What is cold therapy?

Cold Therapy
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What are the types of cold therapy?

Here are some types of cold therapy. If you use an ice towel, ice pack, or cold pack, put a thin cloth between the towel or pack and your skin.

  • Ice towel. Wet a towel with cold water, and squeeze it until it is just damp. Fold the towel, place it in a plastic bag, and freeze it for 15 minutes. Remove the towel from the bag and place it on the injured or sore area.
  • Ice pack. Put about 1 lb (0.5 kg ) of ice in a plastic bag or ice pack you buy at the store. Add enough water to barely cover the ice. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal it. Apply the ice pack to the affected area.
  • Cold packs.
    • Use a bag of frozen peas or corn. They are inexpensive, last 10 to 20 minutes, and mold well to your body.
    • Mix 3 cups (710 mL ) water and 1 cup (235 mL ) rubbing alcohol in a freezer bag. Seal the bag and place it in the freezer until slush forms. Refreeze the bag when the slush melts.
    • Buy cold packs that can be reused. Store them in your freezer. Some of them are designed to wrap around an injured area, such as an arm or a knee.
  • Ice bath. To make an ice bath, fill a bathtub about halfway with cold water and ice. Ice baths are most often used by athletes. Check with your doctor before using one. They can cause dangerously low body temperatures, heart problems, and frostbite.
  • Cold therapy machine. This is sometimes called "iceless therapy" because ice isn't used directly on your body. A small cooler holds ice and water. A pad wraps around the part of your body that you are treating. Cold water runs through a tube between the cooler and the pad. Follow the instructions that come with the machine.

Why are ice and cold packs used?

Ice and cold packs can relieve pain, swelling, and inflammation from injuries and other conditions, such as arthritis.

How to make an ice towel

Follow these simple steps to make your own ice towel. You can use it to help relieve pain, swelling, or inflammation.

  1. Wet a towel.

    Use cold water, and squeeze the towel until it is just damp.

  2. Freeze the towel.

    Fold the towel, place it in a plastic bag, and freeze it for at least 15 minutes.

  3. Place the frozen towel, in the bag, on the injured or sore area.

    Always keep a thin cloth between your skin and the ice.

  4. Refreeze the towel in the bag for future use.

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