Ice Baths For Fast Recovery
An ice bath is exactly as it sounds. It is a container, like a bathtub, that is filled with water or with cold water and then topped off with ice. There are many benefits of ice baths including:
- Injury Prevention
- Speeds recovery
- Repairs muscles
- Reduced inflammation
- Less muscle soreness (DOMS)
- Induces sleep
How Does This Work?
The cold water in ice baths constrict the blood vessels and decreases the metabolic activity of your body. This reduces swelling and the breakdown of tissue. When the skin is no longer in contact with the cold water (you get out of the bath), the underlying tissue warms up and causes a return of faster blood flow. Faster blood flow helps return the byproducts of cellular breakdown to the lymph system for efficient recycling by the body.
How Much Ice?
The amount of ice in the water will depend on the size of the container being used. Around 8kg – 11kg (3-4 big bags) of ice should be enough for a regular sized bathtub. You might need a bit more if you’re an eight foot tall monster like Zdeno Chara. Remember, you are not trying to fill the bathtub with ice, you are adding just enough ice to cool the water.
The optimal water temperature of an ice bath is around 12 degrees Celsius after the ice has had some time to settle in the water.
How Long Should I Stay In?
Immersion time should last between 10-20 minutes. It is going to be very uncomfortable at first but many people say that they feel fine once they get passed the two minute mark.
Start by lowering your legs first until you are kneeling in the water. Next, lower your entire lower body into the water and wait until it becomes accustomed to the temperature (it should take about five minutes). After about five minutes, submerge the remainder of your body in the ice bath so that the water is at chest height. Stay in the ice bath for another five to ten minutes.