Elite Sports & Colleges

Manage heat stress, recover rapidly & enhance performance

As every coach knows, keeping your best players on the field and attracting the best players and top athletes in the first instance is vital to achieving success. Consequently, to maximise player availability, minimise recovery times and reduce injury rates, the strength and conditioning coach will have to work with the medical team to ensure maximum fitness while minimising fatigue – the primary precursor of injury.

CoreTx devices enable personnel to perform better physically and mentally during their engagements while the CET CryoSpa facilitates faster recovery after the activities have ceased.

Working in conjunction with the US Military Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), Dr Craig Heller, a Professor at Stanford University and colleagues established that heat stress could be moderated by applying a cooling medium to the palm of one hand. Hence the Stanford Core Control Glove was born. With footballers, athletes and other sports people having to compete in challenging summer temperatures, often while wearing protective gear, the risk of heat stress, and ultimately heat stroke, has become a big issue for colleges and elite sports teams across the world.

Lead researcher, Dr Heller, pioneered the palm cooling concept whereby core temperature could be moderated without cooling major muscle groups. This enabled players to resume the match straight after a very short intervention of only 2 or 3 minutes e.g. at half time in a football match.

When CET Managing Director, Colin Edgar, met with Dr Heller in 2018, Colin Edgar, the Managing director, identified weaknesses in the Stanford approach and set about developing a rapid recovery device that would overcome these shortcomings. And hence the superior CoreTx thermal exchange device was developed.

 

How the CoreTx Works:

The CoreTx device is easy to use, non-invasive, safe and pain free.

  • As body temperature increase stress is placed on the organs which leads to fatigue, loss of power & endurance as well as impaired cognitive functioning.
  • Under aerobic exercise, or heat stress, blood flow is increased to the skin surfaces in the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and the face where specialised blood vessels (AVAs) are most concentrated. These AVA’s operate as the body’s radiators.
  • The CoreTx rapidly cools the palm of the hand by conduction & convection while maintaining blood flow to the hand thereby cooling the blood which moderates core temperature.

While researching heat stress for the US Military, scientists from Stanford University, discovered that performance gains on a par with the use of steroids can be achieved through the use of palm cooling alone.

Improvements in strength and workload of between 25% and 40% was reported when training with palm cooling compared to without palm cooling.

 

Benefits Include:

1. Breaking through a training plateau

College students and elite athletes alike can make gains only previously associated with the use of PEDs (performance enhancing drugs).

 

2. Increased performance enhancement

Seasoned athletes and freshmen can equally enjoy a significant performance enhancement in the early stages of training block or during mid-season.

 

3. Deliver endurance benefits

Researchers reported surprising gains for both aerobic and anaerobic activities with significant improvements in endurance also noted. Contact CET for more information on palm cooling and performance enhancement.

Post-match recovery or recovery after a training session requires a different approach to half time recovery. For mid-match recovery see the section on Heat Stress.

After incorporating CET CryoSpa ice bath therapy into their post-training recovery protocols the English Super League Rugby team, Widnes Vikings, reported a 16% increase in player availability and a 21% decrease in injury rates with an 11% reduction in the average cost of injury treatment.

It is interesting to note all CET clients, which include AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Team GB, German Olympic Association, Manchester United & the Brooklyn Nets, used cold water immersion in some format, mostly cold tubs, cold plunge pools and ice baths, prior to installing a CET CryoSpa.

Only after installing the CET CryoSpa did they realise that not all cold water immersion is the same. The Toronto Blue Jays are a great example as they used both cold plunge pools and stainless steel tubs before deciding to buy a CET CryoSpa for Rogers Stadium. They then quickly added five more CryoSpas at their Florida training facilities once they realised the benefits CET CryoSpas offered compared to other options.

 

How do ice baths help recovery?

At a Sports Injury Summit held at Wembley Stadium in London, research scientist Gregory Dupont presented the results of a study which monitored injury rates in European Champions League teams over two seasons. The startling statistic was that injury rates increased more than 6-fold when playing two matches per week compared to one match per week. Moreover, it was established, unsurprisingly, the primary precursor of injury was fatigue. 

The second part of the study investigated the most effective recovery methods required to combat fatigue, thereby lowering the risk of injury. The results showed the top 3 recovery elements were an athlete’s lifestyle, namely sleep, diet and hydration and the leading intervention was cold water immersion.

 

How does the CryoSpa achieve such effective cooling?

The thermal conductivity of water is 26 times higher than air and the density of water is over 800 times greater than air and when you add in cooling by convection not just conduction combined with compression through hydrostatic pressure, you get a much more penetrating cold resulting in a significantly improved therapeutic effect.

This is why so many elite sports facilities have replaced their old fashioned ice baths, cold tubs or in-ground plunge pools with much more therapeutically effective saltwater CryoSpa ice bath technology.

