Ice baths or cold rooms cause athletes’ blood vessels to contract, reducing blood flow and alleviating the inflammation caused by muscle damage. The ice bath treatment involves sitting waist deep in a bath at around ten degrees Celsius. Although many sportspeople swear by this popular recovery aid, the science behind it is inconclusive.
An ice bath may reduce soreness and swelling, but cannot reverse the injury itself. A review of 17 studies concluded that while cold water immersion did reduce muscle soreness by about 20 per cent, it was no more effective than other remedies such as stretching or taking ibuprofen.