What is Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy is the science of cold therapy, and it consists of applying cold temperatures to achieve certain effects within the body. Cryotherapy techniques can range from extreme–placing a person in a cryogenic chamber for a very short period, to simple–placing a bag of ice over a bump on your head.
At one point or another, just about everybody has been told to place a bag of ice on a bump, bruise or sore muscle, but there is a lot of confusion as to the value of doing so. Many people contend that using heat is better than using cold, and others are certain cold is better. So what's the real story?
Applied Immediately, Cold Works Best For Swelling.
For injuries involving swelling, quick application of cryotherapy is generally the best course of action. Cryotherapy works by slowing blood flow, reducing swelling, decreasing cell activity, dampening neural activity, reducing muscle spasms and masking pain. So if you bump your head, tear a muscle or do pretty much anything that causes swelling, the general rule is to quickly apply cold therapy to the affected area to slow and reduce the amount of swelling and secondary damage that may occur. Doctors and physical therapists include this version of cryotherapy in the health industry-recognized standard RICE Therapy (Rest the injury, Ice the injury, apply Compression to the injury, Elevate the injury), and it's normally applied for 24-48 hours after an injury occurs. Although RICE has been proven to be very effective for injury recovery, there is one major concern associated with using this procedure. More on that in a moment.
Cryotherapy Is Useful In Surgical Recovery
Along with injury applications, cryotherapy is commonly used in the recovery of certain surgeries as well, and in some cases it may be used for an extended period of time. Though ice and gel packs are sometimes used for a short period of time, for surgical procedures that may cause excessive swelling during recovery (ACL surgery, rotator cuff, etc.) hospitals commonly use an electric pump recirculation cryotherapy system.
Cryotherapy Isn't Always The Answer
Though there is no doubt cryotherapy works very well for many situations, there are certain circumstances where cryotherapy may not be the proper treatment (unconscious patient, paralysis, Reynaud's Syndrome, open wound, etc.), so if you have any questions regarding the use of cold therapy, please consult a qualified health professional.
If followed correctly, these three directions should help prevent potentially disastrous side effects, but it's important to note that these are simply guidelines. You may find that even 20 minutes is far too long to apply ice or frozen gels to your skin.
There is no doubt that applying ice or a frozen gel pack to a swelling injury can be beneficial, but by using ice or a frozen gel, you are actually placing your body at the risk of further, and possibly far greater, damage. Beyond that, the discomfort associated with using ice or frozen gels might keep you from using them for the amount of time required to accelerate healing, or, even worse, you may not use anything at all. That might actually make the swelling worse or make it last longer–which would have an adverse effect upon your recovery. Clearly, that's not the proper route to take.
So if ice and frozen gels are too cold for comfort, how do you keep from dancing on the razor's edge between reducing swelling and causing serious tissue damage?
Cold Bad! Cool Good!
Black Ice has developed the solution to the age-old problems associated with ice and frozen gel packs–Instead of trying to protect your skin from dangerously cold temperatures, why not change the actual temperature you apply to your skin in the first place?
Black Ice has developed Smart Ice™– a unique molecular alloy with amazing thermal properties. By "programming" this material to produce a safely regulated temperature output of a cool 52°F, Black Ice has created the CoolTherapy System–a new, Patented cryotherapy product that offers all of the benefits of ice and frozen gels–without exposing your skin to dangerously cold temperatures:
So Black Ice CoolTherapy delivers every positive benefit ice and frozen gels are associated with, but unlike ice and frozen gels, Black Ice doesn't drag along all of those potentially dangerous side effects ice and frozen gels carry with them–like frostbite, nerve palsy and other various forms of soft tissue damage.
And there are additional benefits to using Black Ice–By slowing blood flow to damaged tissue, Black Ice can help reduce bruising. Thanks to Smart Ice Technology, Black Ice is safe and comfortable enough to use directly against your skin, and because 52°F is a temperature that has been proven safe for extended skin contact, you can use Black Ice, uninterrupted and continuously, for as long as you need to (use as directed, of course). That gives you several major advantages over products based on ice or frozen gels:
1. Reusable Black Ice CoolTherapy cooling elements can be recharged in ice water in about 1 hour (about an hour and a half in the freezer). They can even be recharged in a refrigerator. Compare that to gels and ice that take over three hours to freeze.
2. Added safety–No need to remove the pack every 15-20 minutes and wait another 1-2 hours before reapplying.
3. Added convenience–Black Ice will last up to 1.5 hours on a single charge.
4. By CoolSwapping extra packs, long-term, uninterrupted CoolTherapy is possible. This can promote accelerated healing.
5. The regulated 52°F temperature output of Black Ice is safe enough for direct skin contact–no protective barrier is required. This increases efficiency and maximizes heat transfer, allowing quicker skin temperature reduction while promoting faster healing.
6. Continuous therapy allows the cooling to penetrate much deeper into muscle tissue–you get more effective relief.
7. Because the safely cool "Black Ice Effect" is actually comforting, you will be more encouraged to use it–which promotes quicker healing.
So, by using Black Ice CoolTherapy instead of ice or frozen gels, it's likely you will heal much faster–and you will be much more comfortable doing it.
No More Wet, Dripping Ice Bags
Because Black Ice cools at a safely regulated 52°F, the condensation that is always such a nuisance when using ice or frozen gel packs is greatly reduced–that means dripping wet ice bags are a thing of the past.
Drug-Free Pain Relief
Cold therapy helps dull pain by dampening nerve impulses. Pain masking can be a benefit as well. A simple demonstration of the concept behind pain masking would be pinching your finger once you receive a paper cut. Because the sensation of the pinch is stronger than the sensation of the pain from the cut, your brain gives more "weight" to the pinch–which dulls the sensation of the cut. By dampening neural impulses and cooling the area of the pain to a level that is comfortable yet still effective for pain masking, Black Ice CoolTherapy products can produce long-term, drug free relief from minor pain–whether it's muscle pain or pain associated with tooth ache, migraine or even minor burns. NOTE: As with any other cryotherapy product, Black Ice is not to be used on open wounds.