The theory behind ice baths is that the exposure to cold helps combat small tears in muscle fibres, and its resulting soreness, after repetitive or intensive exercises.
How ice baths work
Thought to flush waste products and constrict blood vessels, ice baths are believed to reduce tissue breakdown and swelling. As the tissue warms again, blood flow increases, circulation is speeded up and the healing process gets a jump-start.
Opinions concerning the effectiveness of ice baths are somewhat divided. While many trainers and athletes swear by them, others believe that the apparent results of ice baths are simply down to a placebo effect and that having a warm bath or a gentle massage would produce the same results.
Then, of course, there are the dangers of being exposed to freezing temperatures. Sudden exposure to an extremely cold bath could be painful and cause breathing problems even in healthy individuals.
If a person with heart problems, asthma or other airway problems was to be submerged, the shock could possibly kill them. Exposure to cold for a prolonged period could also lead to hypothermia, shock or frostbite.
True or false?
It should therefore be said that yes, an ice bath can be good for you, but it can also be extremely dangerous. In order to survive an icy cold bath without making yourself ill or sustaining personal injuries, it is therefore necessary to be careful and follow a few safety rules.
With many well-known athletes now promoting the benefits of having an ice bath after training or competitions, many gyms now offer so-called cold plunges. Gym owners’ duty to protect patrons against slips, trips and falls and other gym accidents also includes:
- Making people aware of the potential risks of having ice baths
- Ensuring temperatures of the plunges do not fall below the recommended minimum temperature of between 54 and 60 degrees F (12,22 to 15.56 degrees C)
- Ensuring people taking freezing baths are supervised
- Baths are limited to a maximum duration of 10 minutes
If you suffered an injury by a slip, trip or fall, over-exposure to cold or another accident at the gym and someone else was responsible for your injury, you could be entitled to make a public liability claim.
Call us, Accident Advice Helpline, on freephone number, 0800 689 0500, or or 0333 500 0993 from landlines, for helpful advice and no-win, no-fee* legal representation now.
Date Published: April 29, 2016
Author: Accident Advice