I don’t usually engage in forms of exercise that would conclude with me soaking in an ice bath or grabbing a bag of peas out of the freezer, but I know many of you do. I do, however, have some background knowledge on cold modalities as I’ve learned through being a swim coach and I thought it would be nice to share.
Cold Water Immersions/Ice Baths – Ice Baths seem to be the most popular choice for many people in the blog world. For some I know this method works, but I think that it should be used with caution as the temperature of the bath should never dip below 55 degrees and never exceed 10-15 minutes.
Ice Massages – I personally think Ice Massages are the best form of icing because “ice cups” incorporate rubbing/massaging and the cold allows you to penetrate the tissue better. To use this method fill a cup with water and allow it to freeze. Remove ice from the cup and rub over desired area for no longer than 2 minutes at a time.
Biofreeze/Similar products – Biofreeze can be a great topical solution, but it should be noted that it shouldn’t be used as an anti-treatment agent. Some athletes continually numb the area instead of trying to get to the source of the injury – don’t fall into this trap.
Ice Packs – Ice Packs, bags of frozen veggies, and Ziploc baggies full of ice can all serve as excellent tools for treating sports related injuries. Skin shouldn’t be in contact with ice for longer than 10-15 minutes and the smaller the area (and the tissue mass) the less time you should spend icing.
Ice towels + Cold Sprays – Some people are very sensitive to ice. If you are anti-ice due to sensitivity or other reasons using damp towels or cool sprays over injured areas can provide the same sensation as a stronger method.