A recent paper has looked at how cold-water immersion (temperatures of less than 15degrees Celcius) can help reduce the effect of DOMS. Cold-water immersion, or 'ice-baths' as they are becoming more commonly known are becoming one of the more popular approaches used after exercise. Team-based sports have been using ice-baths for recovery for several years now, with anecdotal evidence suggesting this method of post-match recovery has some depth. To pardon the pun.
Back to the study: The exact temperature, duration, frequency, type of exercises in the water and settings of cold-water immersion therapy were varied. The results for muscle soreness were “pooled” together which indicated significant results in favour of cold-water immersion at 24, 48, 72 and 96 hour follow ups.
It was also found that if jogging or running based exercises were incorporated into the sessions the results had a significantly larger effect in favour of cold water immersion. Other benefits also included lower rates of fatigue and potential improved rates of recovery immediately after the ice-bath. This could be due to a combined hydrotherapy (rehabilitation exercises performed in water) and cryotherapy (cooling helps to rebalance oxygen supply and demand) approach. The benefit of the combined therapy is the improved return of blood flow to the muscles and any by-products produced by the body are flushed out by the body's lymphatic system.
So currently, the evidence seems to point us in the direction that cold-water therapy is beneficial more so than passive interventions of rest or no intervention.
Here's a link to the study