Rheumatism and cold therapy: is it the solution against inflammation?

In recent years, cold therapy and the Wim Hof Method have become increasingly popular, also among people with autoimmune diseases and chronic pain. For example, more and more people with rheumatism benefit from the effects of cold and regain their quality of life. Radboud UMC made interesting discoveries about cold and how we can influence the autoimmune system with the Wim Hof Method. How can cold training help with rheumatism? Find out more in this article.

What is rheumatism?

Rheumatism is a collective name for hundreds of different painful disorders of the joints, muscles and tendons. They have one thing in common: the pain comes from inflammation. The inflammations are caused by a dysregulated immune system. Exactly how rheumatism develops is still unclear. Rheumatism is a diagnosis that you receive for the rest of your life: you cannot be cured of it. The treatments consist of symptom control such as pain relief and anti-inflammatories. Many rheumatic patients do not benefit enough from this and often suffer from unpleasant side effects. They are looking for a way to improve their health in other ways and to regain control over their life and health. With great success they find possibilities in alternative therapies such as cold training.

How can cold therapy help with rheumatism?

You often hear that taking an ice bath boosts your immune system. However, that gives the wrong impression of what cold therapy does. Instead of boosting the immune system, it actually makes the immune system less likely to go into an active state. People with an autoimmune disease such as rheumatism have an overactive immune system. Research shows that people who do cold therapy are less likely to get sick when exposed to a virus because they produce more adrenaline and thus suppress an immune response. In addition, taking ice baths lowers the pro-inflammatory proteins in the blood and exposure to cold increases the number of white blood cells. So you can temper the immune response, making the immune system less responsive to inflammation. More research is needed to confirm that taking ice baths is the way to treat rheumatism, but the success stories of rheumatoid arthritis patients, as well as those with multiple sclerosis (MS) and Crohn’s disease, are promising. As mentioned before, you cannot cure these autoimmune diseases, neither with regular treatments, nor with cold therapy. But because rheumatism patients can significantly reduce their medication intake or stop completely, they experience much more quality of life.

Start cold therapy at home

Do you have rheumatism and are you inspired to start with cold therapy? Always consult your doctor before changing your medication intake. You can easily build up cold therapy at home by starting with cold showers. Once you get used to it, you can start taking ice baths. With the CoolCube water coolers from Khione you can create an ice and ice-cold ice bath from every bath – without ice cubes! Look here for the different models. 

Cold training and colds: the positive effects

The healing power of cold therapy is becoming increasingly well known. Back in 2014, research from Raboud University showed that simple techniques such as breathing exercises, meditation, and cold training activate the autonomic nervous system and inhibit the immune system’s response. Yet, it took a long time for cold training to be embraced even by skeptics in the fight against various chronic diseases. Meanwhile, the Wim Hof Method is gaining ground worldwide, and many people are finding their salvation in cold training. They start working at home with plunge pools filled with ice and ice-cold water.

Cold therapy and the common cold

Those who regularly step into the cold water are less prone to catching a cold. How is this possible? Trained people produce more adrenaline through breathing techniques and exposure to cold. Adrenaline is a stress hormone released with increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system and suppresses the immune response. This causes the body to produce fewer inflammatory proteins when exposed to a virus or bacteria. Fewer inflammatory proteins mean fewer cold symptoms such as fever and headache.

Chronic respiratory problems and cold training

Cold therapy is also the answer for chronic respiratory problems. With chronic respiratory problems, you can think of COPD and asthma, for example. These airway problems stem from inflammation. They are chronic inflammatory diseases of the lungs resulting from an overactive immune system where healthy cells are attacked.

More and more people with respiratory diseases swear by the Wim Hof Method. They don’t need medication or puffers anymore and feel mentally and physically stronger and more energetic than ever. Many people with hay fever often go hand in hand with sneezing, coughing, and a blocked nose, benefit from cold therapy and dispense with their medication through their daily ice bath.

Cold therapy at home

Cold therapy is available to everyone. It will cost you a one-time investment in a bathtub or tub that you can use to perform cold training. Check out the different CoolCubes here.

