No One Wants to be Left Out in the Cold? Or Do They?


Proactive Health

A few days ago, I was mindlessly scrolling Facebook and the photo below caught my attention. I stopped scrolling when I saw this group of babies outdoors.

Winter Proofing New Russians Babies, Moscow, 1958. They believe that the cold, fresh air boosts their immune system and allows them to sleep longer. History in Pictures
As you can see, the babies are bundeled up for warmth but what you are essentially seeing in this photo is a method of cold therapy. In the U.S., the thought of allowing an infant to sleep in the cold may seem cruel and, well, cold-hearted, but this practice is actually not that uncommon in other parts of the world. 
A BBC article from 2013 discusses how it is quite common for babies to nap in sub-zero temperatures in Sweden. It's nothing out of the ordinary to see strollers containing bundled up babies parked outside of coffee shops while their parents have their daily brew inside. 
"The theory behind outdoor napping is that children exposed to fresh air, whether in summer or the depths of winter, are less likely to catch coughs and colds - and that spending a whole day in one room with 30 other children does them no good at all," according to the article.
Many Nordic parents also say that allowing babies to nap in the cold also helps them sleep for longer periods of time. This study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) analyzed Finnish babies who napped outdoors, and the results revealed that the babies took longer naps outdoors compared to indoors. 
I am not suprised by these results, and I can also understand the thinking behind this practice potentially improving a baby's immune system. These babies are basically being exposed to a very light, modified version of cryotherapy.
The theory behind cryotherapy is that freezing temperature experienced by your body sends signals to the brain which in turn triggers an emergency or survival mode. This causes the body to constrict the blood flow in the outer layers and send the blood supply to the innermost vital organs. While in this “emergency survival mode,”  all the body’s resources are activated. The body’s ability to self heal is enhanced because your blood is being enriched with additional oxygen, hormones, enzymes and nutrients - all of which are needed to survive under the extreme emergency created by the cryotherapy. Once you leave the cold environment, the newly enriched and less-toxic blood is flushed back into the rest of the body.
As someone who does a lot of cryotherapy, perhaps less pain and better sleep are some of the great benefits.
The babies discussed are obviously not experiencing this exact treatment. Undergoing proper whole body cryotherapy (WBC) requires the participant to wear little clothing with the exception of covering their hands and feet. It is possible, however, that the babies are reaping some benefits of being exposed to the cold. 
Protein aggregation.
Being in the cold may not always feel good, however, along with potentially helping babies nap better and have better working immune systems, exposure to cold temperatures may promote healthy aging. This all has to do with something called protein aggregation.
"Protein aggregation is the abnormal association of misfolded proteins into larger, often insoluble structures," according to an article from Scientific Reports.
"Aggregation can be classified into two general categories: amyloid and amorphous. The amyloid state is a highly structured, insoluble, fibrillar deposit, usually consisting of many repeats of the same protein. This type of aggregation is central in the pathology of many neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease."
So, a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Cologne's CECAD Cluster of Excellence in Aging Research found evidence which suggested that being exposed to cold temperatures broke apart protein clumps, "avoiding the harmful protein aggregation seen in ALS and Huntington's disease," according to this report that discusses the study.
For the study the research team used roundworms and cultivated human cells. 
"The organisms used in the study contained two neurodegenerative diseases linked with aging, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Huntington's disease," according to the report. 
"This isn't new information, however; It has long been understood that a slight decrease in body temperature can have many benefits. For instance, creatures with cold blood, such as worms and fish whose body temperatures change according to their surroundings, live longer when their temperatures are lower."
These results are not suprising to me. Cold therapy is known to combat inflammation, which is believed to be the root cause of all chronic diseases including cancer, dementia and more.
Healthy and happy longevity.
I hope that we all live to 100 and beyond. But what good is living a long life if it is not a quality life? This is why I am always emphasizing ways to contribute to healthy and happy longevity through a balanced, nutrient-rich diet, undergoing routine nutrient tests, moderating or avoiding alcohol, avoiding smoking, moving regularly, getting good quality sleep, managing stress and implementing therapies such as cryotherapy.
Enjoy your healthy life!

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or another competent healthcare practitioner to get specific medical advice for your situation.          

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses, and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products, and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.


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