Cryotherapy: Understanding What It Is and Who Could Benefit From It

Cryotherapy is a dry and cold air therapy, free of excess moisture. The temperatures reached during a therapy session are between -200°F and -240°F. While such frigid temperatures would be dangerous in any other environment, dry air does not penetrate the body like the moisture in cold air.

In theory, the hyper-cooled air triggers the body’s natural healing mechanisms, sending your blood away from extremities to the body's core and accelerating your white blood cell delivery and healing process by nearly 50%. Additionally, the brain releases adrenaline, endorphins, and other hormones, helping to regulate the organs. During the two-to-three-minute session, your body will experience an energy increase, self-healing, and an immune system boost.

According to experts in the field, a whole-body cryotherapy session increases nutrient flow, removes toxins, and helps repair soft tissue and joints. The potential benefits of cryotherapy make it beneficial for athletes and any number of patients suffering from inflammatory conditions or even psychological issues. The treatment is often touted as an anti-inflammation therapy.

Cryotherapy and the Fight Against Inflammation

When the body experiences an injury, it naturally responds through a process known as inflammation. Typically, inflammation is a good thing and suggests your body is working to stave off infection or other problems. Unfortunately, some people suffer from chronic inflammatory conditions, which result in persistent pain, swelling, redness, and stiffness, regardless of an injury. In other words, an inflammation disorder is the result of an overactive immune system.

Cryotherapy, experts suggest, is a potential treatment option for inflammation. The rapid cooling therapy encourages and enhances the body’s natural healing process, which ultimately reduces the symptoms of inflammatory conditions. There are at least three conditions that some treatment experts recommend cryotherapy for: fibromyalgia, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Fibromyalgia

A chronic pain disorder, fibromyalgia is the result of overstimulated pain sensors in the brain. Cryotherapy works predominantly by manipulating the pain sensors in your brain to encourage rapid compliance of natural healing mechanisms. According to many reports, some fibromyalgia patients have experienced relief with whole-body cryotherapy; some have even experienced long-term relief.

Psoriasis

People suffering from psoriasis experience skin cell growth at an elevated level. Cryotherapy can help reduce the overstimulation of skin cells production by slowing the skin's natural production cycle. As the body focuses on warming the core, the blood is rushed from the skin inward, effectively resetting the skin growth cycle. Therefore, hypothetically, cryotherapy can reduce the effects of psoriasis and provide a healthier complexion through the altered skin production cycle.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Cryotherapy was originally developed to treat rheumatoid arthritis and inflammation. The hyper-cooled air provides quick relief from joint pain and can force inflammation to subside. Most patients experience immediate relief, but the effects are temporary, meaning continued therapy is needed to experience long-lasting benefits.

Cryotherapy and Anxiety and Depression

Some experts also argue that cryotherapy can help patients suffering from anxiety and depression. During the session, the brain releases many hormones, including endorphins and other “feel-good” hormones. The increase in these specific hormones and the adrenaline boost can have an effect on mood and energy levels following the therapy. More research needs to be done on these claims.

There are many potential benefits to using cryotherapy, especially as it relates to inflammation. If you are interested in scheduling a cryotherapy session, talk to your doctor first to ensure you are a decent candidate.

Would you consider cryotherapy? Leave a comment explaining why or why not.

Which is Better: Pilates or Barre?

The Barre workout method has been gaining traction over the last several years, motivating several gyms to institute classes and programs. The technique is of particular interest to former dancers or those who admire most professional dancers' muscular physique and lean appearance. The most interesting thing about the Barre method is that it is advertised as a complement to Pilates and yoga and not an alternative. In truth, while more intensive, the workout does incorporate several principles and movements of Pilates, but it is more focused on the outcome of a dancer's body. Despite the apparent differences in styles, the goals of Pilates and Barre are pretty similar; Therefore, while most people want to look at exercise programs as an either-or situation, that is not the case with these two methods.

Looking Into the History of Each Method

Out of all the workout methods, there are few with such a storied history as Pilates. The founder of the technique, Joseph Pilates, created it while imprisoned in an internment camp during World War I. He wanted to help fellow cot-ridden prisoners maintain their health and mobility. Coming from such humble beginnings, Pilates has grown into a fitness and wellness program used by people from many walks of life, from pro-athletes to post-op patients.

