We ran a study in our lab this past year and found no significant phsyiological changes from contrast baths. However, psychologically (as measured by questionaires) people “felt” much better after the contrast.
I'd really like to know a bit more about your study, if you're willing to spare the time:
-Did you measure the effect of a single contrast shower, an extended program of contrast showers, or intermittent contrast showers?
-What exercise protocol did your test subjects perform before the showers?
-Did the showers improve capillary function, and would this help recovery?
With regard to the first question, it occurs to me that multiple sessions of contrast showers might de-sensitize athletes to this particular recovery method (I save contrast showers for after hard workouts).
Thanks for your time,