Many people use ice baths and cold water therapy interchangeably. It’s very common for people to think that taking ice baths is a part of cold water therapy, and in some cases that may be true! However, there are differences regarding the temperature and its therapeutical effects.
Taking an ice bath involves putting your body in a bath filled with ice-cold water for a short while, usually between a 5-minute to 20-minute time period. Studies claim that the cold temperature of the ice bath constricts the body’s blood vessels and lessens inflammation. This can help to recover after some vigorous exercise a lot quicker than normal. This is a popular method of recovery after these types of workouts or competitions thanks to the ice bath benefits of reducing any soreness or swelling.
Cold water therapy is a type of treatment that involves immersing or exposing your body to cold water for a short amount of time. Cold water therapy also is believed to have similar health benefits as ice baths, reduced inflammation, and muscle soreness, and improved circulation. It also helps boost immunity and mental clarity. This is another good method for recovering after an intense workout.
What Exactly is the Difference?
The main difference between the two freezing methods of recovery is the temperature of the water. This difference may not seem very relevant, but in reality, it very much is.
With ice baths, the water should be between 10 degrees Celsius to 15 degrees Celsius. After that, the ice should be added to lower the temperature even more. Athletes and other people who regularly do rigorous training or exercise are the ones who typically use ice baths for the reasons previously stated.
Cold water therapy, however, involves plunging your body in water that is 15 degrees Celcius to 21 degrees Celcius, this is cold though not as much as the ice bath. Cold water therapy is used to treat many different circumstances, the same ones as the ice bath but it also reduces stress and improves your overall mood.
So which is More Effective?
In the end, which one is more effective for recovery? Both ice baths and cold water therapy require you to expose yourself to cold water. Ice baths are normally used for reducing inflammation and soreness and cold water therapy is mainly used for its wellness benefits.
The choice between the two methods is up to you and what you want to achieve with it. The effectiveness lies in your own personal preferences and individual needs.