While not as endearing or awe-inspiring, Lotte Berk, a dancer and teacher, is credited with inventing the original Barre method, the Lotte Berk Method, in 1959. She based her program on ballet, focusing on the core. The Barre method has evolved to incorporate movements from Pilates and yoga and focuses on measured movements, emphasizing form.

Similarities Between Barre and Pilates

Both Barre and Pilates are mental and physical disciplines. Each leads to similar results: improved flexibility and posture, sculpted and toned muscles, increased flexibility and mobility. Additionally, neither method requires high strain on the body, making it safer for most people than other exercise programs.

As mental disciplines, each method requires precision and focus to perform techniques. The level of concentration can lead to increased clarity and mind-body cognizance. Additionally, as each is a form of exercise, they result in the release of endorphins, causing feelings of relaxation and reduced stress levels.

Differences Between the Barre and Pilates Methods

The most apparent difference between the two methods is the use of equipment. Barre is a minimalist routine, using only a barre, mat, the occasional exercise ball, and your body weight. Alternatively, Pilates does require light hand weights and magic circles or Pilates wheels attached to some apparatus.

Barre also requires participants to push their muscles to the point of fatigue by focusing on intense, small movement in an aerobic setting. Pilates is non-aerobic and focuses on all muscle groups with the incorporation of various small and large movements. The primary goal of Pilates is to improve flexibility and core strength through a full-body workout.

The Primary Takeaway

Neither Pilates nor Barre is a superior workout by comparison. Each method achieves similar goals, and both live in a similar community. If anything, Barre is an excellent complement to Pilates, as the former often requires a cardiovascular or aerobic partner to achieve maximum results.

While Pilates and Barre are a part of a larger group of exercise methods, each provides unique benefits. One approach does not overshadow the other. If you are interested in a fun and effective regimen, consider using both methods to achieve superior results. If you only want to choose one, consider your current physical state.

Which method do you choose? Leave a comment.

The Healthiest, Most Delicious Summer Cocktails to Try

You all know warm weather is on its way out the door for a few months, right? If you haven’t fully enjoyed it, now’s the time to soak up as much sun as possible while sipping refreshing summer cocktails before cold weather swoops in. Here are a few of my favorite healthy and delicious summer cocktails you need to try this week!

Decadent Peach Bellini

One of my absolute favorite summertime flavors is peach. From peach pies to peach cocktails, you can give me peaches all day and I’ll feel like I’m in heaven. That’s why this Decadent Peach Bellini takes the top spot on my list of healthy summer cocktails to try before winter arrives.

Even better than its mouthwatering flavor is the fact that this drink only requires four ingredients! Here’s how to make it.

Ingredients:

  • 750 ml sparkling wine
  • 5 sliced strawberries for garnish
  • 1 L fresh pureed peaches
  • Ice cubes (as many as you want!)

Instructions:

  1. Pour the sparkling wine into the pitcher.

  2. Add the fresh pureed peaches and stir the mixture together.

  3. Add as many ice cubes as you want.

  4. Garnish with sliced strawberries.

Voila! You have a healthified summer cocktail that contains fresh fruits that are chock-full of vitamin C and other nutrients.

Virgin Pina Colada

If you’re really serious about being healthy and avoiding alcohol altogether, you can still enjoy the tangy sweetness of a pina colada without the alcohol. This Virgin Pina Colada only takes a few minutes to make and tastes incredible. You won’t even notice the absence of alcohol!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups coconut cream
  • 1 ½ cups pineapple juice (with no added sugar)
  • 1 tsp rum or vanilla extract (optional)
  • 3-4 pineapple wedges (for garnish)
  • As much cubed ice as you want!

Instructions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend on high for about 60 seconds (or until creamy).

  2. Pour into glasses.

  3. Garnish with pineapple wedges.

Have you ever seen instructions that were that easy? If you want to switch up the flavor a bit, you can also add a couple of ripe bananas or half a cup of frozen or fresh berries. You can even add a ton of tang by switching out the pineapple juice for lime juice and adding a couple of tablespoons of sugar (though this last modification will reduce the healthiness of the drink).

Virgin Strawberry Margarita

Here’s another alcohol-free summer cocktail that will knock your socks off. It’s low in sugar and is even Paleo-friendly!

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup filtered water
  • 1 lb. fresh strawberries (sliced and washed)
  • 2 cups crushed ice cubes
  • 32 oz. seltzer (regular or lime-flavored)
  • Juice from two limes
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Combine strawberry slices and water in a medium pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover.

