Many different athletes have adopted the concept of an Ice bath, which involves getting in to water which is 12 to 15 C and for about 10 minutes. Muscle soreness and damage is believed to be avoided by doing so. Muscle damage is actually a good thing for athletes since it promotes the growth of new muscle tissues.
Scientific studies were conducted in order to reveal the truth, however, the studies revealed mixed results. The study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine uncovered that three 1 minute immersion in cold water did not have any effect on the muscle recovery. However, another study published in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research revealed that longer immersion in cold water led to better performance and faster muscle recovery. Here is a list of benefits that can be derived from an Ice Bath.
Benefit of Ice Bath # 1 – Preventing Injuries
Taking an ice bath constricts the blood vessels and slows down metabolic activity, which leads to decreased tissue breakdown and swelling. Another benefit is that once an individual gets out of the cold water, his/her tissues warm up which leads to faster blood flow. This is an advantage since it returns the by-product of cellular breakdown to the lymph system.
Benefit of Ice Bath # 2 – More Effective
An alternative to Ice Bath is the use of Ice packs on body muscles. However, different studies have revealed that ice packs are not as effective as Ice baths. This is because Ice bath cools down a large number of our body muscles all at the same time. Unlike ice packs which only concentrate on a few muscles at a time.
Benefits of Ice Bath # 3 – Pain Reliever
Ice baths can be very effective for relieving pain as well. Pain caused by injuries such as swelling, bruises, sprains and strains can be easily cured with the help of Ice baths. Ice baths can also help in reducing the swelling and stops the swelling from increasing. The healing process is generally faster as compared to ice packs.
Benefit of Ice Bath # 4 – Avoiding Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Another surprising addition to the list of benefits of Ice bath is that it aids in avoiding and reducing the occurrence of anxiety and panic attacks. Different scientific studies have revealed that many anxiety symptoms such as tension and panic attacks can be cure with the help of ice baths. Ice bath is a natural cure for tension and it can also aid in providing better sleep and high quality rest.
Benefits of Ice Bath # 5 – Other Benefits
There are many other benefits that can be derived from an ice bath. Ice baths aid in reducing muscle soreness, inflammation. Ice baths also lessen muscle stiffness, keeps muscles limber and speed up recovery process.
Hence, there is enough evidence to support the claim that ice baths do indeed help in speeding the recovery process and are an excellent natural cure for athletes or anyone suffering from muscle injuries. However, it is important to make sure that the temperature of the water used should not be lower than 5 degree C.