For a couple of years now, we have been trying to communicate to our patients the now debunked concept behind icing an injury. Dr. Mirkin, the originator of the acronym R.I.C.E. (Rest Ice Compression & Elevation) that he coined back in the seventies, lead a research study in 2013 that found that icing an acute injury actually retards the healing process. Ice is still a great treatment for those who are in pain, but anything more than 10 minutes, could result in a change in the physiological healing process and the overall repair process.
A study that was released December 2017 on PubMed (Post-exercise recovery of contractile function and endurance in humans and mice is accelerated by heating and slowed by cooling skeletal muscle), showed that for optimal recovery from strenuous training, we should be using heat, rather than the commonly considered, ice (think ice baths…brrrr). The study showed that the administration of heat far outweighed the benefits we all once thought ice was doing. Recovery, fatigue resistance as well as glycogen resynthesis, all improved compared to the use of ice, post activity. The overall conclusion was that recovery from exhaustive endurance exercise is accelerated by raising and slowed by lowering muscle temperature. This will come as GREAT news for those of you who have been training in these cold winter months, only to attempt to boost your recovery by jumping into a cold pool. Looks like a hot tub is just what the ‘scientists’ are ordering!