Tuesday, 7 January 2014

SSTO leads landmark study

A team of SSTO researchers have led an innovative and ground-breaking international collaborative study into whole body cryotherapy (WBC) exposure.

Working in conjunction with top rugby league club Wigan Warriors and BOC, the UK's leading handler of cryogenic gases, the group aimed to determine the physiological changes that may occur during WBC exposure.

Led by Professor James Selfe, with support from Karen May (Division Lead for Physiotherapy and Sports Therapy) and Nigel Garratt (Knowledge Transfer & Business Development Lead for SSTO), the study also extended to the Southern Hemisphere, with world leading cryotherapy researcher Dr Joseph Costello continuing a previous collaboration with Professor Selfe.

Currently based at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at Queensland University of Technology, Australia, Dr Costello's expertise in this field is exceptional.

The SSTO's Dr Steve Atkins, Dr Howard Hurst and Dr Stephanie Dillon also contributed to the study, which required the collection of a vast amount of specialised data.

Despite becoming popular among athletes, coaches and clinicians, research into WBC is minimal regarding its use in rehabilitation, conditioning and recovery. The study aimed to identify the effectiveness of WBC looking at dose and physiological response.

During three days of testing at Warriors' training ground in Orrell, the first-team squad used the UK’s first mobile BOC-supplied cryotherapy chamber.

Project coordinator Jill Alexander was tasked with processing the data and preparing the results for publication: "I had a huge multidisciplinary team of people to organise from all the participants," said Jill.

"The data collection was a huge success in the way the testing protocol was executed among the whole team of researchers, BOC specialist operators and the Wigan Warriors players and coaching staff. We could not have completed the study without everyone's overwhelming commitment."

The results have been published in PloS One Journal and can be viewed here.

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