Research findings water immersion-Dec 2019
29 January 2020 / 0 comments

December 2019

Every month, ProCcare extracts the newly published studies on local cryotherapy, water immersion, and whole-body cryotherapy. These studies are the basis of our literature database and form the foundation of our ProCcare method. In each newsletter, we will discuss with our key opinion leaders, two studies that provide exciting insights and show the monthly new published studies.

Study 1: Fuchs, C. J. et al. Postexercise cooling impairs muscle protein synthesis rates in recreational athletes. J. Physiol. (Lond.) (2019) doi:10.1113/JP278996.

Twelve healthy males performed single resistance-type exercise session followed by water immersion of both legs for 20 minutes.

Primary findings:

  • CWI reduces the delivery and uptake of dietary protein-derived amino acids during post-exercise recovery
  • Muscle protein synthesis rate remain lower throughout two weeks of consistent cooling.

“Individuals aiming to improve skeletal muscle conditioning should, therefore, reconsider applying to cool apart of their post-exercise recovery strategy.”

Our take-home message:

Based on the study from review article from Broatch and colleagues (2017), we knew that following resistance type exercises aiming to improve muscle mass and strength using cold-water immersion should not be prescribed due to its negative effects on muscle adaptation. This study from Fuchs and colleagues provides us additional insights into why these negative effects muscle adaptations occur. Next, it is very useful to integrate their findings into practice as they used a mixed-method approach from enhancing recovery, by prescribing proteins(another intervention which is used on a large scale in sports). Lastly, they included two weeks, which is another strength as recovery following exercise is a multi-day event. One of the main limitations in our opinion of the study to transfer the results into practice is the way CWI is applied is this study; 20minutes, one leg immersion at 8°C/46°F. In sports, this type of protocol is hardly used anymore. The general guidelines are a full-body immersion at10-15°C/ 50-59°C for 10-15 minutes while taking into account personal characteristics and thermal profile. Next, the results can be transferred to resistance-type exercises only, which leaves out the largest part of the professional sports that are more characterized by high-intermittent and endurance exercises. And for these sports, the same study of Broatch and colleagues(2017) concluded that no research reported any adverse effect of incorporating cold-water immersion in the training program on long term training adaptations. The findings of the study from Fuchs and colleagues (2019) are important and provide us insights into why cold water immersion while trying to gain muscle mass via resistance exercise should be discouraged. Using cold water immersion in applied sports is still useful and should be customized to your needs regarding objective and personal characteristics.

Published studies in December 2019

1.           Batista, N. P., Carvalho, F. A., Machado,A. F. & Pastre, C. M. Effect of cold-water immersion on perceptions of recovery in swimming athletes: a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. InternationalJournal of Sports Physical Therapy 14, ps21–ps23.

2.           Chouchou,F. et al. Autonomic cardiovascular adaptations to acute head-out water immersion, head-down tilt, and supine position. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol.(2019) doi:10.1007/s00421-019-04278-4.

3.           Duñabeitia,I. et al. Effects of Massage and Cold Water Immersion After an... : TheJournal of Strength & Conditioning Research doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000003395.

4.           Egaña,M., Jordan, L. & Moriarty, T. A 2.5 min cold water immersion improves prolonged intermittent sprint performance. J Sci Med Sport 22,1349–1354 (2019).

5.           Fuchs,C. J. et al. Postexercise cooling impair muscle protein synthesis rates in recreational athletes. J. Physiol. (Lond.) (2019)doi:10.1113/JP278996.

6.           Holbery-Morgan, L., Carew, J., Bourke, E. & Douglas, N. Ice Water Immersion -Practicalities for Monitoring Hyperthermic Patients in the Prehospital Context.Prehosp Disaster Med 34, 675–676 (2019).

7.           Ihsan,M. et al. Skeletal Muscle Microvascular Adaptations Following Regular Cold Water Immersion. Int J Sports Med (2019) doi:10.1055/a-1044-2397.

8.           Krueger,M., Costello, J. T., Stenzel, M., Mester, J. & Wahl, P. The physiological effects of daily cold-water immersion on 5-day tournament performance in international standard youth field-hockey players. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol.(2019) doi:10.1007/s00421-019-04274-8.

9.         Magalhães,F. de C. et al. High-intensity interval training followed by postexercise cold-water immersion does not alter angiogenic circulating cells, but increases circulating endothelial cells. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 45,101–111 (2020).


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