You may have seen the photo of Andy Murray holding the Wimbledon trophy aloft, whilst standing in an ice bath. This has become part of the recovery routine for elite athletes and is supposed to enhance the repair of muscles broken down and damaged during exercise by reducing inflammation.
I have recently read a couple of articles on the subject. This one, from August 2016, talks about the benefits of immersion fitness:
“There is little doubt that cold water has enormous benefits for the human body. There is a wealth of evidence demonstrating its anti-inflammatory and immune system stimulatory effects, mood elevation and promotion of weight loss. Andy Murray and the England rugby team endure ice baths as part of their recovery routine.”
Less than one month later and also from the Telegraph, this article says that ice baths…do not help post-exercise recovery:
“However, there is no human data which backs up this theory.”
Although it does finish by saying that:
“…research does not completely rule out a beneficial role of cold water immersion in post-exercise recovery.”
Despite the possibility that an ice bath may be helpful, I won’t be getting in one anytime soon – nor recommending one as part of recovery from a Pilates class!