Ice Baths: Recovery Aid or Inhibitor?

Elite athletes swear by ice baths as a recovery aid. From elite weightlifters, to football and basketball players, the bath has a laundry list of celebrity endorsers. The case for ice baths include claims that the icy water helps shift lactic acid and that the ice causes the blood vessels to constrict and drains them of waste products, causing them to fill up with fresh blood after athletes emerge from the ice.

Even though the physiotherapists who recommend the ice baths have little evidence to prove these claims, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence from athletes that the baths make them feel better.

Calling it a placebo effect is not accurate either. A placebo effect would imply that the athlete doesn’t know whether the ice they are sitting in is ice water, or lukewarm. Hard to confuse the two, don’t you think? You can’t get