What happens when cryotherapy is used as a treatment for multiple sclerosis? People with multiple sclerosis often seek out cryotherapy as an addition to their treatment.¹ But does it work, and do they feel better after a cryotherapy session? Overall this question has huge ramifications for the cryotherapy and multiple sclerosis communities. While some forms of fatigue have been considered treatable with cryo (e.g., jet lag) the issue is much more severe in multiple sclerosis.

Cryotherapy and Multiple Sclerosis Research

While the research of how cryotherapy can help multiple sclerosis in the United States is nascent there is a body of evidence originating from Europe. Polish scientists have found that whole body cryotherapy can help multiple sclerosis in terms of mobility and fatigue² and quality of life.³ This should come as no surprise as cryotherapy is much more popular in eastern Europe than in the United States, but the research is promising. While there is no cure for MS hopefully in the near future more studies will be made using cryotherapy.

Cryotherapy, Antioxidants, and Multiple Sclerosis

Cryotherapy might help multiple sclerosis patients.

Cryotherapy might help multiple sclerosis patients.

Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the reactive oxygen species and antioxidant system.² As a result this inflammation results in demyelination of the central nervous system and has a bearing on how severe a patient’s multiple sclerosis is.³ The effect is often debilitating and inspires hope that cryotherapy might help multiple sclerosis. Researchers were hoping to discover that total antioxidative stress (TAS) could be reduced using whole body cryotherapy. In a peer-reviewed clinical study they tested two groups of 24 patients with MS. Both groups responded with less fatigue and and an improved functional status. However, the best results were experienced in the group reporting high-levels of fatigue. This ultimately led the researchers to conclude that using cryotherapy to treat multiple sclerosis “appears to be effective in improving functional status and the feeling of fatigue in patients with MS and especially in those who are the most fatigued.”³

The Future For Cryotherapy and MS

The future is undetermined for MS and how much cryotherapy can help. Furthermore, there are risks associated with treating MS with cold therapy. But the current studies are promising for inflammation relief. Cryotherapy centers should allow MS patients to enjoy cryo with their physician’s permission, but also be careful to not sell false hope to families. MS patients can hopefully benefit from cold therapy, but should not think that it will cure their conditions. Finally, physicians can help sponsor research as an adjunct therapy.

Interested in learning more about buying a cryotherapy machine?  Click here to see how easy it is (no email or registration required). Are you curious about the science behind cryotherapy?  Check out our list of peer-reviewed cryotherapy clinical studies.

Founded on facts: for peer-reviewed articles, scholarly journals, and articles cited above please see the below sources.

  1. Miller E, Mrowicka M, Malinowska K, Zołyński K, Kedziora J. Effects of the whole-body cryotherapy on a total antioxidative status and activities of some antioxidative enzymes in blood of patients with multiple sclerosis-preliminary study. J Med Invest. 2010 Feb;57(1-2):168-73. doi: 10.2152/jmi.57.168. PMID: 20299758.

  2. Akça H, Polat A, Koca C. Determination of total oxidative stress and total antioxidant capacity before and after the treatment of iron-deficiency anemia. J Clin Lab Anal. 2013 May;27(3):227-30. doi: 10.1002/jcla.21589. Epub 2013 Feb 25. PMID: 23440750; PMCID: PMC6807479.

  3. Miller, E et al.

  4. Miller E. Cryostimulation factor supporting rehabilitation patients with multiple sclerosis and fatigue syndrome. Wiad Lek. 2010;63(2):41-5. Polish. PMID: 20941916.

  5. Miller E, Mrowicka M, Malinowska K, Mrowicki J, Saluk-Juszczak J, Kędziora J. Effects of whole-body cryotherapy on a total antioxidative status and activities of antioxidative enzymes in blood of depressive multiple sclerosis patients. World J Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Apr;12(3):223-7. doi: 10.3109/15622975.2010.518626. Epub 2010 Nov 18. PMID: 21083503.