Massages

Cryotherapy: Effectiveness & Application in Massage Therapy – Massage Magazine

Summary

While traditional massage therapy is typically contraindicated for acute soft tissue injuries such as sprains, strains, contusions and immediate post-surgical trauma, in some cases massage therapists can still treat these normally contraindicated clients by offering such cryotherapy services as ice massage, cold packs and cold-water baths.

Cryotherapy is an age-old medical practice, first documented for use after surgery by Hippocrates in the fourth century BC. Physician James…….

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While traditional massage therapy is typically contraindicated for acute soft tissue injuries such as sprains, strains, contusions and immediate post-surgical trauma, in some cases massage therapists can still treat these normally contraindicated clients by offering such cryotherapy services as ice massage, cold packs and cold-water baths.

Cryotherapy is an age-old medical practice, first documented for use after surgery by Hippocrates in the fourth century BC. Physician James Arnott (1797-1883) was a pioneer of cryotherapies and described the use of cold for headache, skin infections, and other painful disorders.1 Sebastian Kneipp used cold water therapies around the same period for both animal and human health.

So, how does a modern-day massage therapist use cryotherapy to provide health benefits?

Ice Massage

The cryotherapy practice of ice massage can provide natural, opioid-free, pain relief for clients in need. Anyone can apply an ice pack or follow R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression & Elevation) to treat their own injuries; however, ice massage uses a slightly more skillful approach and can be additionally applied to treat areas where a client may not be able to comfortably reach on their own.

Ice massage is inexpensive and easy to apply when properly trained. There are a variety of applications or supplies that can be used to add ice massage to your practice:

1. Purchase paper Dixie cups, fill with water to the top of the cup and freeze. Tear away the top three-quarter-inch of the cup, turn the ice cup upside down and massage the surface area with the exposed surface of ice.

2. Purchase the re-useable plastic cups available on such retailers as Amazon and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

3. Use regular ice cubes with a small piece of paper towel or jar gripper.

It is recommended to keep a towel close to your ice massage to absorb melted ice from running over the client’s body or your equipment.

When applying ice massage, the standard is to lightly massage the skin with small, circular movements in a small, local area. Leaving ice in one place for too long can damage underlying tissues, causing greater pain and problems for the client.

Ice massage can be uncomfortable when it is first applied, as it is very cold. However, after prolonged exposure of two minutes or more, the analgesic effects usually begin, with pain relief and other benefits.2 Never massage an area with ice for more than 10 minutes and confine the treatment to lesser times depending on the client’s medical condition and response.

Cold Pack Options

When ice massage is contraindicated, such as working directly over new surgical stiches, a cold pack might be another cryotherapy option. Cold packs should be applied on top of a barrier such as a towel, on top of the body for a limited period of time to prevent tissue damage.

A cold modality …….

Source: https://www.massagemag.com/cryotherapy-effectiveness-application-in-massage-therapy-131659/