Author Archives: samantha

Ice baths: are they worth it?

Ice baths: are they worth it?

Who uses them?

Win or lose, after a tennis match British number one Andy Murray has a shower, some food and drink, a massage and then rounds off his routine with an ice bath. And he’s not the only athlete to use ice baths to aid recovery after a competition. Heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill used to stand in a wheelie bin of iced water for the sake of her muscles, and Paula Radcliffe also put her success in 2002 down to ice baths. The success of these sportspeople and others who adopt this technique would suggest they work, but when you look for evidence for the impact of this painful remedy, it’s a grey area.

Why do we use them?

The idea is that immersing the body in freezing cold water speeds up recovery after exercise by reducing temperature, blood flow and inflammation in tissues of the muscles. Lots of us will have noticed that an ice pack does reduce the pain and swelling when you’ve pulled a muscle. In one study participants were instructed to put one leg into an ice bath after a strenuous run, and to leave the other one out. Swelling was reduced in the freezing cold leg.

For most of us a little pain relief might be good enough, but for the professional athlete or keen amateur who wants to build muscle, then attempts to mitigate inflammation could be counterproductive. Immersion in cold water is known to reduce blood flow and this could slow down muscle protein synthesis, where the muscle rebuilds itself after injury or strain.

To reap the benefits of doing weights, for example, some inflammation might be useful to help the muscles to repair. So perhaps deliberately reducing that inflammation isn’t such a good idea.

Pros and Cons

There are lots of pros and cons to taking ice baths.

Pros:

  • You can treat a larger area of your body in one go.
  • It helps with flushing lactic acid out from the muscle.
  • It solves the problem of only having one one ice pack or bag of peas to hand!

Cons:

  • It’s cold!
  • They can cause more harm than good – anything over 10 minutes is too long.
  • Don’t assume the colder the bath, the better. I would assume you would also like a shower after your sweaty run or gym workout, and going from a super cold ice bath to a warm shower can erase any potential benefit.

To conclude, because they may work for one person doesn’t mean they will work for everyone, if they do work, great! If you are someone who they don’t work for there are other tools, techniques and skill you can use to aid recovery.

RSI and how to prevent it

RSI and how to prevent it

What is RSI? Repetitive strain injuries don’t just occur in sport. Any repetitive activity can lead to an overuse injury. Overuse injuries occur over a period of time, usually due to excessive and repetitive loading of the tissue, with symptoms presenting gradually. Little or no pain might be experienced in the initial stages of these… Continue Reading

Cycling and back pain: five top tips

Cycling and back pain: five top tips

Back pain is very common in cyclists and can be caused by several factors, from riding style to muscular strength to lifestyle. The repetitive movements involved in cycling can be tough on the muscles and joints. But there are things we can do to help counteract the effects of this. Here are our five top… Continue Reading

Cramping in Athletes

Cramping in Athletes

If you’re an athlete, you’re probably familiar with cramping. It often occurs when upping your training schedule, for example, as the muscles get used to working in different conditions. Athletes can be particularly prone to experience cramps in warm weather, so let’s take a look into why it happens and how we can avoid it.… Continue Reading

Pregnancy Massage

Pregnancy Massage

Pregnancy massage is a lovely holistic treatment to help you relax and take time out for yourself. Around 48-56% of pregnant women suffer from lower back pain and pelvic pain due to altered posture from the increased weight of the uterus and foetus. There are many benefits with this type of treatment including: – Relaxation,… Continue Reading

Wiltshire Business Awards 2018

Wiltshire Business Awards 2018

On Friday 20th April our team attended the Wiltshire Business Awards at Center Parcs. We were thrilled to be recognised in two categories, being awarded 2nd place in Creative Marketing and 3rd place in Services to the Community! It was a fantastic evening and a great opportunity for the team to celebrate together. Since our doors opened… Continue Reading

Top Three Injury Prevention Tips for Golfers

Top Three Injury Prevention Tips for Golfers

Summer is on its way (ish) and there will soon be grass on the greens again and plenty of days to get yourself down to your favourite golf range! As we all know, golf requires a particular set of skills and with that, has its own particular set of associated benefits, risks and common issues. With… Continue Reading

Sydney Gregson, Bristol Ladies Rugby

Sydney Gregson, Bristol Ladies Rugby

Sports massage at Active Potential Therapy has been really good for helping me recover from games and training sessions. Especially at the start of the week, it’s great just to come in and relieve my muscles – it helps me get as much benefit out of my training as possible. Any niggles will affect my… Continue Reading