Ice bath have many benefits. They can help speed recovery after a tough workout and help prevent injuries, esp for endurance athletes. They can also be beneficial for individuals suffering from chronic or acute injuries like carpel tunnel, tennis elbow, or plantar fascitis. Simply fill a bucket or pot with ice water and submerge affected area (i.e. hand/ forearm, or foot/ankle).
Although you could use individual ice packs, ice baths generally produces a greater and longer lasting change and can cool large groups of muscles at the same time.
How They Work
Ice baths constrict blood vessels reducing swelling and tissue breakdown. Once you leave the ice bath the underlying tissues warm up quickly. This causes a return of faster blood flow. The speedy blood flow helps return the byproducts of cellular breakdown for a faster emptying of waste. Ice baths don't only suppress inflammation, but help to flush harmful metabolic debris out of your muscles.
Tips for Making an Ice Bath More Comfortable
- You don't need to be sitting in the arctic to get the full benefits of an ice bath. The water temperature only needs to be just under 60 degrees. Cool water and a few ice cubes should do the trick. No need to dump an entire bag of ice from the corner store in the tub!
- Fingers and toes cause the most discomfort. I like to wear wool socks or inexpensive gloves. You can also wear warm clothing on areas outside the bath such as a sweatshirt or beanie.
- DO NOT MOVE! Once you are submerged in the water try not to move.
- Drink hot tea or other warm liquids while taking an ice bath.
- Have something handy to distract yourself such a book or magazine.
Remember, it's only 15 minutes!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!