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Cryotherapy and Massaging Combined
The application of cryotherapy via rubbing or massaging a large, rounded ice cube (or ice filled container or frozen device) over the affected or targeted body area is most often used to treat small areas where muscle guarding, acute inflammation or edema is causing pain.
The Benefits of a Decrease in Skin and Muscle Temperature
Because of the direct contact with the skin, the ice rapidly decreases the skin temperature. The reduced temperature slows inflammation and serves as an analgesic. If continued for a longer period, it can also decrease intramuscular temperature, which also slows the transmission of pain signals. Superficial or skin rewarming occurs gradually and primarily takes place within the first 10 minutes following application. However, intramuscular temperatures remain depressed for approximately an hour following cessation of application.
The massaging action whereby cold massage is applied provides a gentle manipulation or mobilization of soft tissue.
The Mechanism of Action
These treatment benefits or characteristics make cold massage an affective and desirable intervention for application as soon as possible after injury occurs, usually within 24 to 48 hours. The decrease in temperature of the tissues being treated causes vasoconstriction, reducing the local circulation and the amount of fluid that is delivered to and therefore could diffuse into the surrounding area leading to edema and inflammation. Further, once the cold is removed and the tissues begin to rewarm, the vessels will dilate from their constricted status, and a resulting enhancement to blood flow to the area will occur delivering oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to the injured muscles, tendons, fascia, and ligaments.
Cold Massage as an Adjunct to Stretching
Research has shown that applying cold (cold massage or cold pack) to the muscles that have been stretched immediately after stretching, will help maintain the elongated length of the stretched muscle for a longer period of time. The consistent application of cold following stretching will help achieve a desired muscle length and range of motion sooner, as compared to not applying the cold following a stretching routine.
ProHealthcareProducts.com offers a variety of cold or ice massagers including ice cups, ice roller massagers, point relief rollers, and cryosphere shaped ice massagers.