 

Why choose a CET CryoSpa?

To maximise the therapeutic effect it is imperative the optimum therapeutic temperature can be maintained for the duration of the session. Typical ice baths or ice packs warm up because they extract heat from your patient’s body to reduce the temperature of their tissues.

CryoSpa ice baths circulate water through a digitally temperature controlled chiller to continuously maintain the desired temperature guaranteeing your athletes will receive highest quality cold water therapy, thus ensuring the fastest possible recovery while lowering the risk of injury.

Click here for:

Request information

Please complete the following details:
* indicates required





Professional Background *:

I'm interested in the following product *:

Message:

What benefits would a CryoSpa ice bath have for you & your athletes?

  • Faster recovery after training, combating fatigue and lowering risk of injury.

  • Increase player availability, resolve injuries faster and lower the cost of treatment.

  • Maximise the therapeutic effect through the combination of cooling by conduction & convection, hydrostatic pressure, massage effect and anti-inflammatory salt water.

female athlete

Frequently Asked Questions

Question not answered?

Why do footballers take ice baths?

It is quite commonly stated that ice baths reduce lactic acid but this is not the case. Lactic acid, or lactate, occurs when the body gets into an oxygen debt situation i.e. is functioning anaerobically. When the level of activity ceases, or reduces sufficiently, in simple terms the body can acquire surplus oxygen, which is used to convert the lactic acid back to its normal pyruvate / pyruvic acid state.

According to Gregory Dupont, who presented at the FIFA sponsored Sports Injury Summit held at Wembley in 2013 the main precursor of injury is fatigue. Further research investigated the common strategies for aiding recovery, minimising fatigue and, thereby, lowering the risk of injury.

The conclusion was good diet, good sleep, hydration [all lifestyle factors] plus cold water immersion were the main scientifically proven methods of aiding recovery and minimising fatigue.

The other side of the coin is performance and here we find that fatigue inhibits performance. So if we can manage fatigue by improving fitness and aiding recovery the outcome is improved performance and lowered risk of injury.

How long should you stay in an ice bath?

The therapeutic effect is a factor of temperature and time. The colder it is, and the more penetrating that cold, then less time is required to cool the tissue to a therapeutic level.

Traditional ice baths consisted of adding ice to water and depending on the amount of ice versus the amount of water these ice baths could be as high as 10 or 12C [50 – 55F]. In these circumstances, the recommended dosage varied from 10 to 15 or even 20 minutes.

With modern digitally controlled ice baths, or CryoSpas, which chill by conduction and convection [i.e. the jets are creating a ‘wind chill’ effect], the average treatment time is typically 3 to 6 minutes.

Should I use an ice bath after every training session?

The debate on the use of ice baths, or cold-water immersion, rages on with many pundits claiming it is good and others claiming it is not.

The answer depends on the stage of training the athlete is at and the main objective of that training block.

If you are in the pre-competition phase of training and the main objective is to build power then there is research indicating that ice baths (and other micro-strategies for minimising training responses, such as anti-oxidant supplementation) during this phase may limit the adaptation effect i.e. your muscles will adapt to the increased workload faster if the body is allowed to contend with the inflammation and micro-tears naturally without the intervention of cold water immersion.

However, if you are tapering the workload toward an upcoming competitive event or if you are in the competitive part of the season then the main focus shifts to recovery and minimising fatigue rather than power building and in these circumstances research indicates the use of ice baths will be beneficial.

The key word here is fatigue. Fatigue is the main precursor of injury and is also a major performance inhibitor. Consequently, the fitness coach’s objective is to maximise fitness and minimise fatigue in order to maximise performance and lower the risk of injury.

And the main strategies for combating fatigue: Good Sleep, Good Diet, Hydration and Cold Water Immersion [per Gregory Dupont, FIFA Sports Injury Summit, Wembley Stadium, April 2013].

The argument is further complicated in team sports where skill, tactics and pre-planned moves need to be coached on the training pitch. In these sports the coach will want the players to be mentally alert and physically prepared to benefit fully from the coaching session, not hobbling around only partially recovered from the previous day’s training. In this instance, there may be a conflict of interest where the fitness coach is trying to maximise adaptation while the team coach wants the players recovered sufficiently to benefit fully from the training session, therefore, CWI may be strategically used to fit the on-going training session plans rather than eliminated to cater for both objectives.

So are ice baths good or bad?

The answer depends on the part of the season and the main objective of the current training regime. In the competitive phase of the season the use of ice baths will help minimise fatigue and aid recovery, thereby improving performance and lowering the risk of injury. In the pre-season, or power-building phase, of training the use of ice baths may adversely affect the adaptive response.

So, as with most tools in the athlete preparation toolbox, it is how the coach uses CWI to best effect, rather than whether it is appropriate to use it or not!