How Does Whole Body Cryotherapy Burn Fat?

Julie Shanebrook 3m 638 #chillcryo

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Natural Therapy To Burn Fat

Diving Into Ice

Everyone wants to know how this works! Cryotherapy is a new concept for most people and knowledge on how and why cryotherapy can activate weight and fat loss is not readily available.

The human physiological response to cold can actually activate fat loss. Cryotherapy in conjunction with dieting and exercise can improve the speed at which humans lose weight. There are two main mechanisms in which our body responds to cold stress that can cause increased metabolism and weight loss:

  1. Shivering Thermogenesis
  2. Non-Shivering Thermogenesis

Shivering thermogenesis is your body’s response to the cold– shivering is rapid involuntary muscular contractions which produce heat as a byproduct. This involuntary movement helps to warm the body in order to protect the vital organs. Shivering thermogenesis burns a lot of calories and can be an important component to weight loss from cryotherapy. The caloric burn associated with shivering thermogenesis is similar to the effects of cardiovascular exercise—so it’s a great option for people who cannot (or will not :)) exercise.

Non-Shivering thermogenesis is the more interesting and promising path to weight loss. Before we get into the way it works, it is important to understand what types of fat our body produces.

There are two types of human fat:

  1. White Adipose Tissue (WAT) or white fat
  2. Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT) or brown fat

White fat is everyone’s most dreaded enemy because it tends to pile up around the waist, lower back, neck, and thighs and is the most challenging to eliminate. White fat actually stores energy, and is not metabolically active.

Brown fat is the good fat because it is metabolically active and helps to generate heat to keep our bodies warm when exposed to extreme cold. Brown fat has more mitochondria (the energy producing part of our cells) than white fat. Studies have shown that BAT actually has an inverse correlation to the percentage of body fat[1] and an inverse correlation to BMI[2]. The easiest way to understand BAT is to think of it as: more BAT = the more fat your body will burn.


So we want more brown fat (BAT)….So how do we convert our white fat into brown fat?

One answer is through the cold temperatures found in whole body cryotherapy.[3]

The process of non-shivering thermogenesis is partially regulated by the hormone and neurotransmitter, norepinephrine. Studies have shown that cold exposure can help increase norepinephrine release in the body by 500%![4] Norepinephrine causes a release of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1), which releases mitochondria (the energy producing part of the cell). UCP1 increases the metabolism by producing more mitochondria in the adipose tissue, causing a “browning effect”. This converts white fat to brown fat (BAT).

The conversion of white fat to brown fat is advantageous in so many ways—you lose the white fat deposits throughout your body (thick thighs, abdomen, love handles, buttocks) and you passively burn more fat 24/7 through more metabolically active brown fat.

ChillRx Cryotherapy in Westfield, NJ has a medical advisor on staff who formulated our weight and fat loss protocols to be safe, effective and efficient. It is important to choose a cryotherapy provider with medical oversight in order to maximize your results and safety. ChillRx has helped many clients lose weight (and inches, including cellulite!). Our trademarked treatment programs offer our clients personalized and medically based treatments for losing weight and fat. ChillRx cryotherapy centers collect data on all of our clients and create the optimal weight and fat loss cryotherapy treatment utilizing the dual concepts of shivering and non-shivering thermogenesis.


[1] Cold-activated brown adipose tissue in healthy men.

[2] Identification and Importance of Brown Adipose Tissue in Adult Humans

[3] Cold acclimation recruits human brown fat and increases nonshivering thermogenesis

[4] Human physiological responses to immersion into water of different temperatures

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