  2. Allow the mixture to simmer for 15 minutes.

  3. Drain all excess liquid and allow the strawberries to cool for 10-15 minutes.

  4. Put the strawberries in a blender and blend until smooth.

  5. Place in the fridge for approximately one hour.

  6. Put crushed ice cubes in glasses, then spoon approximately 1/3 cup of strawberry puree in each glass.

  7. Pour 8 oz. of seltzer in each glass, followed by approximately 1 Tbsp. of lime juice.

  8. Add maple syrup (optional).

  9. Stir together and serve fresh!

This drink is tangy, sweet, and refreshing without the alcohol content. Of course, if you’re not trying to cut back on your alcohol consumption, go ahead and add it to your drink. I won’t tell!

These healthy and delicious cocktails will help you hang onto the last threads of summer before they fade away for a few months. Give them a try this week to figure out which are your favorite!

5 Fave Podcasts for Health and Wellness

A little experimentation with healthy foods can help you figure out what your kids love, hate and tolerate. Remember to be creative. Your kids may think they hate carrots, but might change their minds if you puree some cooked carrots with a bit of olive oil, cinnamon and nutmeg.

The Drive With Peter Attia, MD

Dr. Attia hosts one of the most popular health podcasts around, with more than 30 million downloads to date. On each two-hour episode, the doctor delves deep into topics like cancer research, vaccination and obesity, with insight derived from his history with the National Institutes of Health, Johns Hopkins and Stanford. If you want to get to the bottom of the latest and greatest health news without getting bogged down in technical jargon, you'll love Dr. Attia's understandable explanations of complex scientific concepts and his illuminating conversations with engaging guests like Guy Winch, Ph.D., who  coined the concept of "emotional first aid." Don't have two hours? Get your feet wet with one of the 15-minute Q&A episodes, in which Dr. Attia answers listeners' burning health questions.

Pursuing Health With Julie Foucher, MD, MS

Dr. Foucher's weekly podcast interviews both experts and people like us about the journey to live a happier, healthier life with the synergy of fitness and medicine. In addition to producing nearly 200 episodes of Pursuing Health so far, Dr. Foucher is a family doctor who has competed in the CrossFit Games four times, so she's no stranger to how a fitness regimen can truly change the way you feel and move through the world. I love the way the inspiring stories she covers give me a boost of motivation. Recently, Dr. Foucher interviewed an athlete who returned to competition after recovering from a brain aneurysm. 

Huberman Lab

If you're looking for targeted podcasts that provide specific solutions for your health challenges, Huberman Lab has you covered. Dr. Andrew Huberman, a tenured Professor of Neurobiology and Ophthalmology at Stanford University School of Medicine, connects with guests who help explain how our nervous system controls our moods, actions, motivations and physical prowess. My recent favorite episodes include "Improve Your Eyesight," "How To Be More Creative," and "Increase Your Focus." I've always wanted to learn more about how our minds really work and this podcast has given me invaluable insight into that area. 

Science Vs.

Do you want to know if that trendy diet, supplement or treatment really works as promised? With Science Vs., host Wendy Zukerman, a journalist who has a background in biomedical science breaks down a newsworthy notion to give the scoop about what we really need to know. Recent episodes have covered subjects as diverse as the Delta variant, supervolcanoes, astrology and lab-grown meat alternatives along with a bit of help from many super-smart guests. This Spotify original is available through Apple Podcasts. 

Radio Headspace

I find that taking a few minutes after I wake up to reflect on my intentions for the day helps me feel calm and serene even as challenges inevitably arise. If you need a bit of help to block out the noise and slow the onslaught of thoughts and information, try this daily meditation from Headspace Studios, makers of the hit Headspace meditation app. You'll find a new episode of Radio Headspace every weekday morning, and I suspect it will soon be a can't-miss part of your routine.

Tap your favorite podcast app and subscribe to these picks for new perspectives on health and wellness.

5 Teas for Better Digestion

The secrets to health and happiness are not really secrets at all but rather, age-old remedies that people have been using for millennia. Among other simple tips such as “walk daily,” “eat a natural diet” and “smile more,” one that can have a profound effect on your health and comfort is “drink more tea.”

Civilizations have been using herbal teas to treat digestive issues and soothe symptoms such as nausea, constipation, bloating and indigestion for thousands of years, and for good reason — they work! Whether you’ve been feeling a bit bloaty lately, have had trouble digesting your food or simply want to keep your system in balance, add these five herbal teas to your diet.

