Something shocking is underway across sports medicine circles. The habitual practice of icing (cryotherapy) and using the RICE protocol to accelerate healing and promote recovery is being questioned as ineffective or potentially damaging.
We were skeptics at first too. After all, how could something so universally accepted and practiced be so wrong? We looked at the origins of cryotherapy and RICE, reviewed the principles of inflammation and recovery, and most importantly learned from the vast amount of published studies on the topic. Not to say that cryotherapy doesn’t have a purpose, but after reviewing the research it became apparent that icing damaged tissue from injury or exercise likely does nothing to improve recovery and may slow and delay the healing process.
7 Reasons to Stop Using Cryotherapy to Improve Recovery
1, The body requires inflammation to heal
2, Ice only delays the inflammatory response
3. Inflammation and swelling are not the same
4. There is no irrefutable published evidence of ice’s effectiveness for recovery
5. Ice has potentially harmful side effects
6. Icing interferes with athletic performance
7. Alternatives prove to be much more effective