Cold or ice therapy is in basics terms cooling down a part of your body for a variety of benefits. In this article I’ll be going over 5 benefits of cold and ice therapy, and also telling you how to properly perform ice therapy on different parts of your body.
The skin and muscle density at different parts of the body is different so target joints, ligaments, and muscles are at different depths under the skin so will require different icing times. We’ll cover all of the after these benefits, so let’s get into it!
5 Benefits of Cold and Ice Therapy
Slow the flow
Putting a cold pack or wrap on a certain part of your body say your knee for example will slow blood flow to the muscle and surrounding tissue. This reduces inflammation fast and effectively. Combine icing with elevation to reduce inflammation quickly. Lower blood flow should also decrease swelling, which is a cause of pain around an injury.
No more spasms
Cold therapy can work to stop muscle spams and also the associated pain.
The ice will also numb the area – alongside the reduced blood flow this works effectively to reduce your sore areas, ouch!
Alongside reducing inflammation, if you can get ice on an injury fast enough it can actually prevent inflammation entirely. Ice those injuries!
With reduced blood flow, it would make sense that if there’s any bleeding from the tissues it would be slowed down. Just because it’s bleeding doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ice it, in fact it would be even more beneficial in that case!
Relax and relieve your muscles
The numbing and reduced blood flow can flush the blood out of your muscles and allow them to relax after intense exercise or athletics. Use ice therapy to recover your muscles faster than ever and be ready for the next session.
How to ice wrap and use ice packs
The most common areas you’ll find people icing are the shoulders, lower back, knees, and ankles – however you can apply ice anywhere you like. These listed areas are so popular that there are even specially designed ice wraps that fit on the body part like:
These devices not only provide cold therapy, but also cold therapy’s partner in crime, compression. Compression in combination with the cold is the ultimate pain relief and recovery combo for your muscles, joints, aches, and pains. In fact I try to do it after almost every workout session. Here’s how to properly perform ice therapy.
How to perform ice therapy and use cold packs properly
Icing seems intuitive but there are definitely a couple of tips to follow to keep yourself safe and treat your body right.
- Never put ice in direct contact with the skin, always have cloth or material between the two surfaces.
- Ice for around 15-25 minutes depending on the depth or pain or which muscle you’re trying to target. Generally 10-15 minutes for extremities like ankles, wrists, and your neck. For your shoulders and knees you can do around 15 minutes, and for the back/legs and more beefier areas you can do around 15-20 minutes.
- Ice time is also somewhat dependant on your body weight so be logical about it – 10 minutes of icing on a 100lb person is not the same as on a 200lb person.
- Periodically check if the skin is becoming too red/pink – if it is, remove the ice pack.
- Wait around 1 hour between icings to let the skin thaw out.
- If you leave the ice pack on for too long, it can damage skin and nerves.
Hopefully these benefits and tips provide you an effective ice therapy session. Share the benefits of cold therapy with your loved ones and make sure they do it properly!Find Mobility Guardian on Google+