is no one is exactly sure why it works so well.

Elite athlete all over the world use it to treat sports injuries too, and have done for quite some years. They were doing it in Soviet Russia. But the fact it’s been around for so long gives me confidence that any long term negative side effects would be known by now.

It’s definitely not for everyone. And if you try it and it’s not for you, don’t be afraid to just say so and leave. But if you can stick it out, I hope it can benefit you like is has me.

Cal

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Edit:
Most of the (many) people I’ve been in the Cryo chamber with have not had a problem with it being as uncomfortable as I have. I think I am just quite sensitive to the cold. The majority of people by far take it in their stride. And regardless of this I would do again in a heart beat, and look forward to my next session with excitement because I know how incredible it feels.

Being a bit uncomfortable for 3 minutes really isn’t that bad. :slight_smile:

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Thanks, that sounds intense. :slight_smile:

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That is awesome, Cal!! I am SO glad it is helping you. I believe they are opening a place near me within the next few months that has this type of therapy, along with a salt water therapy (the name is completely out of my brain right now) that I was going to try out! I really appreciate the information you shared. Glad to hear you’re doing well.

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Thank you ever so much for sharing your experience, it sounds absolutely wonderful and worth giving a try. Had wonderful results in the past from fasting and carnivore diet, plus exposure to extended Extreme cold and extreme heat environments for 16 plus hours two days a week in a park next to a River, have read that shocks to the system of this kind have a beneficial effect on the organism, similar to saunas followed by icy baths in Northen European countries. Will definitely look into crio therapy possibilities in Rome. All the best,

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