After a particularly grueling match, tennis star Naomi Osaka was seen rushing for her ‘ice bath session’. Another of her contemporaries – Andy Murray, has been found to consistently speak of the benefits of ice bath. Medically termed as – Cold Water Immersion, medical practitioners and sports physicians have been promoting this technique for quite some time. Are you interested to learn more? This content will assist you.
As you scroll down, you will get an idea of the benefits of this immersion technique and why sportsmen have been vouching for the same. However, this article is informative, and we advise you to seek medical advice before you try this technique.
Table of Contents
What are the benefits of ice bath?
If done safely under the specific guidelines, an ice bath works well for inflamed muscles, betters mood, and thereby increases the current energy levels. When this same strategy is followed for a long time – this raises your metabolic levels, improves mental capacity, and teaches you to breathe despite the discomforts (escalates competitive margin).
Let’s explore the basics first –
1. Easing muscle soreness
A study made in 2017 provides precise data on the benefits of ice bath when concerned with easing muscular soreness. The cold water immersion therapy narrows the blood vessels and restricts the inflammation process. Therefore, the muscles that previously throbbed are now in a better situation.
2. Enhances workout recovery process
Another positive of this strategy is – escalating the recovery process after a workout. This constriction of blood vessels causes the removal of toxins – which propels the body to recover earlier than usual processing time. Additionally, it prepares the body for the next workout. Due to this virtue, most tennis stars and other professional athletes vouch for an ice-bath recovery.
#For the unversed – this technique prepares the body for tough scenarios, thereby comparatively reducing the chances of future injuries.
3.Triggers the central nervous system
When you dip in an ice bath – the brain immediately directs the body to come out of the ‘comfort’ zone. The body then alerts the central nervous system to increase oxygen input, which raises energy levels in the body.
While this procedure is on, the body turns the white-fat cells into brown ones, converting energy to heat. The thermogenesis process balances metabolic levels and glucose levels and prevents weight gain.
4. It Betters the immunity response of the body
Multiple studies in 2018-19 have revealed that – medically, an ice bath escalates the body’s immune system. This enables a better body response in case of bacterial or fungal infection. With consistent practice – this strengthens the body’s metabolic system. You are indeed in for a better future.
5. Improves the cooling system of the body
One of the crucial benefits of ice bath is its capacity to cool down the physical system. How does it work? As you are exercising, the body heats up due to physical exertion. This leads to sweating (the body’s natural mode of flushing toxins). Despite the body’s inherent mechanism functioning correctly, if you notice – then you, rather than feeling internal coolness, start feeling humid.
Here, the positive of an ice bath comes to the forefront. A dip in it for 10-12 minutes helps to cool down the body and decrease the level of humidity and heat of the body. Thus, the body’s cooling system gets a kickstart with this ice-bath technique.
6. Ice baths improve both physical and mental health
How an ice bath helps enhance your physical health has been well discussed in this content. How does it better mental health?
Well – when your body is undergoing the cooling process – the parasympathetic response of your body improves. Naturally, it de-stresses your body which creates enhanced mental health in the long term.
Why do athletes vouch for it?
In the section mentioned above, we have briefed you about the benefits of ice bath. But if we want to understand certain facets of it and mainly know why athletes (almost 80% of them and their physicians) vouch for it, then we have to – understand how the ice bath works.
As you already know, athletes have tough training sessions. In those sessions, their muscles burn fuel, and many toxic wastes (primarily lactic acid) are added in the process. Though the body flushes them out within a day or two, an ice bath could reduce it to a couple of hours.
Want to get a detailed idea? Well, what happens is – when the body gets immersed in chilled water, the limbic area of the brain immediately reacts (as programmed) in the – ‘fight or flight mode.’ Therefore, to restore the body’s temperature, the blood vessels are constricted (blood is pulled inside) while fresh oxygenated blood replaces the same. This increases the healing process and speeds up the muscle recovery process.
The American College of Sports Medicine proves that athletes are more prone to ‘environmental stress’ vis a vis others. Hence, they are, to an extent, exposed more to inflammatory cytokine (related to depression). One of the biggest apart from other benefits of ice bath is – to alleviate injury and improve their mood (bettering sleep cycles).
#Upto 24 hours from the end of the training session is the correct time for this therapy.
Are there risks associated with ice baths?
The freezing cold!! Apart from that – hypothermia is another risk that you can associate with an ice bath. Also, one does not recommend cold water immersion therapy if you have an open wound.
Strictly speaking – cold water constricts blood vessels. Therefore, people with issues such as high blood pressure, heart issues, venous stasis, peripheral neuropathy, agglutinin diseases, and malfunctioning kidney are not advised cold water immersion therapy.
Not everyone can be expected to garner the benefits of ice bath, unfortunately.
Can you take an ice bath at home?
Before you jump into the ice pool, please consult your physician to understand your body. Generally, doctors do not prescribe this pain-relief strategy for people with heart or kidney issues. But under certain circumstances, it may be allowed.
So, if allowed, can you plunge into the ice tub at your home? Surely you can! All you will require are – a bathtub, water, ice packs, and a thermometer.
How will you do it? You will have to start by filling up the bucket with cold water (a maximum of 60 degrees Fahrenheit). Once done, you will have to step into the bucket (mind that chill) and continue to add the ice packs. Make sure that the temperature does not fall below 53 degrees Fahrenheit. Soak in it for upto 10 minutes (at a maximum of 15 minutes – as per medical advice).
That’s it! You are all set to enjoy the benefits of ice bath in under an hour!
Icing it up
That was all about the benefits of ice bath. As you have read, this physical therapy is very effective in most cases. But it is not the ultimate therapy for every mental or physical issue. So be careful before applying.
If you have any queries or comments related to this – do let us know via this site. For more details on any such related topics, do check this site.
Monalisa Mukherjee is a content writer and copywriter with close to 3 years of experience. She has written for websites like Biography Talk, Contour Cafe, He And She Fitness and Fiction Pad. She is currently associated with a noted Digital Marketing Agency and specialises in writing articles for travel, entertainment, cooking, celeb, lifestyle, tech, health, fashion and film news.