Recovery Strategies - a mixed method approach

This research article in BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation investigates the perception and usage of recovery strategies by team sport athletes at different levels of competition.

To begin the study the authors identified a range of recovery strategies used by athletes across varying team sports and competition levels. When questioned the athletes revealed varying perceptions of effectiveness against these strategies identified by the authors:

1. Active land-based recovery (ALB)
2. Active water-based recovery (AWB)
3. Stretching (STR)
4. Cold water immersion (CWI)
5. Contrast water therapy (CWT)

It was determined that athletes used these strategies mostly for decreasing muscle soreness. In addition cold water immersion (CWI) was used for reducing swelling and inflammation. In fact CWI was the second most effective form of recovery according to the surveyed athletes. Furthermore previous studies have found that CWI is effective at cooling the body (1) and reducing muscle soreness (2, 3)

1. Ice-Water Immersion and Cold-Water Immersion Provide Similar Cooling Rates in Runners With Exercise-Induced Hyperthermia.

2. Cooling and performance recovery of trained athletes: a meta-analytical review.

3. Cold water immersion and recovery from strenuous exercise: a meta-analysis.


CETCryoSpa professional ice baths are highly effective for CWI and offer a thermostatically controlled temperature (from 1C to 14C). They also offer the optimum combination of turbulence, salinity and pressure (due to depth of water). These four factors help to achieve a therapeutic effect:


Low temperature (1 C to 14 C) hydrotherapy is a relatively new concept in therapeutic modalities and can provide significant pain relief with a low side-effect profile.


Aeration of the water has a two fold effect:

1. When the body loses heat through convection as well as conduction the temperature drop will be much greater and be achieved much faster. Wind chill is a good example of this.

2. The massage effect of the turbulence influences dispersal of fluids. It can also stimulate the muscle which is particularly beneficial for certain conditions such as quadriceps contusion.


This has an impact on the healing process. Higher concentrations of salt have a greater drawing effect thereby influencing the dispersal of fluids accumulated around the injury. Additionally, salt has a positive effect in helping to cleanse cuts and wounds by aiding in the control of infection.


The greater the depth of the water the greater is the physical pressure exerted on the tissues which, again, aids in the dispersal of accumulated fluids.

Team sport athletes’ perceptions and use of recovery strategies: a mixed-methods survey study >

TAGS: cold water immersion, recovery, ice bath


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