Keep off the Ice Challenge

Published Aug 25, 2014, 5:09 am IST
Updated Mar 31, 2019, 9:47 am IST
When you dump a bucket of ice on your head, your body temperature can drop drastically
Corey Griffin played a key role in turning the ice bucket challenge into a viral sensation on the internet to raise funds for research into Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) (Photo: AP)
 Corey Griffin played a key role in turning the ice bucket challenge into a viral sensation on the internet to raise funds for research into Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) (Photo: AP)
Actress Pamela Anderson recently refused the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Ice Bucket Challenge stating that the ALS Association must stop animal testing. In her social media profile, Anderson stated that she was appalled at the manner in which holes were made in the brains of mice for testing the effects of medicines.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has spread like wildfire on social media with celebrities, sports personalities and even politicians like George W. Bush accepting it. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Once diagnosed, an individual can live for two to five years eventually leading to death.
The Ice Bucket Challenge has created awareness of the disease and also collected funds for research. But should it be taken by all? Experts say no.
‘It can hinder cellular activities’
Filling a bucket of ice and pouring it over the body is a wrong practice, say doctors. The cold compression theory or ice-therapy is a medical treatment used in specific medical conditions like injury, swelling and surgical conditions. To apply this therapy to the whole body without any medical condition is not right. 
Dr J.V.S. Vidya Sagar, head of department of orthopedics and sports medicine at Aware Global Hospitals said, “The biological activity of the cell stops at low temperatures. There could also be risk of breathing difficulties. Being exposed to prolonged cold can result in shock and harm people with heart problems or airway diseases such as asthma and can also lead to sudden death.”
The sudden pouring of cold water stops all metabolic activity in the body for some time. Once the body reaches normal temperature, the activity starts again. Hence to play around with the clock without any medical reason is not a sane effort.
Experts also say that those who have ice baths as an anti-aging therapy are mistaken as there is no scientific evidence to prove the same.
Cold therapy is required for athletes
Heavy or strenuous matches involve a lot of micro trauma to the muscles, which results in soreness. Applying ice helps in reducing pain and spasms, which promotes muscle relaxation and makes them fit for the next match. Cold compression therapy helps to reduce pain and swelling from sports activities or injuries to soft tissues. 
It is also useful for sprains, strains, pulled muscles and ligaments.
Medical experts use it for acute injury and also surgical procedures.
Dr Vaibhav Mehta, expert of sports medicine at Apollo Life Center said, “This therapy reduces the core temperature of the body which immediately causes constriction of blood vessels of major muscles. It is followed by an increased blood flow.
The blood rush helps in removing waste products and increases oxygen in the blood vessels and gives a pleasant sensation. But it is not advisable for those suffering from heart problems, high blood pressure and sensory deficits. These therapies must be taken strictly under medical advice only according to the defined protocol.”