As new technologies are developed to make cryotherapy more effective, the efficacy of ice water baths and ice packs is sometimes called into question.
Is Ice Water Therapy Effective for Workout Recovery?The short answer is yes, ice water therapy is effective, but only to a point. There are two major drawbacks to using only ice water for workout recovery:
- Temperature control - When an ice pack is placed on a particular area, heat is drawn away from the body, producing the desired cooling effect. However, as heat is transferred from the body to the ice pack, the temperature of the ice pack is reduced, causing the therapy to become less effective over time. The same is true in an ice bath.
Another problem related to temperature control is the possibility that the ice bath will be too cold, potentially damaging healthy tissue and skin.
- Pressure control - Cryotherapy works best in combination with rest and compression. Rest is up to the athlete, but effective compression requires a level of pressure that ice water therapy alone does not provide.
Cold Compression Therapy: A Better SolutionNew technologies have been developed to help overcome the two primary challenges of ice water therapy. The combination of cold therapy with active compression does more than just reduce pain and swelling. It can also speed up workout recovery and stimulate tissue repair. A system that regulates cold temperatures to provide a consistent cooling effect can both improve the therapeutic effect and prevent tissue damage. Active compression does more than just reduce swelling , it also increases blood flow and promotes healing.
Game Ready has developed its own patented system to provide simultaneous cold therapy and active compression for workout recovery, surgery recovery, and below-the-knee amputees. Each wrap features ACCEL (active compression and cold exchange loop) technology to provide consistent cooling along with a natural pumping effect that helps reduce swelling and brings nutrient-rich blood to muscles and other tissues.
For athletes who take workout recovery seriously, ice water therapy simply is not enough. The combination of active cold and compression helps speed up recovery, allowing you to improve performance more quickly without the risk of tissue damage. Talk to your trainer or physician about getting a Game Ready system as part of your workout recovery strategy, or contact us directly to learn more.
What do you currently do for workout recovery? Is it enough?