17/06/2019

Cryotherapy Vs. Ice Bath

Many professional or amateur athletes and fitness enthusiasts are fully aware of the benefits associated with cold therapy after a strenuous work-out.

But the big question remains unanswered!

Between Cryotherapy vs ice bath, which is the most effective approach in promoting performance by speeding up recovery process through muscle repair? Or reduces soreness, muscle pain or inflammation?

Well, I might have an answer for you, but let’s keenly analyze the two methods together and be in a better position to make a sound decision on which one to settle for.

Cryotherapy and ice bath are both forms of cold therapy where extremely cold temperatures are used. These two techniques may appear similar, though in real sense they are actually very different.

Cryotherapy entails use of extremely cold temperatures on part or the whole body in various ways from use of cold chambers to ice bath or ice pack application.

On the other hand, ice bath also referred to as cold water immersions involves immersion of the whole body or some part in a bathtub containing icy water.

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WHOLE BODY CRYOTHERAPY VS ICE BATH

Whole body cryotherapy as the name suggests is designed to benefit the whole body. Your body is placed in controlled whole body cryotherapy chambers with extremely cooled dry air ranging from -200 to -240 degrees Fahrenheit for about 2-3 minutes.

One is required to be in a pair of socks, gloves, underwear, head-band to cover the face and the ears and a surgical mask to prevent direct inhalation of humid air. Whole body cryotherapy for athletes specifically, has been termed as the best form of cold therapy for muscle recovery, reduction of soreness and muscle pain by increasing the rate at which the muscle are repaired thus promoting naturally healing body mechanisms.

In ice bath, icy water is used with temperatures ranging from 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15-20 minutes. Ice bath are cheap and readily available as the only requirement needed is a bathtub and some bags of ice. Ice bath has been known to reduce soreness and inflammation but not enhancing body’s natural healing mechanisms.

Time taken in each approach

Treatment temperatures applied

Resumption of work-out activities

Pre or post- workout exercise?

Safety involved

Risks involved

Benefits associated with each approach: Cryotherapy and Ice Bath

Let’s talk about the benefits associated with whole body cryotherapy first,

In whole body cryotherapy other benefits are incurred in the process which is an added advantage. During the exercise the brain triggers various organ’s regulatory function resulting in rejuvenation of cells, boost of body’s immunity system, increased amount of energy, adrenaline and endorphins that in turn improves self-healing mechanisms of the whole system.

Skin, nails and hair’s health is improved due to increased amount of collagen production.

Ice bath has only been found to reduce soreness, muscle pain and inflammation.

There you have it, all the facts you need to know about whole body cryotherapy vs ice bath.

References:

Broatch JR, Petersen A, Bishop DJ. Postexercise cold water immersion benefits are not greater than the placebo effect. Medicine and science in sports and exercise. 2014;46(11):2139–47. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000348 pmid:24674975.

Hohenauer, E., Taeymans, J., Baeyens, J., Clarys, P., & Clijsen, R. (2015). The Effect of Post-Exercise Cryotherapy on Recovery Characteristics: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLOS ONE PLoS ONE, 10(9). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0139028

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