Bronchial asthma is a chronic reactive airways disease, characterised by inflammation of the bronchial tubes. The result of the inflammation is tubes that constrict in response to certain stimuli and an increased production of sticky mucous. Common asthma symptoms are:
- Coughing (particularly at night and in the early morning)
- Chest tightness, pressure or pain
- Shortness of breath
Management of asthma involves avoidance of the trigger causes (e.g. house dust mite or cats), preventative medications and medicines that open up the airways during an asthma attack.
What about asthma that is triggered by cold?
Cold-induced asthma occurs when a reflexive mechanism is triggered in the airways following exposure to the cold. It is not a contra-indication for WBCT, although initial treatments will be conducted under medical supervision. Some initial research is showing that whilst cold air in the airways can trigger bronchoconstriction, skin exposure can in fact lead to an improvement in the bronchoconstriction due to the body’s compensatory mechanisms following a treatment. Care is taken to minimise inhalation of the cold gas and observations about an individual’s response will dictate whether further treatments are indicated or not.
WBCT in the management of bronchial asthma
- Improvement in FEV1 is seen following a treatment
- Short-term dilatation of the bronchi and bronchiole
- Relaxation of respiratory musculature
- Inhibition of chronic inflammatory processes
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory skin disease characterised by dry and itchy skin. Treatments mostly target suppression of the immune system and symptom control.
Benefits of Cryotherapy in atopic dermatitis
- increased antioxidative capacity
- reduced conduction velocity of peripheral nerves
- reduced acetylcholine, one of the neurotransmitters in atopic pruritus, reducing the itching (Klimenko, 2008)
- increased anti-inflammatory cytokines
Protocols for treatment with atopic dermatitis
Depending on severity, up to 30 cold exposures may be needed.