For decades, cold therapy has been used to treat acute injuries and post-exercise recovery. Interestingly, new research has confirmed that cold therapy is a safe and effective remedy for chronic diseases and can promote overall well-being.
According to studies, stress in the form of physical exertion (exercise), as well as life stress, triggers similar hormonal responses that affect heart rate and heart rate variability. Cold water therapy stimulates the Vagus nerve, which can reduce heart rate while improving variability. The Vagus nerve is about 75% of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for regulating abdominal organs and mood. The Vagus nerve runs from the brain, through the neck, to the abdominal organs. Vagus nerve activation reduces stress and induces relaxation.
If you’re focused on recovering and minimizing the fatigue you feel after a training session, an ice bath is a great addition to your post-workout routine. In addition to reducing fatigue and exercise injury, an ice bath has also been shown to prepare your body and mind for the next workout.