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Old 01-29-2011, 06:56 AM   #1
Darryl Shaw
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Default Alternating hot and cold water immersion: a review.

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Alternating hot and cold water immersion for athlete recovery: a review.

Abstract


Objectives. The aim of this review was to investigate whether alternating hot–cold water treatment is a legitimate training tool for enhancing athlete recovery. A number of mechanisms are discussed to justify its merits and future research directions are reported. Alternating hot–cold water treatment has been used in the clinical setting to assist in acute sporting injuries and rehabilitation purposes. However, there is overwhelming anecdotal evidence for it’s inclusion as a method for post exercise recovery. Many coaches, athletes and trainers are using alternating hot–cold water treatment as a means for post exercise recovery.

Design. A literature search was performed using SportDiscus, Medline and Web of Science using the key words recovery, muscle fatigue, cryotherapy, thermotherapy, hydrotherapy, contrast water immersion and training.

Results. The physiologic effects of hot–cold water contrast baths for injury treatment have been well documented, but its physiological rationale for enhancing recovery is less known. Most experimental evidence suggests that hot–cold water immersion helps to reduce injury in the acute stages of injury, through vasodilation and vasoconstriction thereby stimulating blood flow thus reducing swelling. This shunting action of the blood caused by vasodilation and vasoconstriction may be one of the mechanisms to removing metabolites, repairing the exercised muscle and slowing the metabolic process down.

Conclusion. To date there are very few studies that have focussed on the effectiveness of hot–cold water immersion for post exercise treatment. More research is needed before conclusions can be drawn on whether alternating hot–cold water immersion improves recuperation and influences the physiological changes that characterises post exercise recovery.
http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&sou...Q4dn9A&cad=rjt

Confession: I'm only posting this so I have an excuse to add this link.
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Old 01-29-2011, 07:17 AM   #2
Russell Crosswy
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For high school football we would take cold water baths in the tubs we had in the training room. They really seemed to keep our legs fresh through the week.

On the video, WTF... just weird.

But it reminds me of guys in high school who would try to get the water as cold as possible and then see if you could stay in it for 10 minutes or longer. We had an ice machine and would dump ice by the bucket in the water. I think the coldest we got it was about 42 degrees Fahrenheit. I think the longest anyone would stay in is about 20 minutes.
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Old 01-29-2011, 08:36 AM   #3
Justin Arnold
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Anecdotal, but I've messed around with contrast baths some to help heal finger flexor tendon issues. I must have been keeping the water too cold because the pain was just flat out unbearable for anything more than about 30 seconds. With only my hand submerged to the wrist, I could actually feel the cold blood flowing back up the rest of my arm through the veins. My roommate thoroughly enjoyed watching me try and sit at the couch and deal with how bad it hurt. That said, a couple weeks of sacking up really did seem to help the healing process.

I also have a friend that swears by this method for her hands.. and at first would seem to bounce back REALLY quick from tendon tweaks.. now she just doesnt get them at all, despite being a VERY strong climber on the types of holds that typically hurt other people.
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Old 01-29-2011, 10:08 AM   #4
Steven Low
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There's something about these any type of ice or hot or contrast stuff that helps significantly anecdotally but rarely shows any effect in the studies.

I honestly don't think the placebo effect is really THAT strong though... there has to be something that is being overlooked in the studies.

Anyway, if it helps or seems to help you should do it especially in regards to this stuff. Screw what the studies say for "no benefit"
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Old 01-29-2011, 12:03 PM   #5
Russell Crosswy
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I haven't looked into the studies on these types of therapy, but from my experience I would say they work. Even just turning the water to cold after a hot shower seems to help me feel refreshed.

When I would sit in a cold tub for 20 minutes it helped to keep my legs fresh. I'm not sure if they were stronger than without a cold soak, but overall my body and my legs felt "fresher" and that seemed to translate into better performance on the field during practice and games.

I did notice that I got used to the cold and it wasn't as "painful" each time. I think that might have more to do with your nerves and brain getting used to the cold shock.

The thought was that the cold water got your blood flowing and that helped your muscles recover faster. Maybe it has something to do with the nerves getting a sensation from the cold or thermal contrast and that stress causes your nervous system to recover leading to the "refreshed" feeling. I'm just thinking out loud though.

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Old 01-29-2011, 12:30 PM   #6
Chris Butler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
There's something about these any type of ice or hot or contrast stuff that helps significantly anecdotally but rarely shows any effect in the studies.

I honestly don't think the placebo effect is really THAT strong though... there has to be something that is being overlooked in the studies.

Anyway, if it helps or seems to help you should do it especially in regards to this stuff. Screw what the studies say for "no benefit"
Something I haven't seen mentioned in the studies is the nutrient density of the blood during vasodilation. That has to play a role in the recovery effects.
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Old 01-30-2011, 06:56 AM   #7
Spencer Mackay
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This is very very subjective stuff we're talking about here, and the results will vary greatly from person to person. I've noticed from anecdotal reports that it's the "elite" athletes who appear to benefit from these methods more so than novices or beginners, purely because they are in a more trained state. When in this highly trained state, it is the smallest details which can contribute to enhanced performance.
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Old 01-30-2011, 07:20 AM   #8
Garrett Smith
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Cold water soaks are great for chronic joint stuff, especially hands/wrists and feet/ankles.

All hydrotherapy began with cold water soaks.
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