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Most people are well aware of the basic cryotherapy technique of placing an ice packet on to an injured area of the body. What most people do not know, however, is that an ice massage is a much more effective treatment option than a stationary ice pack. Whether it is for a strain, tendon rupture, contusion, or general muscle ache, and ice massage can stimulate the same localized immune response that you can expect from a higher end cryotherapy session.

Ice Massages vs. Stationary Ice Packs

While a stationary ice pack is an effective means of treating a localized sports injury, ice massages have been proven to be much more effective. By using an ice cube, ice packet, or specialized ice massage device, you can help the cold therapy to penetrate far deeper into the soft tissues than what a stationary ice pack could achieve. By rotating the massage in a circular motion, you can soften up tissue, which will increase blood flow and ultimately allow the area to be chilled much more effectively. As the ice cold temperatures penetrate the soft tissue, the immune response that is triggered will be able to be distributed to a much wider and deeper range throughout the injured area.

How to Do An Ice Massage?

The first step in performing an ice massage is to fill up a small paper cup three-quarters full. Once the water in the cup is frozen solid, peel the paper off of the bottom of the cup, leaving about an inch of exposed ice. Next, place a thin towel or cloth over the injured area and then begin massaging it with the ice. Try to focus the massage on to the soft tissues, not the boney areas. Never massage the injured area by placing the ice directly on to the skin. Using a circular massage motion, massage the area of the injury for no more than 10 minutes at a time. Repeat the massage twice daily, spreading them out by at least a full hour.