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Doctor's Consultation  by Dr. Iain Corness


IceLAB - the modern Cryo-Spa

SE Asia has now joined the modern European spas with the opening of the IceLAB at the Bangkok Hospital Pattaya. This Cryo-Spa in Pattaya is the first of its type in SE Asia.

Whole Body Cryotherapy (cold) is a short-term passive physical therapy that has a systemic effect. Typically, therapeutically effective temperatures in the range of minus 110°C are used for this therapy. It works according to the “stimulus - reaction - adaptation” principle.

Whole body cryotherapy applications are used both therapeutically and to optimize performance. The short-term (2 - 3 minutes) cold stimulus working intensively on almost the entire body surface during the minus 110°C whole-body cryotherapy activates a short-term series of reflex activities in the central nervous system with fast-acting pain relief and inhibition of inflammation as well as improved blood circulation and oxygen uptake by the muscles.

In the IceLAB the visitors experience immediate pain relief that lasts several hours. It helps to erase the hypersensitive pain memory formed in patients suffering chronic pain, and the central pain sensors are desensitized. Pain mitigation is appreciable and effective, accompanied by a reduction in the use of analgesic and a significant improvement in the Quality of Life.
This is the basis for the successful utilization of IceLAB, particularly in:

• Acute traumatic and postoperative situations and rehabilitation
• Inflammatory and degenerative rheumatic diseases
• Chronic headache
• Fibromyalgia

Immune-Modulating Effect of Cryotherapy:
There is a reduction in inflammatory and irritated stimuli in hypersensitive immune reactions.

IceLAB may therefore also be used successfully to treat:
• Neurodermatitis
• Bronchial asthma

Improvement of Athletic Performance:
The performance-enhancing effect of cryotherapy has been scientifically demonstrated. Its use in performance sports increases stamina while reducing the heart rate. Mental stimulation in preparation for performance is clearly also important. These effects may be used successfully across the entire spectrum of sports from fitness maintenance to high performance athletics. The applications of whole-body cryotherapy prevent the development of muscle soreness and improve both toleration of muscle soreness and sleep quality by reducing the accumulation of harmful metabolic byproducts.

Faster Recovery and Shortening of the Traumatic and Postoperative Rehabilitation Stages:
Bringing top performers back to peak fitness as quickly as possible after the event is the most important topic in performance sports. Use of the IceLAB creates the conditions needed for more intensive training episodes - an important contribution with no harmful side effects.

In addition to pain relief, acceleration of healing is also important. This makes IceLAB an ideal supplement to conventional physical therapy.

There are even more benefits from the IceLAB Cryo-Spa. The IceLAB climate affects both body and psyche. The increase in physical performance in combination with a general activation and improvement of psychological profile quickly turn a visit to the IceLAB into a favorite ritual.

The visitor experiences exceptional results in the treatment of:
• Burn-out syndrome
• Fatigue and exhaustion
• Circulatory disorders
• Depression
• Sleep disorders

The Cryo-Spa procedure has proved its efficacy over two decades of use in the USA and Europe - and it is now available in Thailand.

For more information telephone 1719, or email [email protected]

“Sugar” - have you got it?

“Sugar Diabetes” is a serious ailment, which can arise for many reasons, and can affect many systems in the human body. Diabetes, often just called “sugar” by some patients, is diagnosed and monitored mainly through a simple blood test - the Blood Glucose level.
Glucose is a type of sugar found in fruits and many other foods (this includes lactose and fructose). It is the main source of energy used by the body. Most of the carbohydrates that people eat are also turned into glucose, which can be used for energy or stored in the liver and kidneys as glycogen.

To stop the sugar levels just increasing daily, a balance is achieved through a hormone called Insulin which helps the body use and control the amount of glucose in the blood. Insulin is produced in areas of the pancreas called ‘islets’ and released into the blood when the level of glucose in the blood rises. In simple terms, people who do not produce enough insulin develop Diabetes. People can also develop diabetes if they do not respond normally to the insulin their bodies produce. This occurs most commonly when a person is overweight, and since obesity is on the rise, so are various types of Diabetes.

