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COLD WATER THERAPY


New emphasis’ have been put on recovery modalities such as cold water therapy. How would todays people go surviving in cold wilderness like the vikings did? With many in consensus that cold water therapy boosts testosterone production, is a lack of coldness further castrating an already feminised male population?


Question marks arise next to the quality of evidence, given randomised controlled studies are made challenging by the fact individuals cannot be blind to cold water intervention and placebo effect is a well accepted phenomenon within medicine.


Despite the fact that cold water immersion (CWI) seems to be an effective (and therefore appropriate) strategy to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), it does not seem effective in restoring strength and might have some potential to restore power in adult athletes (Murray A. 2015). Appropriateness should refer to the aim and the expected outcome of an intervention.


Within an adolescent population it has been shown that CWI may normalise or even enhance parasympathetic heart rate modulation and restore vagal tone following intense exercise similar to the mechanism in an adult population (Buchheit M. 2008).


Popular methods include the alternating between hot and cold water temperatures. The alternate vasodilation and vasoconstriction of the peripheral blood vessels or “pumping action” has been proposed to increase lactate clearance, decrease oedema and increase blood flow. It is also hypothesised that CWT may alter the perfusion of muscle by inducing intracellular-intravascular fluid shift, which might result in an attenuated immune response and reduced the myocellular damage (Francois B. 2013).


Cold water therapy is evidently beneficial but an optimal method in regards to DOMS seems yet to be determined however, my personal favourite use of CWT is during my morning shower. Start your shower as normal and then transition into the colder temperatures. The cold has a unique way of snapping you into the present, ridding us of anxious thoughts and future concerns.


This cold environment brings opportunity to practice breath control, essentially training our parasympathetic nervous system, in a sympathetic environment. Upon completion of as little as two minutes, expect to feel a vibrancy, enhanced mood and levels of energy leaving you ready to get after the day!


Although challenging at first, you’ll be amazed at how quickly this practice becomes enjoyable and an integral part of your morning routine.

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