We have all experienced blatant inflammation at some point, sprained ankle, swollen glands, etc… But what is it really? What is happening in the body when it becomes inflamed? Also, what about the inflammation that you cannot see, leads to or is part of disease? Let’s find out what is going on in the body and some things we can do about it.
Inflammation is the body’s response to a trauma, infection, virus or other type of microorganism (invader). The body’s immune system will send out certain types of white blood cells and other chemicals to protect and heal the body. Some of the chemicals will cause fluid to be leaked into the affected tissue, with the result being the tissue swelling we may see and feel as part of the inflammatory response.
Theoretically inflammation can be a good thing, since it protects the body and enables the healing process to occur. However inflammation that results from intense trauma or certain types of infection, can be so great that it actually impedes the healing process and can create damage and destruction to our tissues. Inflammation that lasts for extended periods of time is viewed as chronic inflammation and can also inhibit the body’s ability to heal and function normally.
All forms of degenerative disease are rooted in a foundation of inflammation. Many times this type of inflammation you cannot see, as you can with a sprained ankle. Chronic inflammation may be low level, continuous, and exist over decades, ultimately leading to many of our current disease states such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. This type of inflammation is indicative when our blood tests are abnormal. We associate abnormal blood tests with a disease, however know that inflammation is always involved.
So what can we do to mitigate and manage inflammation in our body? There are a number of over the counter drugs and pharmaceuticals that can alleviate inflammation. They are not without risks and side effects. Prevention is the best action we can take through lifestyle factors such as good sleep habits eating an anti-inflammatory diet. We will talk about the best anti-inflammatory foods to prevent inflammation as part 2 of our blog series next week.
There are also a number of therapies that can help with acute and chronic inflammation. One of the latest available therapies is called cryotherapy. Although not an approved medical treatment, cryotherapy provides fast and visible results to an affected body part, such as a sprained ankle. It can help you or an athlete return to normal activities more quickly with little to no risk. Cryotherapy can also be administered over multiple sessions to support management of arthritic, muscle, and nerve pain found in various types of inflammatory diseases. During a session you are seated in a vessel called a cryosauna that leaves your head and hands exposed, while the cold air is piped in. Full body sessions last under 3 minutes. Hand held devices can be used to target a specific body part or as part of a facial rejuvenation treatment.
If cryotherapy sounds interesting to you, you can learn more at our next open house on Wednesday, September 25 from 5:30-8 at Fox Valley Cryotherapy, 2161 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Appleton, Wisconsin 54914. Experience a free session and find out how cryotherapy combined with anti-inflammatory foods can make a difference in your health & wellness.