But rather than dip into a 3-foot bath filled with ice cubes and water, many athletes are opting for a newer, cooler way to freeze their way to recovery.
"Essentially it looks like a tanning bed," Eric Rauscher said. "We circulate the same temperature air around the body inside a cylinder device."
Rauscher is an entrepreneur from Plano, Texas who has come up with a way to zap your muscles back into shape using liquid nitrogen.
"It is called Millennium Ice," Rauscher said. "The athlete steps into the machine which produces super cool air that dips to 166 degrees below zero. That air travels about half a millimeter into your skin, so we're not freezing tissues or organs. We are picking up cold sensors in the skin."
Those sensors send a distress signal to the brain, causing the body to think it is in jeopardy, drawing blood to the core, because the brain is going to protect the core, Rauscher says.
"So when the athlete steps out of the device, oxygenated blood flows back out to the muscles that need it," Rauscher said.
The entire process takes a mere 2-and-a-half minutes, much less time than a traditional ice bath.
Rausher owns six Cryo-Saunas, including one at Nike headquarters in Oregon and ESPN World in Florida.
He hopes to bring Millennium Ice to Denver in the next six months.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)