Koudetraining en verkoudheid: de positieve effecten

De genezende kracht van koudetherapie wordt steeds bekender. In 2014 bleek uit onderzoek van de Raboud Universiteit al dat simpele technieken zoals ademhalingsoefeningen, meditatie en koudetraining het autonome zenuwstelsel activeren en de reactie van het immuunsysteem remmen. Toch heeft het lang geduurd voordat koudetraining ook door sceptici werd omarmd in de strijd tegen diverse chronische ziekten. Inmiddels wint de Wim Hof Methode wereldwijd steeds meer aan terrein en vinden veel mensen hun heil in koudetraining. Zij gaan thuis aan de slag met dompelbaden gevuld met ijs- en ijskoud water. De indicaties van koudetherapie lopen uiteen van chronische ontstekingsziekten en kanker tot verkoudheid en chronische luchtwegproblemen.

Koudetherapie en verkoudheid

Wie regelmatig het koude water instapt, is minder vatbaar voor een verkoudheid. Hoe kan dat? Getrainde mensen maken door ademhalingstechnieken en blootstelling aan kou meer adrenaline aan. Adrenaline is een stresshormoon dat vrijkomt bij verhoogde activiteit van het sympathisch zenuwstelsel en het onderdrukt de immuunrespons. Dit zorgt ervoor dat het lichaam minder ontstekingseiwitten aanmaakt bij blootstelling aan een virus of bacterie. Minder ontstekingseiwitten betekent minder verkoudheidsverschijnselen zoals koorts en hoofdpijn.

Chronische luchtwegproblemen en koudetraining

Ook voor chronische problemen aan de luchtwegen is koudetherapie de uitkomst. Bij chronische luchtwegproblemen kun je denken aan bijvoorbeeld COPD en astma. Deze luchtwegproblemen komen voort uit ontstekingen. Het zijn chronische inflammatieziekten van de longen voortvloeiend uit een overactief immuunsysteem waarbij gezonde cellen worden aangevallen.

Steeds meer mensen met luchtwegaandoeningen zweren bij de Wim Hof Methode. Zij hebben geen medicijnen en puffers meer nodig en voelen zich door koudetraining mentaal én lichamelijk sterker en energieker dan ooit. Ook veel mensen met hooikoortsklachten die vaak hand in hand gaan met niezen, hoesten en een verstopte neus, hebben baat bij koudetherapie en kunnen door hun dagelijkse ijsbad hun medicijnen aan de kant schuiven.

Koudetherapie thuis

Koudetraining is voor iedereen beschikbaar. Het kost je een eenmalige investering in een bad of tub waar je de koudetraining mee kunt uitvoeren. Bekijk de verschillende CoolCubes hier.

The better – and more environmentally friendly – alternative to Ice?

Khione CoolCube. The better – and more environmentally friendly – alternative to Ice?

I think all cold water enthusiasts agree. The best way to experience your ‘Wim Hof moments’ is in nature, in a river, a lake, or in the sea when it is the just right temperature. Experiencing the effects of cold in a natural setting makes you feel just a bit more connected with mother earth. Unfortunately reality in modern times is that:

  • We do not all live near lakes, rivers, seas or oceans.
  • When we do, they are not always the right temperature.

This leaves us with a number of options:

Using Cold Tap water

The first option is to use tap water. Which -in some cases- can be cold enough to practice cold therapy. Research shows that tap water temperature in Europe ranges on average between 12 Celsius to a max of 25 Celsius. The actual temperature of course depends on the time of year, and the country. This is unfortunate because when most like to take their baths the coldest (in summer) the tap water is the warmest and cooling is still required for effective cold therapy.

Adding Ice

Adding ice to your bath seems like to most obvious and simple solution. And this indeed works very well, bus has some negative considerations too. When ice is created (by cooling water down) more energy has to be spent on cooling as the temperature approaches 0 Celsius. In order to create ice, the ice producer or fridge has to operate in this energy inefficient range. Additionally, ice has to be transported. Be it form the fridge or from a supplier, during transportation the ice is already absorbing heat, heat that cannot be absorbed from your bath or tub. Finally, adding ice does not give you the exact control of water temperature that alternatives do.

Using a Khione CoolCube

The third alternative is to use a purpose made water cooler like the Khione CoolCube. These devices cool the water down gradually without having to necessarily spend too much energy on cooling in the lower temperature ranges. Also the loss of cold experienced during transport is eliminated, increasing the efficiency compared to ice even more. Finally devices such as the CoolCube allow for precise control of the water temperature, allowing you to go a bit further (and colder) each time you take a dip!


