A new systematic review of studies related to MS and cooling the body was published recently. If you want to read the full report click here. Otherwise, we will gladly give you a quick review.
The researchers were interested in a question that is always on the top of our minds here at ThermApparel. It has been documented over and over again that exercise is great for your general health and has been shown to be helpful to lessen MS symptoms. But how can we expect to do that when, as these researchers put it "thermoregulatory failure and the heat stress due to physical work could exacerbate the disease symptoms."
The researchers set out to compile and judge the effectiveness of a variety of studies on MS and cooling. They started with 34 articles eventually settling on 6 studies which investigated the physical performance of MS patients with regard to cooling. These studies ranged from having 6 to 84 participants, which is not a large sample size.
Fortunately one of the largest and least biased studies utilized a PCM (phase change material) cooling vest. Check out the study here. Their results found that while the vest did not show a difference in oral temperature while compared to the control group, the individuals with the vest showed significant improvements in many functionality test and half of participants said that the effects of the cooling vest lasted for many hours after they took the vests off.
The largest study compiled in this review took a look at both the short term and long term effects of cooling. Check out the study here. Participants were given an active system cooling vest (circulated cold water through tubes). First participants were given a really cold treatment 12.7C and then a low dose 21.1C (Coincidentally, what our unique PCM is set at). Both of these treatments reduced the time of the participants to walk 25 feet. Participants were also instructed to wear their vest for 1 hour every morning for 4 weeks to test the long term effects of cooling the body. The researchers found that there was a small improvement in their time to walk the 25 feet after this month trial period.
Taken together, all 6 studies show that cooling the body can have short term effects while you are cooled down and also that they may produce some activity benefits even when they aren't worn as long as it is done regularly. :)