The Differences Between Hot and Ice Baths—and When Dancers Should Use Each

Splish splash, you should be taking a bath! (Getty Images)

After a grueling day in the studio, it's important to give your tired muscles some extra TLC. Baths are a great way to aid recovery, but figuring out the most effective temperature can get complicated—should you go piping hot, or ice cold? Here, we break down the benefits of both.


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You should take an ice bath if...

…you just got home from a challenging class or workout.

…you're beginning to feel sore.

…you have lingering pain from a recently healed injury.

Ice baths are crucial in countering the micro-tears that form in your muscles after an intense day of dancing. The cold constricts blood vessels, which helps stop delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in its tracks, as well as any inflammation and swelling.

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You should take a hot bath if...

…you've been feeling sore or achy for a few days.

…you're experiencing muscle spasms.

…you need to relax.

Hot baths cause your blood vessels to dilate, which helps increase blood flow and encourages your sore muscles to relax and recover faster. Multiple studies have shown that there are also a number of psychological benefits, including feelings of calm, comfort, and reduced anxiety.

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