Protection Patrol: the Fight or Flight Response

The fight or flight response causes physiological triggers and is typically activated by stress and anxiety. This added pressure triggers base survival mechanisms and instincts within animals (and people) when they are presented with a stressful situation. It has its place in our lives as a response to immediate harm, but did you know that it also has other benefits that extend well past the period of danger?

Understanding the Fight or Flight Response

The fight or flight response activates a number of specific physiological triggers. Certain hormones are produced and released into the body, including cortisol (the stress hormone) and adrenaline. These prepare the body with a short term increase in available strength and focus. Pain sensitivity is reduced. Blood is shifted away from the digestive organs and into the muscles and more vital organs. The presence of extra blood provides some measure of benefits, perhaps most notably a detoxifying of important organs.

What does it have to do with Cryotherapy?

Ordinarily, one might consider the activation of the acute stress response as a bad thing. After all, in ancient times, it appeared as a reaction to potential dangers for the sole purpose of staying alive. One might think of it as a form of survival instinct. However, when activated constantly or for long durations, the fight or flight response could be seen as a source of stress and anxiety. Too much of a ‘good’ thing is a bad thing.

That said, a controlled triggering of the fight or flight response can generate many immediate and lasting effects for the body. As opposed to exposure to real danger, cryotherapy can generate a perception of danger, which activates the fight or flight response without harm. When used in this manner, cryotherapy serves to increase the body’s metabolism to help you ‘fight off’ the cold. Put simply, whole body cryotherapy puts your body at its strongest.

Whole body cryotherapy after a workout can help the body recover. Believe it or not, this is in part due to the fight or flight response. The chemicals that prepare you to deal with a conflict have effects that continue even after the response has ended. In a dangerous situation, your body knows that it is important to have as much power and speed available as possible. But what does this have to do with lasting effects?

The process boosts the metabolism to provide your body with more energy- but that excess doesn’t just fade away the moment the fight or flight response does. The increase of blood flow (for warmth and energy during cryotherapy sessions) and other responses allow these benefits to continue working on the body for hours on.

Undergoing whole body cryotherapy can allow you to take advantage of your body’s response to danger.  It will activate physiological triggers that not only help you in the moment, with benefits like reduction of inflammation and pain relief, but also with longer lasting benefits like increased alertness and energy. By creating small, harmless levels of short-term stress and anxiety with cryo treatments, you can unlock the positive benefits that come with stress – without the nasty headache.

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