Ice baths leave experts cold
Published 15/11/2010 | 05:00
SUBMERGING athletes in ice baths to cure sore muscles is all pain and no gain, writes Eilish O'Regan.
Many sports clubs around the country are placing players in wheelie bins filled with ice as they replicate treatments offered to professional athletes, but a study has found the makeshift ice baths increase the risk of breathing difficulties and frostbite.
Professor Alan Donnelly and his team at the University of Limerick examined the use of cryotherapy treatments -- including ice baths and hi-tech chambers -- over a four-year period and found no proven benefit in reducing soreness of muscles.
Whole-body cryotherapy chambers are usually professionally operated and athletes are not at risk. However, ice baths present real risks, such as ice burns and bronchospasm (constriction of airways), Prof Donnelly said.