Water temperature is key for practicing cold therapy. For some people a short shower under cold tap water is enough, others like to get into the water at lower temperatures and stay there for longer. In these cases additional refrigeration is needed. While adding ice to a bath has been the most common method for doing this, it is not the most efficient or environmentally friendly method. New technologies such as the Khione CoolCube allow for more precise temperature control, less overall energy usage and a lot more convenience.

Check out Khiones Products here.

History Of Cold Water Theraphy

While Cold Therapy has been gaining a lot of popularity recently its origins way back. Way, way back to ancient times.

The oldest known surgical treatise on trauma, dated 3500 B.C, already made numerous references to the use of cold as therapy to treat inflammation. Since these early days it has become a very modern type of therapy used not only for sports injuries, but also for sports recovery, the treatment of certain nervous system related illnesses, self improvement and even meditative purposes.

Another recorded example of use of cold therapy in ancient times was with the Greeks in 400 BC, when Hippocrates used cold water to treat swelling and pain. After that, in 1050 AD, Anglo-Saxon monks used ice as a local anesthetic.

James Arnott, an English physician discovered in 1845, that applying cold was a very effective treatment for nerve pain and migraines. Fascinated with his discovery he continued his research on other possible therapeutical applications of cold. One finding was that tumors shrank when in cold was applied.

In a 2014 Dutch study by the Radboud Unversity on Hofs method, it was proven that the effects of infections can be reduced by breathing exercises and exposure to cold. Not only by hof himself, but by anyone that uses his method.

In 2018, in the study ‘brain over body’ published in NeuroImage the famous Wim Hof was researched. Researchers found that Hof is able to use his mind to artificially induce a stress response in his body that helps him resist the effects of cold. It was established that Hof can activate an internal painkiller function by conducting breathing exercises, then exposing himself to a threat like extreme, sudden cold.

Today cold therapy is used by millions, It supports athletes in sports recovery, and helps people boost their immune system, and lead a more fulfilled life by being strong, healthy and happy.

What is Cold Therapy

What is Cold Therapy

Also known as cryotherapy, cold therapy is an innovative treatment where the body is exposed to freezing temperatures of up to -140 degrees celsius. It works by reducing blood flow to a particular area of the body by either constricting or closing the blood vessels which ferry blood to that part. This can significantly reduce swelling and inflammation that causes pain.

The use of cold therapy dates back to 2500 BC, but then it was modernized by a doctor in Japan, Dr. Yamaguchi, in 1978. He used the treatment to treat patients who have rheumatoid arthritis. Over the last decade, cold therapy has gained popularity among people as they believe it offers a wide range of benefits that include

  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Boost for the immune system
  • Boost blood circulation.
  • Numbs nerve irritation.
  • Reduces arthritic pain.
  • Relieves pain and heals muscles.
  • Weight loss.
  • Rheumatic diseases.

Why is cold therapy so effective

Unlike other therapies like heat therapy, cold therapy has been proven to be effective by doctors as it provides for a fast recovery from pain and inflammation of muscles. Also, athletes are adopting cold therapy because it promotes faster healing of their injuries. It is also applied in the health sector as a natural way to relieve pain among patients who have arthritis.

Boost for the immune system

Cold therapy initiates the release of endorphins, which reduces the cortisol level in the body; this brings about low stress levels and a good mood associated with better immunity.

Also, during cold therapy, blood circulation is elevated, and blood rich in oxygen is conveyed from the surface to the core parts of the body. This helps remove toxins from the body and transport them to the liver, where they are eliminated.

Cold therapy increases the number of white blood cells while elevating the levels of anti-inflammatory cells. This white blood cells are responsible for increasing the body’s immunity and preventing diseases.

About The CoolCube™ C2

About the CoolCube C2

The CoolCube C2 is a high-capacity water chiller which is powerful enough to cool larger pools. It is able to cool a 1000 liter pool within 3-4 hours to near zero degrees. The working temperature of the machine is 0-35 degrees Celsius and can cool pools of up to 1500 liters quickly. The CoolCube 1500 is made of high-quality Components and has a general life expectancy of 8+ years (assuming daily use).

You can simply use your own pool or tub, connect your CoolCube and the water will be cold enough to practice Cold Therapy or improve recovery from hard workouts. Your CoolCube will be delivered with all components needed to start practicing right away.