While infrared saunas and cryotherapy chambers are all the rage these days, Nicholas M. Licameli of Professional Physical Therapy encourages people to remember exactly why they're recovering—to help their muscles grow. "Muscles do not grow in the gym. Training causes muscles to be broken down and become weaker. It is during recovery that muscles make adaptive changes," he explains.
These specialized passive recovery tactics probably won't do any harm, but if you don't have access to them, it's not a huge deal. Across the board, experts agree that the most important passive recovery tactic is sleep. "Our brains make new connections and truly absorb new knowledge during the rest, digest, and recovery phase, which occurs after our workout and usually during sleep."
Licameli also recommends utilizing deep breathing and meditation as a form of passive recovery. "Sleep and deep breathing or meditation are the most important forms of passive recovery hands down," he says. "I have seen drastic improvements in patients with various types of pain and diagnoses after implementing proper sleep, along with deep breathing and meditation. Deep breathing and meditation increases parasympathetic nervous system activity (rest, digest, recover) and decreases sympathetic nervous system activity, like your fight-or-flight response."