Altitude is defined as being five thousand feet above sea level, and anything above that. Our bodies are not made to immediately adapt to a change in altitude. In fact, in a high-altitude environment we breath in a lot less oxygen than we are at sea level.
This happens because the air is much more spread out at higher altitudes.
Our bodies do their best to accommodate for the differences, but without training, this can become difficult. An example of this is when people train to climb mountains such as Mt. Everest. They do not just decide to leave their sedentary lifestyle one day, buy warm clothing and then start the hike.
Instead, they spend months, even years, training their bodies to adapt quickly in different altitudes. They do this to help their bodies receive the most amount of oxygen at each altitude to supply the entire body with what it needs to stay healthy.
There is an exciting treatment available today to help in this training. It’s called CVAC (Cyclic Variation in Altitude Conditioning).
The reasons for using this type of conditioning are enormous.
BENEFITS OF ALTITUDE CONDITIONING
Your body can greatly benefit from training it to adjust at different altitudes. One is that higher levels of oxygen can enter the body. Your red blood cells are increased. The red blood cells help carry the oxygen to the important parts of your body like your muscles, heart, lungs and kidneys.
The conversion of oxygen to energy is important in terms of your body functioning at higher altitudes. You can have more of everything: more blood, more capillaries, more mitochondria. All of these help your body adapt and function at its best when in high altitudes.
Those who have used CVAC has reported increased stamina and claim to feel more alert or awake after treatment. Others say this technique helps them sleep better because their performance is enhanced, allowing them to get the full effects of a great workout.
Furthermore, CVAC can possibly help you recover from exertion faster, reduce inflammation and therefore, reduce pain. The benefits far outweigh what happens without CVAC.
If you don’t condition your body to acclimate in different altitudes, you could experience negative consequences.
NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES OF NOT CONDITIONING FOR ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENTS
When you go too high too fast, your body will not adjust properly. In fact, you may encounter serious negative consequences. Altitude illness occurs because your body does not adapt to having less oxygen available than it did at sea-level.
You may experience fluid build up on the lungs or brain. Mountain sickness symptoms can range from nausea, headaches, and loss of appetite to more severe symptoms of shortness of breath and an inability to balance.
You may even experience a high-altitude pulmonary edema in which fluid builds up on the lungs and prevents oxygen from being distributed. This is a very serious disorder and can lead to death if not treated properly.
Similarly, a high-altitude cerebral edema results from swollen brain tissue and leakage of fluids. Symptoms can include lack of orientation, psychosis and a decrease in consciousness.
You want to do whatever you can to avoid any of these negative consequences. Altitude conditioning is a great form of prevention.
WHAT IS CYCLIC VARIATIONS IN ALTITUDE CONDITIONING?
The simple definition is that CVAC is a technique that helps your body learn to adjust to different altitudes or air pressures. It does so in a controlled environment, a pod-like device, where you are monitored by a trained medical professional.
This technique is being used by athletes in every sport, many reporting an improvement in performance. It is not limited to athletes, however. People in many different professions are finding it beneficial.
What Does CVAC Do?
The machine has air pressure settings that simulates varying altitudes. You are subjected to many different air pressures, so your body can be trained to adapt more rapidly.
You will experience changes in oxygen concentrations and temperatures with the idea of producing more red blood cells and better capabilities of sending oxygen to vital organs more effectively.
The altitude cycles depend on your personal needs and treatment plan you create with your doctor. However, many times patients will cycle through multiple air pressures, starting at just above sea level, to up to 20,000 feet above sea level, sometimes higher. These cycles usually take place within a 20-minute period.
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM CVAC SESSIONS?
You do not have to be an Olympic gold medalist or a talk show host or executive to explore the benefits of cyclic variation in altitude conditioning. Any person, whether physically fit or not, can reap the rewards of this technique.
If your body is out of balance, in any form, CVAC can help by supporting metabolism and promoting the right amount of energy to cells. Or, if your body is in top shape, CVAC can help you maintain or strengthen your physical potential.
FINAL TIPS ON CVAC
Before you go and sign up for a CVAC session, there are tips you can take to prepare for your treatment. Knowing how to clear your ears is one of these tips. Take time to learn various methods of popping or clearing your ears will help you avoid unnecessary pain.
You may remember flying or driving up a mountain, your ears feel pressure at different heights. This will be the same while in a CVAC pod. Your doctor will give you many examples of how to clear your ears prior to session.
Finding the right medical professional is another tip. Check for certifications, educational backgrounds, references and success rates among patients. Ask questions and ensure your treatment provider has a great deal of knowledge about the service.
They should also provide treatment in the highest quality equipment. If you notice broken or damaged equipment, you do not want to receive therapy there.
Do your research to find the best provider so you can be rewarded with the better health you deserve.