By Dr Kristin Webb (Chiropractor)
You may be wondering why you’re suddenly seeing so much hype around ice baths. They seem to be the latest health trend and the new promise to cure all ailments.
I’ve summed up some info as what the premise behind ice baths are and if they may help you!
Ice baths fall under the category of “cold immersion therapy”. Also in the family would be cryotherapy chambers and cold showers. So no, you don’t need a $5000 bath to try cold immersion.
A new study found 1 minute of cold water immersion to the neck (for 2 minutes at 3 degrees Celsius) & 5 cold showers (for 30 seconds at 10 degrees Celsius) led to a significant reduction in abdominal fat & waist circumference plus long lasting psychological improvements related to stress, mood & hormone output.
Cold immersion for 1-3 minutes of uncomfortable, yet safe temperature (will vary per person) resulted in increased adrenaline, dopamine & improved mood, alertness & focus (Stanford Medicine).
Benefits to muscle recovery & injury management:
Cryotherapy, haas been used for many years to aid in the recovery of athletes and individuals who engage in intense physical activity. The benefits of cryotherapy include:
- Reducing inflammation
- Decreasing muscle soreness
- Improving recovery time.
When you engage in physical activity or have a musculoskeletal injury such as acute low back pain, your muscles and tissues can become inflamed, which can lead to pain and discomfort. Cold water immersion helps to constrict the blood vessels and reduce blood flow to the affected area. This reduces the amount of swelling and inflammation, which in turn helps to alleviate pain and soreness.
Decrease muscle soreness:
When you exercise, you can experience microtears in your muscle fibers, which can lead to soreness and discomfort (also known as DOMS – delay onset muscle soreness). Cold water immersion helps to reduce the amount of blood flow to the affected area, which helps to decrease the amount of pain and soreness you experience. This can help you recover more quickly and get back to your regular activities.
Improve recovery time:
When you engage in intense physical activity or experience an injury your body needs time to recover in order to repair and rebuild muscle tissue. Cryotherapy can help to speed up this process by reducing inflammation and improving blood flow.
While cryotherapy can be an effective tool for aiding in recovery, it is important to note that it is not a substitute for proper rest and recovery after intense physical activity.