A social media post suggests a cold-water bath improves blood circulation and reduces muscle soreness. We fact-checked and found the claim to be Mostly True.
A social media post claims ‘The moment cold water hits your body, your blood is forced to circulate a lot faster in an effort to maintain its temperature. Thus they improve blood circulation and reduce muscle soreness’.
The screenshot of the post is attached down-below:
Does a cold-water bath improve blood circulation and reduce muscle soreness?
It seems so. The available scientific evidence shows cold water immersions can improve blood circulation and reduce muscle soreness. Because cold water has a higher temperature than the body, the circulatory system works harder to maintain the body’s core temperature.
Dr Kashyap Dakshini, General Physician, says “Cold water bath stimulates blood circulation, however it also induces changes in the body such as increase in heart rate, blood pressure, metabolism, and reduction in blood flow to the brain (as the blood flow is diverted to the skin & muscles). While a cold water bath may help improve the look of the skin, making it look clearer, one must be careful and avoid very cold water, especially amongst those who may have or are unaware of their heart condition, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. Cold water may reduce muscle soreness by constricting the blood vessels, which may give some relief to the swelling and soreness in the muscles after a workout, however this may be restricted to only easing post-workout aches, as the cold temperature numbs the nerve stimulus. If one has to push through pain during exercise, one might be ignoring an underlying injury. However, cold water / ice packs do help in pain relief and reduce the swelling.”
Cold water on the body constricts the blood vessels to decrease the blood flow to the skin and minimise the heat loss from the warm blood. This condition is called vasoconstriction that narrows the inside of blood vessels to increase the pressure of the blood. The increased pressure improves the overall blood circulation.
While searching for any potential disadvantages of cold water immersion, we found research papers that claim cold-water immersion can reduce blood flow to the brain. Another research paper claimed cold water baths can be harmful to people with heart conditions. A website has also highlighted that frequent cold baths may also induce cold urticaria – a condition in which skin becomes red, welts and itches due to exposure to cold temperatures.
THIP MEDIA TAKE: A cold-water bath can improve blood circulation and reduce muscle soreness. However, the cold water on the body can generate unknown allergic reactions or harm the organs of the body.
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