Cold comfort for Hammers

West Ham United's players are embracing the use of cryotherapy - cold therapy - to help them to recover quickly from the strains of a 46-game npower Championship season.

On Wednesday, a number of players visited the cryotherapy chamber as an alternative to jumping in an ice bath, spending three minutes at temperatures of minus 120C (minus 184F) to aid recovery in their muscles following Tuesday's draw with Bristol City.

"This is something we used last season for injured players but this season we are using it for recovery purposes," confirmed head of sport science and sport medicine Andy Rolls.

"With so many games in a short space of time, we have been taking certain players there with the idea that the extreme cold temperature almost shocks the body and pulls the blood inwards to the vital organs and then when it comes out to the muscles it has a flushing out effect and removes any debris from the muscles left by excess work.

"This has been shown to help the body to recover. We intend to continue using this throughout the season.

"Ice and cold therapy has something that has always been used to reduce swelling. We regularly use ice baths and cryotherapy has been shown to be beneficial and a number of the players believe it has really helped them.

"Over a 46-game season, if you are always doing the recovery sessions on a bike or in swimming pool it is nice to do something different and this has been good for team-building.

"The players have to dress up in fetching protective clothing to prevent frostbite or the sweat from burning the skin, so it's good for team spirit and morale.

"It has to be taken seriously but it has a fun side as well."