1.    Ginger Tea

Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that contains a compound called gingerol. Studies show that gingerol helps to stimulate stomach contractions and trigger emptying, two actions that can help to alleviate bloating, relieve gas and encourage bowel movements. Research also suggests that ginger can help with cramping, nausea and indigestion.

2.    Peppermint Tea

Peppermint is an herb known for its cool and refreshing flavor and ability to calm an upset stomach. Peppermint contains menthol, which is a compound that has been proven to improve digestive issues in both human and animal research groups. In one four-week study of 57 people who live with irritable bowel syndrome, 75% of people who took peppermint capsules twice a day showed an improvement in symptoms. This is compared to just 38% of people who took a placebo.

3.    Dandelion Tea

Dandelions may be a weed, but they’re a weed with powerful health and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show omile Teathat dandelion contains compounds that, like ginger, trigger muscle contractions and the subsequent flow of food through the GI tract. Additional research found that dandelion extract fights inflammation, decreases the production of stomach acid and protects against ulcers.

To make dandelion tea, bring a mixture of two cups of dandelion flowers and four cups of water to a boil. Remove it from the heat and let steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Pour the mixture through a colander or sieve and into your cup, and drink up.

4.    Cham

Chamomile is an herb that boasts several supposed health benefits, ranging from a better night’s sleep to reduced cancer risk. It also helps to promote digestive health. Per the findings from a few different studies and anecdotal evidence, chamomile promotes better digestion, helps protect against diarrhea and fights stomach ulcers.

5.    Fennel

Fennel is an herb that has a black-licorice type taste and that you can eat both raw and cooked. Though it is not fully understood why or how, findings support the theory that fennel is a natural laxative. Studies in which older adults consumed fennel tea for a month found that it promotes healthy bowel movements and relieves constipation. Other findings suggest that the anti-inflammatory agents in fennel also help to protect against and fight ulcers.

People have been using herbal teas as remedies for stomach pain and digestive issues for thousands of years. If you recently experience digestive issues, or if you just want to protect against them, drink a cup of tea each night — or more for more benefit. Give the above five herbal remedies a try.

5 Possible Sources of Nipple Sensitivity

You begin to notice tenderness or discomfort in your nipples when exercising or putting on a bra. While many women experience sensitive nipples and breasts associated with the menstrual cycle, prolonged soreness could signify a health concern that needs attention. These are the most common conditions that may present with sensitive nipples.

Skin Concerns

Sometimes a skin rash affecting the breasts can lead to sensitivity, pain or swelling. Dermatitis is a common condition resulting from irritant or allergen exposure and usually resolves with home treatment. You might experience dermatitis if you try a new laundry detergent, soap or similar product. 

A form of dermatitis called eczema has a genetic component and causes dry skin that can affect nipple sensation. Athletes, especially runners, may experience chafing that causes nipple sensitivity. Try protecting breasts with a sports bra or specially designed adhesive tape. 

See your doctor if you have a rash that does not improve when you end exposure to the irritant and use over-the-counter topical treatment.

Local Infection

Bacteria and other organisms can potentially affect the nipples and surrounding skin. Most commonly, breastfeeding women who develop cracks or abrasions of the nipples become infected with thrush, caused by the same organism responsible for vaginal yeast infections. Thrush causes stinging, burning, redness and sensitive skin in the affected area.

If you are breastfeeding and experience pain when your infant latches or feeds, he or she could have an improper latch that increases the risk of infection. A lactation consultant can help resolve these concerns so you and your baby stay healthy. 

Left untreated, thrush can lead to a more serious infection such as mastitis, which affects the milk ducts. Seek immediate medical attention if you have nipple pain or sensitivity along with a fever of 101 degrees or higher, chills, or warm, red, or swollen breasts. While mastitis can be quite painful it usually resolves quickly with antibiotic treatment and a doctor's care. 

Pregnancy

Nipple sensitivity is one of the most common signs of early pregnancy.  Women who are pregnant may also notice their breasts feel heavy and full. If you experience these symptoms and you have had unprotected sex, consider taking a pregnancy test. Other signs of conception include frequent urination, exhaustion, nausea, vomiting and missed menstrual periods.

Hormone Changes

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, hormone variance associated with pregnancy, the menstrual cycle or menopause is the most common reason for nipple soreness. Rising estrogen and progesterone prior to the first day of your period cause the breasts to feel full, swollen and sensitive. These symptoms typically abate after menstruation begins. 

