Whole-body cryotherapy - promising add-on treatment of depressive disorder

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Rymaszewska, Joanna
Urbanska, Katarzyna
Szczesniak, Dorota
Pawlowski, Tomasz
Pieniawska-Smiech, Karolina
Kokot, Izabela
Pawlik-Sobecka, Lilla
Placzkowska, Sylwia
Zablocka, Agnieszka
Stanczykiewicz, Bartlomiej
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Objective: More effective, tolerable interventions for unipolar depression treatment are needed. Whole-body cryotherapy (WBC), which is a treatment using cryogenic temperature, is a novel therapeutic modality in neurology and rheumatology. The objective of this study was to determine the efficacy and safety of WBC as an add-on treatment for unipolar depression. Methods: 30 adults diagnosed with unipolar depressive episode were recruited to an observational, prospective study. 21 participants (17 women, 81%), mean age 46.1 (±16.7), completed the whole study procedure. Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory were used to assess the severity of depressive symptoms. Additionally quality of life and anhedonia were assessed with WHOQoL-BREF and SHAPS. Participants undertook 10, 2-minutes (-110 C till -135 C) WBC sessions on weekdays. Results: Patients after WBC sessions showed significant improvement compared to their baseline scores taking into account depressive symptoms measured by HDRS (p<0.00001) in total scores between T1 (16.94±4.3) and T4 (4.50±4.2) and by BDI-II (T1: 13.48±4.6; T4: 6.14±6.7, p<0.03), lower anhedonia level on SHAPS (p=0.011) and higher quality of life between T1 and T4 in: physical health (p=0.024), psychological health (p=0.016) and environmental (p=0.003) domains. Pre/post comparison of self-report well-being measured by VAS scale showed a significant increase (p<0.00001). It was shown that WBC have no effect on cytokine, NO, hsCRP, ESR and TAS in blood (p>0.05). Conclusions: In the pilot study, WBC was an effective, safe, and tolerable add-on intervention for this small unipolar depression sample. Further RCT trials should examine WBC efficacy in a larger group.

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Psychiatria Polska

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© The Author(s) 2018. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 4.0 International (CC BY-ND 4.0) License, which permits unrestricted distribution and reproduction in any medium, providing that the work is properly cited. You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work

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Rymaszewska, J; Urbanska, K; Szcześniak, D; Pawłowski, T; Pieniawska-Śmiech, K; Kokot, I; Pawlik-Sobecka, L; Płaczkowska, S; Zabłocka, A; Stańczykiewicz, B, Whole-body cryotherapy - promising add-on treatment of depressive disorder., Psychiatria Polska, pp. 1-20