Don't Use EWOT Contrast Training for Chronic Illness
We recently were asked by a customer why we don’t offer “contrast systems”. Contrast systems offer the ability to switch from breathing high oxygen content (hyperoxic air) to low oxygen content (hypoxic air).
The Science of Oxygen Contrast Training During EWOT
The reason for using low oxygen is that it sends tissues into oxygen starvation (hypoxia). When the tissues become hypoxic, they try to compensate by bringing more blood to the area to reoxygenate the tissues. One mechanism the body uses is called vasodilation – this is simply a fancy word that means it relaxes or dilates the blood vessels so they can carry more oxygen-rich blood.
In contrast training, the low-oxygen session is used to stimulate vasodilation. You then switch back to high-oxygen and this should allow more oxygen to flow to that same tissue.
Why Oxygen Contrast is Not Good for People with Health Challenges
EWOT is a great health-promoting practice. Many people use EWOT to promote their health or recover from chronic illnesses or injuries. EWOT is also great for competitive athletes and there are many Olympic and Professional athletes use EWOT to give them a competitive edge. And it works!
If you are using EWOT to improve your athletic performance, oxygen deprivation can be a good tool to help you gain that last tiny bit of competitive edge – which may be all the difference between winning in a competition, setting a new personal record, etc. And there are some great ways you can accomplish this without a contrast system (stay tunes, we will talk about that in a minute).
If you are using EWOT to promote your health and healing, we don’t recommend contrast training. As mentioned above, contrast training involves putting your body into a state of hypoxia (oxygen starvation). Most people with chronic illnesses already have areas of hypoxia in their body. Hypoxia creates inflammation, and inflammation creates hypoxia; you cannot have one without the other. If you are healing from health challenges like cancer, Lyme disease or traumatic brain injuries, inflammation is one of the key problems. It causes the brain fog and low energy, it causes the joint and nerve pains, it causes many of the symptoms we relate with the condition. In fact, one of the major reasons EWOT is good for chronic illnesses is because it helps alleviate the hypoxia associated with the inflammation. It helps calm the inflammation.
In Chronic illnesses and injury, hypoxia is an enemy we face down. We do not want to create hypoxia in our body – as that would create more inflammation. EWOT, alone, helps vasodilate your blood vessels and it oxygenates your blood plasma (part of the blood that often does not carry much oxygen) so that your body gets much more oxygen than it normally is capable of getting. In fact, it can get more oxygen than in a 90-minute hyperbaric session- plus all the synergistic benefits of exercise to get our blood and lymph moving.
How You Can Try Contrast Training with an EWOT System
You do not need to buy a contrast system to try EWOT contrast training. Contrast systems are not only very expensive ($5k- $20k or more in many cases), they are also a clunky experience. You need to flip a switch between low oxygen and high oxygen while you are exercising – and that is not as easy as it may sound. Afterall, you are often bouncing on an elliptical or treadmill or you are using your hands to help you balance on a bike and they are not free to stabilize the switch with one hand and flip it with another.
A much simpler way to experience contrast training can be done by simply holding your breath for 5-10 seconds during your EWOT workout. Every one to two minutes you can hold your breath for 5-10 seconds and it will create the same vasodilation affect that the low-oxygen environment creates. And, since it is 0% oxygen when you hold your breath – it only takes 5-10 seconds for your body to react and dilate your blood vessels. The best part is that not only can you save money on not buying the expensive contrast system, but the “switch” is removed – you simply hold your breath – nothing to fiddle with while you are bouncing along on your treadmill or bike.
For people with chronic illness, we don’t recommend this as a practice, due to the inflammatory side effects. But, for athletes who want to improve their performance, this can offer you that slight edge.