Stepping into an ice bath after a tough workout isn't something new. While more research is still needed to determine whether this cold-water immersion helps reduce muscle pain, it does appear to have a positive effect for many.
The main goal is to get into ice-cold water (under 15°C) and stay submerged for 10-15 minutes. This process could bring about several potential benefits such as a drop in core body temperature, a decrease in inflammation, reduced muscle soreness, improved state of mind and mental health, and lower blood pressure.
Despite the possible advantages, there are some reports that say otherwise.
For example, a research published in The Journal of Physiology studied the effects of cold-water immersion on muscle soreness by having nine young men go through resistance exercises for their legs after which they either had cold water immersion or active recovery. At the end of the study, there was no difference between the two in terms of overall recovery! However, this was just a small study so more precise experiments will have to be done first – it still looks like an exciting way to see if ice baths make a difference!
Many people think that taking an ice bath is better than a period of active recovery in reducing post-workout muscle soreness; however, more research is needed to figure out if this is really effective, just a fad, or a placebo effect.
Please keep in mind that cold water immersion isn't for everyone, Hypothermia is one potential issue, so it's advised to use these resources with help from professionals. Regardless of how you feel after an ice bath, remember to also include other recovery techniques in your workout routine!