Recommended Implementations Cryotherapy (Hohenauer et al., 2015) Optimal Water Temperature: 10oC Optimal Treatment Time: 13 minutes
Contrast Water Immersion (Cochrane, 2004) Ratio Hot Water : Cold Water: 3 : 1 Optimal Water Temperature Hot: 40oC Optimal Water Temperature Cold: 13.5oC Optimal Treatment Time: 24 minutes (18 minutes hot : 6 minutes cold)
Cryotherapy Different forms of cryotherapy, most notably ice baths, have a become a popular recovery method for elite and subelite track and field athletes. In addition to aiding recovery,
Contrast Temperature Water Immersion
cryotherapy has been explicitly recommended as a method
Despite its popularity among professional sporting clubs from
for preventing hamstring injuries for elite athletes (Kujala,
a range of different sporting codes, there is little peer-reviewed
Orava & Jarvinen, 1997).
evidence that contrast temperature water immersion is more
questioned the effectiveness of cryotherapy as a tool for
beneficial for muscle recovery or hamstring injury prevention than other modalities explored in this article.
hamstring injury prevention and rehabilitation (Jarvinen et
Ingram et al. (2009) found that contrast water immersion
al., 2005; Copland, Tipton & Fields, 2009). A meta-analysis
was less effective than cryotherapy in attenuating muscle
conducted by Hohenauer et al. (2015) concluded that while
soreness and in a review on published literature, Cochrane
cryotherapy may be an effective method for assisting
(2004) concluded that there was insufficient evidence to
recovery as measured by subjective self-reporting metrics
support the use of contrast water immersion to improve
(e.g. athlete reported muscle soreness), there was no
recovery outcomes. Unfortunately, the last 14 years has not
evidence that it is effective for assisting recovery according
added a lot of research that has examined its effectiveness
to objective physiological variables. This led the authors to
suggest that some of the benefits dervied from cryotherapy may be placebo related, exacerbated by the prevelance of ice bath usage among elite athletes in public events.
The best evidence to support the use of contrast water immersion found that it may allow for faster restoration of strength and power in recreational athletes, which may
This was supported by Tiidus (2015) who concluded that
contribute to prevention of injury caused by fatigue (Vaile, Gill
cryotherapy, as practiced within usual guidelines, would not
& Blazevich, 2007). However, due to the resources required, it
be sufficient to cool human muscle significantly to assist
is difficult to recommend for most athletics coaches.
recovery or prevent injury.