There’s a good chance there’s an ice pack in your freezer. And whenever you have back pain or knee soreness, you reach for it. You do this because you’ve been told that icing reduces swelling, speeds up the healing process, and helps you recover from hard workouts that batter your body.

You’ve seen the best athletes in the world doing it, too. There are dozens of photos of LeBron James with his knees wrapped in ice packs and his feet in a bucket of ice — and plenty of photos of Michael Jordan doing the same thing before that, too. Tiger Woods used to talk often about regular ice baths all throughout his comeback to the PGA Tour. Heck, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes recently appeared in a DIRECTV commercial sitting in a tub of ice.

You think you’re doing it right, just like all those pros. But it’s been 50-plus years since Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitching legend Sandy Koufax first appeared in a 1965 Sports Illustrated photograph with his left arm submerged in a vat of ice, an iconic moment in sports. And since then, no piece of published, peer-reviewed research has shown definitively that ice is beneficial to the healing process. In fact, recent studies have shown the opposite. Ice can delay healing, increase swelling, and possibly cause additional damage to injured tissues.

That should stop you cold.

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