Certain medications that contain estrogen and other hormones can cause tender breasts and sensitive nipples. You may notice this symptom if you take oral contraceptive (birth control) pills or undergo hormone replacement therapy. Let your doctor know about the side effects you experience. He or she may prescribe an alternative treatment.

Cancer

In very rare cases, breast cancer may cause nipple pain. For example, a form of cancer called Paget's disease manifests with this symptom as well as itching, stinging, discharge and inversion of the nipple area. Seek medical attention if you experience sensitivity or pain that affects only one nipple, particularly if you have a personal or family history of breast cancer. 

Talk to your health care provider if sensitive nipples occur outside of your menstrual cycle. He or she can determine the cause of this issue and recommend a treatment plan. Many women find they can reduce nipple sensitivity by decreasing caffeine intake, limiting dietary sodium, using cooling gel packs during PMS, and making other healthy lifestyle changes.

6 Amazing (Natural) Remedies for IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is more common than you may think. Anywhere from 25 million to 45 million people in the U.S. have it. That means around 1 in 10 Americans may have IBS symptoms! What can you do about it? 

Tip 1: Stop Listening to Family Members

One of the most important ways to deal with the symptoms of IBS is to ignore what other people tell you. There will always be a well-meaning family member offering to share the "secret" to curing bowel problems. The thing is, IBS is very different from other digestive problems, and some “common-sense” diet tips can make things worse.

Let me give you an example: fiber. Everyone knows that you need more fiber to help ease digestive discomfort, right? Well, with IBS, that’s not always the case. Yes, you need dietary fiber, but too much can actually trigger bloating, gas or constipation issues.

Tip 2: Go for a Walk

One of the worst triggers for IBS isn’t a food at all. It’s stress. There’s a direct connection between how you feel emotionally and how your colon works. Depression, anxiety or stressful events can trigger bowel problems.

Want a great solution for stress and IBS at the same time? Exercise! Working out is good for your body both physically and emotionally. It relieves stress, encourages healthy bowel movements, improves your self-esteem and even benefits your sleep quality — all of which are great for IBS symptoms.

Choose moderate-intensity exercises that get your heart rate up but feel relaxing:

  • Walking

  • Going for a calm bike ride

  • Doing low-impact aerobics

  • Swimming

  • Stretching

Pro tip: Exercising also makes it easier to pass gas, especially if you’re outdoors. You didn’t hear it from me!

Tip 3: Be Balanced

If you have IBS, try to take things slow and steady when it comes to diet changes. Let’s say you read an article on the health benefits of Greek yogurt. Normally, if you’re like me, you’d rush to the store to buy a couple of gallons right away! To avoid IBS symptoms, however, it’s better to avoid extremes. Start slow and work your way up.

Tip 4: Skip FODMAPs for a While

FODMAPs are carbohydrates that many people with IBS have trouble digesting. Unfortunately, FODMAPs appear in a surprising number of otherwise awesome foods:

  • Wheat

  • Rice

  • Some fruit (mainly watermelon, apples, mangoes, peaches, pears and cherries)

  • Onions

  • Garlic

  • Some vegetables (such as asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mushrooms and snow peas)

  • Beans and lentils

  • Dairy foods with lactose (cow’s milk, soft cheeses and yogurt)

Take note of foods that cause problems for you personally. If you suspect certain grains make irritation worse, ignore Dr. Oz and listen to what your gut is saying. Identifying your personal triggers can be huge for avoiding IBS symptoms.

Tip 5: Try Peppermit Oil (in Capsules)

There's some evidence that taking peppermint oil can help with IBS symptoms such as abdominal pain, gas and bloating. This plant oil appears to help the muscles of your intestines relax while soothing irritated or painful spots from the inside. Go with capsules to avoid problems with heartburn.

Tip 6: Take Care of Your Gut With Probiotics

A healthy gut has a blend of over 300 different types of microorganisms that work together to protect your digestive lining, break down foods, make vitamins for your body, absorb nutrients and even improve your emotions! Getting plenty of probiotics can help with pain, boating, bowel movements and overall intestinal comfort.

You can find probiotics in several foods:

  • Yogurt

  • Sauerkraut

  • Kefir

  • Kimchi

  • Pickles

  • Kombucha

But wait — didn’t I just say that lactose in dairy can make IBS symptoms worse? If you notice that yogurt bothers you, there are several options. You could choose a lactose-free Greek yogurt. Or you can simply take a probiotic supplement and avoid the fuss!

