Ice Baths and Cold Water Therapy
We get this question a lot. Do ice baths help with performance?
The aims of cold water therapy (CWT) for recovery is to help reduce inflammation and improve return to sport by changing the way blood and other fluids travel around your body.
Immersing yourself in cold water helps make your blood vessels constrict, when you get out (or hop into a warm shower) they dilate. This process helps to flush away metabolic waste products, and increase oxygen to the muscles post workout to assist recovery, also known as blood shafting.
So the answer...the jury's still out!!
This still has limited research into its effectiveness for enhanced performance. CWT is likely to assist in recovery more than hot water therapy, however it is unclear which technique is more effective. Literature in this area is increasing, but further research is needed to get a complete understanding on effects of performance.
Anecdotally, research says that groups feel less muscle soreness with CWT, however dosage and timing is important to consider the therapeutic effects.
**INTERESTINGLY** More research is coming through about the MENTAL HEALTH benefits of CWT, with stress and anxiety. It helps you practice breath work, challenges you and teaches discipline. Again more research is needed in this area, but fascinating information coming through!