No, an Ice Bath Won’t Help Repair Muscle Injury: Experts
Ice baths can help reduce swelling and acute pain but cannot help repair or rebuild muscles, say scientists.
Successful athletes such as Andy Murray and Jessica Ennis-Hill are known for using ice baths after exercise, however new research suggests that ice baths aren't helpful for repairing and building muscle over time, because they decrease the generation of protein in muscles.
According to health experts in India, rather than going for an ice bath, people could opt to get a mild massage, consume protein before bed, and drink plenty of water.
Ice baths, also known as cold-water immersion, are still touted as a popular strategy for both acute recovery, on a timescale of hours and days, as well as adaptation to training over weeks and months.
"Yes taking ice bath has certain rejuvenating and refreshing properties which may help one to be active, but is not a proven fact that it will certainly help in muscle building as the science behind such conclusions is not robust," Gaurav Rathore, Associate Director, Department of Orthopedics and Joint Replacement, Jaypee Hospital in Noida, told IANS.
“At the same time it cannot be recommended to general public as our athletes have very controlled and disciplined environment.”Gaurav Rathore, Associate Director, Department of Orthopedics and Joint Replacement, Jaypee Hospital, Noida
The study, published in the Journal of Physiology, found that ice baths are particularly ineffective for the building of muscles and its adaptation.
According to Yash Gulati, Senior Consultant, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals in New Delhi, the idea behind using ice baths is to reduce the inflammation and not for repairing or building the muscles.
“The purpose of the ice baths is to decrease the swelling after acute pain. But there’s no impact of ice baths on the generation of new proteins in the muscles.”Yash Gulati, Senior Consultant, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi
Gulati added that alternatively ice baths can be used as part of physiotherapy and as a strengthening exercise.
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