Why Intuitive Eating Might Not Work for You

Intuitive eating is one of those weight-loss fads people swear by, but is it actually effective? Like so many weight loss methods floating around out there, it may work for you or it may not. I know, that’s so noncommittal. But let me explain.

Intuitive eating isn’t a diet. It’s a method of eating that gives its users a great degree of freedom of what and how much they eat. Some people experience success with intuitive eating and are able to use the technique to lose excess weight. But unfortunately, not everyone responds well to this dietary strategy. In fact, it can cause some people to gain even more weight!

So how can you tell if intuitive eating is a good strategy for you to try, or if it will cause you to fall back even further on your weight-loss journey? While you won’t know for sure unless you try it, here are a few indications that intuitive eating might not work for you (even if it worked for your sister, best friend, or cousin Harry).

Understanding How Intuitive Eating Works

Before we dive into the pros and cons of intuitive eating, let’s review what it is and what it isn’t, shall we? Intuitive eating is a pretty simple idea, and its main principles were developed in 1995 by two dietitians (Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch).

The main idea behind this type of eating is to come to peaceful terms with all different types of foods. You’re not supposed to refer to any foods as bad or off-limits when you adopt this way of eating. Instead, you do the following:

  • Listen to your body and consume what feels right in the moment

  • Eat when you’re hungry and stop eating when you’re full

  • Select foods that make your mind and body feel good while satisfying your health needs

  • Respect your emotions and seek treatment for them instead of engaging in emotional eating

Some people may lose weight with this eating strategy, but many others may not. Here are a few indications you may not want to try intuitive eating.

Indications Intuitive Eating May Not Be Right for You

Here are a few indications that intuitive eating may not work for your situation:

  • You have certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Consult with your doctor to see if there are certain foods you should add or cut out of your diet completely.

  • You don’t know how to recognize your body’s hunger or satiety signals. Eating intuitively sounds great in theory, but what if you don’t trust your body’s intuition? For some people, counting calories is a more reliable way to avoid overeating (or undereating).

  • You have a hard time losing weight. If you already struggle to lose weight, you may plateau or even gain weight by eating intuitively. Some people have higher ghrelin levels than others (that’s the hormone that triggers hunger), and they’re more likely to gain weight if they always eat until they’re full. For people like this, tracking calorie and macro intakes is essential for weight-loss success.

  • You’re addicted to sugar. Yes, science shows that it’s possible to become addicted to sugar. And if you follow the intuitive eating mindset, you can eat sugar if you really want it. As you can imagine, this can lead to over-indulgence for people whose relationship with sugar is out of control. It’s generally best to stay away from sugar or severely limit it in your diet rather than allow yourself to eat it “intuitively.”

So there you have it. If any of the above bullet points sound like you, intuitive eating may be something you want to skip (especially if you are trying to lose weight).

Is CBD an Effective Treatment for Menstrual Cramps?

Marijuana is nothing new. While legalization has brought growers and sellers out of hiding, people have been smoking and consuming the drug for centuries. However, what does seem to be new is the vast and unbelievable claims of the drug's capabilities. Many brands tout their products as the essential cure-all to what ails you. Do you have a bad back? Smoke this. Do you suffer from anxiety? Chew on this. Everything from pain management to creativity seems to be treatable with a bit of CBD or THC.

Therefore, it wasn’t surprising when legal marijuana producers began claiming that CBD — the part of marijuana that won’t give you a high — could relieve menstrual cramps, even cure them. That is every women’s dream come true. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to suggest that CBD is an effective or even helpful treatment or therapy for menstrual cramping.

Looking Closer At CBD and Pain-Relief

Researchers have proven time and time again that marijuana — produced in a controlled medical setting — provides many benefits for pain management. However, the pain the drug can treat is limited to specific chronic pain. Based on that observation and logic, sellers concluded that CBD could treat the chronic pain or cramps of the menstrual cycle, but that is an assumption without evidence.

Menstrual cramps are the result of a release of prostaglandins, inflammatory compounds. The more of these compounds you release during menstruation, the more severe your cramps. Consequently, if a medication or therapy does not affect the production of prostaglandins, it will not reduce the risk or severity of cramps. Common drugs, like Advil and Celebrex, bind to tissues and COX receptors in the brain, blocking the production of prostaglandins, reducing the pain or likelihood of severe cramping.

