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Ice bath therapy

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Anyone do this?

I know athletes do this post training and I always wanted to try it. But I never had access to a tub and going through that much ice seems like a pain in the ass. However, the lady who owns my apartment doesn't heat the pool. So what I started doing lately after lifting sessions and on recovery days, is standing in the ice cold pool for 10-15 minutes at night and the taking a hot shower after. In a sense, it is like an extended contrast shower. Ever since I started doing this, my recovery between workouts has been so much better. Last night my shoulder was killing me after squats and today after the ice bath, hot shower, and stretching, it barely hurts. I think my main problem before was that I got lazy when it came to preventative care like stretching, foam rolling, ice therapy, etc.. Now that I am more diligent, things aren't having the time to build up and get out of control.

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That sounds like torture to me!!  I love hot epsom salt bath soaks, but ice therapy no thanks.  

Yep, no fun. The theory is that the ice prevents inflammation and speeds the healing process.

I found that I noticed results by doing a contrast bath (ice then heat, then ice, then heat, ect) when I was bordering on an injury either post workout or the next day.

I use the foam roller now and don't get injured much, so don't bother with ice baths.

I used to have access to ice baths back when I played football, and it always made me feel absolutely incredible, and really helped me recover from practice, felt like it made a world of difference.

I've run two marathons, and one half this year. After my first one I did an ice bath, and I was slightly sore, but walked all around an amusement park the next day. The second marathon I didn't get to do a bath because of the time it took to get back, and the accommodations we were staying in. I was stiff for a few days after that one with stiff muscles. I just completed the half-marathon a week ago, and was chilly and cold and didn't feel like getting into a cold tub, so I turned on the hot water. I was sore all week! That was enough of an experiment for me, I'll be ice bathing after all my long runs from now on.

I use the cold pool quite frequently.  For me, it makes a big difference on recovery.

There is the old idea that cold water therapy increases your pain tolerance, thus allowing a person to run faster longer before succombing to the pain.

Yeah the cold pool has definitely helped me. I call it an ice bath though because the water is beyond freezing. Definitely easier than putting an ice bath together or icing down one part of my body.

Yes, I occasionally do contrast baths.  I run marathons and after one or even after a long run, say 20 miles of hills, I will take one.  They really help with soreness.

The key to an ice bath is to fill the tub, enter the water, then add the ice.  If you add the ice prior to entering the water it is really difficult to adjust to the cold water.

 A hot shower afterwards is great.

I read an article recently that suggested ice baths actually inhibit the ability of the body to make repairs, although a lot and I mean A LOT of my endurance friends do it.  I'll see if I can track it down.

Original Post by wesmckean:

I read an article recently that suggested ice baths actually inhibit the ability of the body to make repairs, although a lot and I mean A LOT of my endurance friends do it.  I'll see if I can track it down.

If they work for you why would you care what some article says either to support of oppose them?

I'm not one for ice baths, but after a triathlon, I grab my water bottle, walk over to the keg and fill it up, then kick off my shoes and wade back into the water for a good ten minutes, "rehydrating".

I have read an article about inhibiting the body to make repairs. This is also true of NSAIDs.  I think the goal of an ice bath is to get the inflammation in the joints and connective tissue down.  Muscles repair much faster than connective tissue, so inhibiting muscle recovery at the benefit of faster joint recovery is ok in my book.   Not to mention, after a particularly hot or long race, it "feels" so much better.

After my half ironman in June, there were 20+ people standing in the lake (52F) after completing the race.

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