THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE THERAPY
The ECB Spa solution can be chilled as low as 35 °F (2 °C), although research suggests the optimum temperature to be 46°F (8°C) to take out heat and inflammation. At this temperature, the solution provides analgesic pain management, inhibits enzyme degeneration of tendons post injury and massively increases circulation.
The ECB salt solution acts as a hypertonic poultice, reducing heat while having a natural healing effect on wounds. Water density increases with salt concentration, which in turn increases pressure to aid fluid and waste dispersal. The spa has a high level of both Epsom Salts (MgSO4) and ordinary Salt (NaCl). Salt water has been known to be therapeutic for years, people used to be sent to the seaside for a wide range of ailments, from open wounds, to arthritis.
Water aeration has a massaging effect on the leg and increases the dissolved oxygen content of the spa solution. The fact that the water is continuously moving also means that the contact surface is also constantly changing. Sports men and women that have used traditional ice baths have said that if they sit still they find that it feels warmer. This is because the body is warming the water around them. Not so when the water is aerated.
The depth of the water is proportionate to the pressure exerted on the leg which aids fluid and waste dispersal. Water depth is adjustable dependent upon the position and severity of injury. The deeper the water the more pressure is exerted and therefore an increased massage effect.
Proper chemical and salt maintenance allows for thousands of successive treatments without water replacement. Temperature and chemical levels combine to eliminate the transfer of microbiological infection.
As water temperature decreases, its ability to carry oxygen increases. Increased oxygenation through the introduction of aeration is believed to enhance natural defense systems, much like the use of a hyperbaric chamber for humans.
Cold salt hydrotherapy can be used to treat all forms of lower leg inflammation... removing the painful fluid and swelling associated with injury.
So why is an ECB Cold Spa so effective?...
For many years the use of cold water for treating leg injuries has been well documented. Sports teams and athletes have been filling up containers with water and ice and soaking their legs both pre and post game. By bringing the temperature of water down to 47°F (9°C) (although ice can not maintain this temperature) the therapeutic effects were very evident.
Since the symptoms and causes of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) are believed to closely match those of an acute tissue injury, research has been conducted to test the effectiveness of ice therapy on DOMS. A study by Eston and Peters showed that a 15 minute immersion in cold water following eccentric arm contractions reduced the muscle stiffness and increased the angle of resting arm angle. The lower plasma creatine kinase levels were also reduced.
ECB Cold Spa
What ECB has done is taken this treatment to a new level by introducing salt, aeration and both reducing and maintaining the water temperature to 46°F (8°C). The combination of these factors mean that the effectiveness of an ice bath is increased greatly and in turn the athlete is back on the field within a shorter period. The bath itself is incredibly easy to use and maintain and it can literally be put in any room where a standard plug socket is located. ECB are the only spas that will maintain this temperature. Many units on the market say they can but after closer investigation the chiller units fail to maintain the temperature that is shown on the digital display.
"The application of localised cold or cyrotherapy is well established as a therapeutic modality for the treatment of acute soft-tissue injuries. By decreasing local tissue temperature around the injured site, cryotherapy reduces the inflammatory response in injured tissue as well as decreasing local oedema formation, swelling and pain and thus promotes recovery from soft tissue injury.
Along with soft-tissue injury, inflammation is also integral in the development of exercise-induced muscle damage that frequently occurs following unaccustomed or high intensity eccentric exercise. Anecdotal reports have therefore suggested that cooling the previously active limbs via cold water immersion may also serve as an effective recovery strategy for athletes undertaking high intensity exercise. Recent reports in the scientific literature have shown that cold water immersion may alleviate the physiological and functional deficits associated with exercise-induced muscle damage and enhance recovery following high intensity exercise. As a consequence, cold water immersion is now becoming widely adopted by athletes in both training and competition in an attempt to enhance the recovery process
Despite evidence supporting the use of cold water immersion as a recovery modality, little is currently known with respect to the precise physiological mechanisms through which it mediates its effects. Future research is therefore needed in order to examine such mechanisms along with the optimal mode, duration and degree of cooling needed to optimise its effects on recovery."
Dr Warren Gregson PhD
Principal Lecturer in Exercise Physiology
Programme Leader B.Sc. (Hons) Sports Science
School of Sport & Exercise Sciences
Liverpool John Moores University