CBD does not affect the production of prostaglandins. In fact, it does not even interact with the COX receptors. Instead, CBD and THC have a direct effect on hormone production, specifically dopamine. While dopamine can help you feel good, it will not affect the likelihood of cramps. Consequently, women taking THC might have a euphoric experience, reducing the perception of pain and leading to false testimony. 

CBD and marijuana, in general, are better at treating chronic-neuropathic pain and other inflammatory joint disorders. There is sound evidence to suggest that these benefits are real, although sellers likely inflate their potential, but why and how?

FDA and CBD Distribution

CBD is a non-addictive substance, and it does not provide a high. CBD is within a legal class of drugs and products; however, it is not subject to FDA approval. Without FDA approval, a drug cannot legally claim to cure any ailment, but that does not mean a brand cannot speak about the “potential benefits.” 

As long as a CBD manufacturer stays clear of promising results to consumers, it is essentially safe from prosecution. Therefore, brands can continue to advertise their products as “helpful” and “beneficial” without providing definitive evidence.

CBD, like other dietary supplements, falls into a weird limbo. The brands clearly understand the limitations of their products but continue to market them as potential cure-alls without fear of consequence.

It is up to consumers to educate themselves about lofty claims and review the data and the evidence. Marijuana producers are currently enjoying the luxury of legitimate business, but many are still skirting the law with broad and non-specific marketing campaigns.

As women, it is best to seek out actual medical advice for the treatment and management of severe menstrual cramps. While CBD and THC might be good for treating some chronic pain conditions, there is no evidence to suggest the drug works for cramping resulting from menstruation.

Is Thermal Wellness Worth Your Time?

Temperature is nothing new to wellness therapy. The use of hot and cold to treat conditions like illness, muscle soreness, stress, and tension is a common practice dating back hundreds of years. People have often found comfort, relaxation, or relief in saunas or ice baths, so why is it that thermal wellness is suddenly a new fad term full of promise.

Much of the hype surrounds the advances in science and technology that allow for temperature manipulation, meaning that people can change their body temperature to achieve specific mental and physical health goals with a wearable device. However, before diving into the efficacy of such technology, it is crucial to review the science.

Efficacy of Thermal Therapies

Before discussing how extreme temperature fluctuations can affect the body, it is necessary to understand the difference between positive and negative stress responses. A positive stress response helps improve muscle recovery, reduce inflammation, and reduce pain; a negative response works counter to those results.

Exposure to extreme temperatures in controlled settings is said to be a positive stress response. For example, cryotherapy is the process of exposing the body to subzero temperatures for only a few minutes at a time. The sudden and extreme exposure causes rapid and tremendous constriction of blood vessels. The constriction is followed by equally substantial dilation when the body is removed from the cold, improving oxygenation and circulation throughout the system. You can think of saunas and other infrared heat treatments as equally and hypothetically beneficial but working in reverse.

It is necessary to state that evidence to support the theories of extreme temperature treatments is limited. While supporters and even some physiologists see the potential and understand the likelihood for results, the actual body of research is slim, especially when considering these methods as treatments for inflammation, chronic pain, and vitality.

Modern Advances in Technology

While there is insufficient evidence to support extreme temperature therapies, researchers know that temperature plays a vital role in human processes. Newer tech is focusing on subtle temperature fluctuations, only a few degrees in any direction. 

For now, the primary focus is on improving the quality of sleep, as most adults do not get adequate rest. The devices range from full-size mattresses to wearable devices for the wrist.

By manipulating the body and brain into perceiving a room or bed to be hotter or colder than it is, tech brands claim to enrich sleep quality. If true, the tech is sure to be a great success but does research support the idea?

Wearable Tech and Temperature Manipulation

While there is plenty of enthusiasm around temperature manipulation, it is not something most people need to concern themselves with. As long as your body can maintain an average temperature between 97° and 99°, there is no profound benefit to deliberately putting stress on your body. For those suffering from heart or lung disease or who are pregnant, most physicians do not recommend putting any additional stress on the body because of the risk to your health.

While thermal manipulation or wellness is an interesting topic, it still requires research to prove the physical benefits. That being said, if you enjoy the sauna or feel that temperature changes improve your wellbeing, go ahead and try. However, always talk to your primary care physician before starting any new program or routine.

What do you think about thermal wellness? Leave a comment.