Normally, blood glucose levels increase slightly after a person eats a meal. This increase causes the pancreas to release insulin so that blood glucose levels do not get too high. Blood glucose levels that remain high over time can cause damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and blood vessels, which explains why good glucose control is important.

There are many ways to carry out blood glucose tests, including Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS). This is a measurement of blood glucose after fasting for 12 to 14 hours. For an accurate fasting blood sugar test, do not eat or drink for 12 to 14 hours before the blood sample is taken; however, water should be freely taken, as otherwise hemoconcentration occurs to give a falsely high reading. This is often the first test done to detect diabetes, and explains why fasting blood tests are usually done when having a medical check-up.

The other common test is called the Random Blood Sugar (RBS). A random blood sugar measurement may also be called a casual blood glucose test. This is a measurement of blood glucose that is taken regardless of when the person last ate a meal. Sometimes several random measurements are taken throughout a day. Random testing is useful because glucose levels in healthy people do not vary widely throughout the day, so wild swings may indicate a metabolic problem.

Glucose Tolerance Testing can also be done, usually to confirm a condition known as Gestational Diabetes, which can occur during pregnancy. An oral glucose tolerance test is simply a series of blood glucose measurements taken after a person drinks a liquid containing a specific amount of glucose; however, this test is not used to diagnose diabetes.

To monitor the treatment of diabetes, there are another couple of tests which can be carried out. The commonest is Glycated Hemoglobin, otherwise referred to as HbA1c. This test actually is an indicator of the average glucose concentration over the life of the red blood cells (which is taken as over the previous three months).

Another is the Serum C-Peptide which is used to investigate low blood sugar levels, done by measuring the C-Peptide which is produced by the Beta cells in the pancreas.

“Normal” levels may vary from lab to lab, but generally the range taken for FBS is that the level should be less than 110 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

Diagnosis of diabetes needs a fasting blood glucose level higher than 125 mg/dL on two separate days.

A fasting glucose level below 40 mg/dL in women or below 50 mg/dL in men that is accompanied by symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) may indicate an insulinoma, a tumor that produces abnormally high amounts of insulin. Lower than expected glucose levels can also indicate Addison's disease, an underactive thyroid gland or pituitary gland, liver disease (such as cirrhosis), malnutrition, or a problem that prevents the intestines from absorbing the nutrients in food.

The Euro IceLAB Cryo-Spa – Is it for you?

The range of conditions that are improved by a therapy course in the IceLAB Cryo-Spa is nothing short of amazing. The other amazing feature is that there are no drugs to take, as the whole process is physiological, releasing your own natural hormones and chemicals which in turn provide a healing process from within your own self.

One area where much research has been done is in the field of Rheumatology, and that term covers inflammatory joint problems, osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, tendon problems, fibromyalgia, polyarthritis, spinal pains and muscular spasms.

Drs. Wichmann and Fricke in Europe published their scientific paper on “Whole Body Cryotherapy at minus 110 degrees C in patients with ankylosing spondylitis.” Their summation was, “Based on our investigation results, whole-body cryotherapy has a particular therapeutic value within the context of the combined treatments required for ankylosing spondylitis.”

Drs. Kargus, Blum, Tauber and Teuber investigated, “The effects of whole body cryotherapy in inflammatory and non-inflammatory rheumatic diseases.” The diseases suffered by the patient group with rheumatic arthritis and fibromyalgia satisfied the diagnostic criteria of the American College of Rheumatology. They reported, “an improvement in the pain scale of 24 percent.” With rheumatoid arthritis they stated, “whole body cryotherapy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis has shown that this form of therapy represents an effective means of treatment, especially in acute stage symptoms or when the disease is still at its onset.”

