On Ice

Effects of Ice
Ice initially constricts local blood vessels and decreases tissue temperature. It then dilates deep tissue vessels and increases tissue temperature. These two responses alternate and are called the Hurting Response. The effect of this response is to:

First Aid
Since the damage caused by uncontrolled swelling is often as great as or greater than that of the initial injury; and because healing time increases in direct proportion to the amount of swelling, it is very important to use ice immediately.

Rice for First Aid

Trainers and Physicians used to switch from ice to heat after the initial stages of an injury. Now ice is regarded as the best treatment throughout the whole course of an injury, for all stages of rehabilitation and for the treatment of chronic problems. Extensive research and clinical experience have proven ice to be the treatment of choice due to its ease of application and effectiveness at relieving pain and muscle spasm, allowing increased motion and speeding the healing process.

Ice and Exercise

After the initial stage of an acute injury (24-48 hours) or in chronic problems, ice is combined with motion. Once numbness is achieved use this pain free state to do range of motion exercises stressing circular, spiral and diagonal movements. Avoid painful movements. Continue until the numbness wears off then stop. If time permits, re-ice. This can be done 2-3 times a day.

CAUTION: Ice causes changes in the collagen of tissue and strenuous exercise while numb with ice can result in further damage.

3 Treatment Methods
1. ICE MASSAGE - Freeze water in a styrofoam cup then tear the edges exposing the ice yet leaving enough cup to hold onto. Using a gentle, continuous, circular motion rub the ice over the problem area for 5-10 minutes.

2. ICE BATH - Immerse the part (ideal for hands or feet) in a bucket of water then add ice. If fingers or toes are not involved it may be more comfortable to leave them out. Immersion should b e for 5-10 minutes (20 minutes maximum.)

3. ICE PACK - Put crushed ice in a towel or in a plastic bag and then on a towel and place over the part to be treated. Use for 15-30 minutes.

During treatment with ice you will feel the following stages:


Stop as soon as numbness is achieved to prevent possible cold damage. Maximum ice time is 20-30 minutes at a sitting.

Ice therapy is very safe when used within the treatment time recommendations. It is not recommended:
* in rheumatoid conditions
* in Reynaud's disease
* with cold allergic people
* in paralysis or areas of impaired sensation
* directly over superficial nerve

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Therapy To Go
Melanie S. Bruno

(Reprinted from: Take Care: Your Center for Natural Health 238 East 5th Ave., Tallahassee, Fl 32303)