Cold Water Therapy

25 January 2023

Is all the fuss submerging yourself in freezing waters worth it?

One of the main ideas behind cold water therapy is to reduce muscle soreness after strenuous activity. The cold water helps to reduce inflammation.

We have two ice baths set up for our players at Andover Town Football Club after home games. After a cool down and stretch, players can jump straight into their ice baths after a match to reduce the effects of muscle soreness.

At first, we assumed we would get a negative reaction to it but to our surprise the lads were into it straight away and seems really keen to take a dunk. If there is a mid-game injury that pulls them off the pitch they can also get straight into the ice bath.

Just a few minutes in an ice bath is proving to reduce muscle and joint pain, help speed up muscle recovery and prevent future injuries. We use fold-up inflatable tubs bought online which are working really well and consequently this can have a positive effect on sports performance levels.

Ice baths

Our ice baths at the football club

Growing in popularity is the Win Hof Method. His book, of the same name, demonstrates how cold water therapy can be undertaken at home in the shower. He suggests pausing for a minute or so after a regular warm shower to endure a burst of cold water on the body in order to awaken, restore and calm the body all at once. This book has become a bestseller although I do wonder how many readers have followed his advice on this. Only the brave I assume.

Blood flow to the brain is thought to be reduced by 30% when taking a chilly dip and your bretahing slows down, ultimately helping you feel calmer and reduce stress, anxiety and depression.

There are a number of other health benefits associated with cold water therapy, based on research and studies.

Cold water therapy:

  • Can improve the production of hormones and also help to regulate them. This can increase your libido and fertility.
  • Increases the production of red and white blood cells
  • Helps your immune system
  • Improves your cardiovascular system

It's an age-old treatment to put ice on an injury. It reduces swelling and inflammation.

However, there is also the secondary benefit of reducing pain. Your body has pain receptors which alert you when something hurts but you have far more temperature receptors. So, if you are injured and you experience pain the chances are that by using an ice bath, ice pack, or good old frozen peas, then your brain will almost immediately switch from thinking about pain to suddenly becoming aware of an intense change of temperature. You will then be more concerned with the temperature instead of the pain, even if it is in the short term.

We think ice baths are a brilliant tool if you are undertaking strenuous activity regularly. But don't rush out and buy anything fancy, use your bathtub or just jump in a cold shower if you dare and you should reap the benefits that this very natural healing therapy can do for you.

Author: Cross Massage Therapy