Of course, whole body cryotherapy in the IceLAB is also beneficial for those without rheumatic diseases, but who are sportsmen and women who are exposed to high muscular loads through concentric and eccentric power exercises. The European sports Center has been using an IceLAB since 2004 to prevent muscle soreness as it stops the accumulation of harmful metabolic byproducts in the athletes.

The new IceLAB Cryo-Spa at the Bangkok Hospital Pattaya is the first one in Asia, but is backed by the 20 years of research in Europe. To see if the IceLAB is for you, call in and see the friendly staff who can advise you further, or visit the hospital website or ring 1719.

Cancer is from what you eat - or is it?

We cannot live without food and water. However, it may interest you to know that you can do without food for 14 days, but you can only do without water for seven. So it looks as if water is twice as important as food. And while on interesting facts, a cockroach can live for seven days without a head. But I am not suggesting that we behead the nasty little creatures to verify this.

What we eat has fascinated us for centuries. We have made rituals and even fetishes out of eating and drinking, and the oldest gourmet group in the world, the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, is still going and began in 1248 AD. That’s a long lunch!

These days, with our tentative forays into ‘real’ science, our dietary habits have also been scrutinized plus the many claims made for modifying the kind of food we eat and what we drink. This in turn, has produced legions of people who swear by various foods which will cure everything from falling hair to falling arches (or even falling stock markets)!

Of course, it is very difficult to ‘prove’ that by taking desiccated kangaroo droppings or similar items, that ‘something’ (usually cancer) will not happen. Even more outrageous are the claims that some herb, poppy or whatnot can actually ‘cure’ cancers. Is it all just poppycock?

The usual ‘proof’ is that someone’s great aunt lived to be 103 by eating two gladioli every day. However, to be able to prove these claims needs medical science to look at a large group, or population, and compare the cancer experience with another similar large group or population. Ideally, the two groups are matched for age/sex/ethnicity/working environment, location, etc. You get no worthwhile results comparing Welsh coalminers with urban Africans, for example, to go to extremes.

Finally, some results of a 15+ year study in Australia have been presented at the CSIRO Prospects for Cancer Prevention Symposium. The findings emerged from the Cancer Council’s Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study, an ongoing research project involving 42,000 Australians who have been monitored since 1990.

Looking at the dietary habits and the cancer connection, Dr Peter Clifton, director of the CSIRO’'s Nutrition Clinic, said there was “zero evidence” that eating fruit and vegetables could protect against cancer. The nutritionists and the healthy eating proponents were shattered. However, this to me is a much more compelling argument than something that comes from folklore, or the lady next door who is now eating three gladioli and swears by it.

What the survey did show was that the three prime risk factors as far as predicting cancers were concerned were identified as obesity, drinking too much alcohol and smoking.

More than that, staying within a healthy body weight range was found to be more important than following particular nutritional guidelines. This means a thin person who does not eat enough fruit and vegetables would have a lower risk of developing cancer than someone who is overweight but eats the recommended daily amount of fruit and five colors of vegetables (and a couple of gladioli for good luck).

Professor Dallas English, of the Cancer Council of Victoria, told the symposium that despite decades of research, there was no convincing evidence on how modifying one’s diet would reduce the risk of cancer.

“The most important thing about diet is limiting energy (kilojoule) intake so people don’t become overweight or obese, because this has emerged as a risk factor for a number of cancers, including breast, prostate, bowel and endometrial (uterus),” he said.

The link between eating red meat and bowel cancer was “weak” and the Cancer Council supported guidelines advising people to eat red meat three or four times a week, Professor English said.

With obesity on the up and up, perhaps it is time you looked at your diet too. So there you are - get down to a healthy weight and exercise regularly, drink alcohol in moderation only (Australians do not know what “moderation” means) and stop smoking. In this way you will lower your chances of heart disease and cancer.

Goodness me, you might even outlive me! (But having heard you can’t take it with you, I’ve decided I’m not going!)