DWTS’s Derek Hough Knows How to Chill…Really Chill!

Derek Hough may be one of the hottest guys on Dancing with the Stars, but he sure knows how to chill.

Just the other day, Hough posted this picture on Instagram, with the caption:

“Just finished Cryo therapy, now off to the airport to catch a red eye back to the city that never sleeps. Fitting, seeing as I don’t sleep either.”

This is not Hough’s first time doing whole body cryotherapy, as we reported that he and fellow DWTS castmates have been using it since at least 2012 as as way to treat their dance injuries.

And Hough has good reason to have sore muscles. Besides being the pro dancing with Olympic gymnast Nastia Lukin on  Season 20 of Dancing with the Stars in LA, Derek also dances in NYC with the Rockettes and Tony Award-Winner Laura Benant in the Radio City Music Hall’s New York Spring Spectacular.

Hough isn’t the only celebrity who is into cryotherapy. Lindsay Lohan recently posted a picture of herself and friends celebrating Easter:

lindsay lohan cryo

Happy Easter! freezing our way into spring chickens!

Getting Naked at 200 Degrees Below Zero – Why?

Cryotherapy is defined as the  local or general use of low temperatures in medical therapy or the removal of heat from a body part.  It has been around since the 1880-1890s.

Its goal is to decrease cellular metabolism, increase cellular survival, decrease inflammation, decrease pain and spasm, promote constriction of the blood vessels, and when using extreme temperatures, to kill cells by freezing them.

The most prominent use of the term refers to the surgical treatment, specifically known as cryosurgery. Other therapies that use the term are cryogenic chamber therapy (or whole body cryotherapy – WBC) and ice pack therapy.

Whole Body Cryotherapy

Whole body cryotherapy originated in Japan in 1978. A  patient is placed in a special temperature-controlled cryogenic chamber (sometimes called a “space ship”) for a short period of time- usually on the order of 2 to 3 minutes. The temperature in the chamber is held at about minus 270 degrees Fahrenheit! To prevent frostbite, patients dress in protective clothing composed of cotton socks, cotton underwear (for men), and gloves.

In theory, this is how it works-

  1. The extreme cold rapidly drops the temperature of the skin.
  2. The body’s temperature regulating system wants to protect the body’s core temperature. It does it by constricting the blood vessels in the extremities. This shifts blood away from the arms and legs and towards the heart, lungs and brain.
  3. This body becomes oxygen rich.
  4. When the body is removed from the cold temperatures, the oxygen rich blood floods into the skin and extremities as the body dilates the blood vessels.

Cryotherapist,  Dr. Jonas Kuehne (who owns CryoHealthcare) claims that, in addition to increased oxygen delivery,  “extreme temperatures also triggers the release of anti-inflammatory molecules and endorphins”. Endorphins are small neuropeptides that are produced by the body and act to reduce pain.

Does it really work? Can it hurt me?

Many professional athletes, such as Texas Rangers’ pitcher C.J. Wilson, as well as several members of the NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks team, swear by the procedure but that doesn’t mean it’s been scientifically proven to work. The doctor who has published the most articles in medical journals about WBC is Giuseppe Banfi at the University of Milan in Italy. According to Dr. Banfi:

“WBC is used to relieve pain and inflammatory symptoms caused by numerous disorders, particularly those associated with rheumatic conditions, and is recommended for the treatment of arthritis, fibromyalgia and ankylosing spondylitis. In sports medicine, WBC has gained wider acceptance as a method to improve recovery from muscle injury. Unfortunately, there are few papers concerning the application of the treatment on athletes….further studies are necessary…”

Dr. Banfi goes on to say

WBC is not harmful and does not induce general or specific negative effects…

….Except perhaps on your wallet.

Treatments cost $70 for 2-3 minutes in the cold and 5 to 20 treatments are usually prescribed. Most health insurance companies will not pay for WBC as the cold therapy products and equipment used for WBC have not been tested or approved by the FDA for the treatment of any illness or disease.

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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