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Can ice baths do more harm than good?

Cold water immersion — more commonly known as an ice bath — is a common practice for runners and other athletes looking to ward off injuries after strenuous training sessions. But, new research suggests the practice may do more harm than good.

“The theory behind ice baths is that the intense cold reduces metabolic activity and causes your blood vessels to constrict,” says Dr. David R. Guelich, orthopedic sports medicine specialist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “This is thought to decrease post-workout inflammation and muscle pain.”

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Practice Locations
Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center

3000 North Halsted Street.
Suite 525
Chicago, IL 60657

Amita St. Joseph's Hospital

331 W. Surf Street
Suite 6400
Chicago, IL 60657