Inflammation and Ice

Let’s examine the claim that ice reduces inflammation.

This is a critical point for everyone to understand – so much so that I have dedicated nearly all of chapter five of my book “Iced”  to explaining it – but, for now, I will just make a quick point to get you thinking.

Inflammation is phase one of the fundamental life-saving healing process. It is the first part of the universally-recognized three-phase process, which also includes the repair and remodel phases. These are all well-established and long-accepted scientific facts.

Fortunately, icing does not permanently affect this process.

It merely delays it.

Thus, soon after the ice is removed, the inflammatory process, which, by design, began immediately after the damage occurred, resumes.

Further, many people believe that icing reduces swelling.

Since this is the main reason most injured people use ice, I want to make sure that I do not mince my words here: icing does not reduce swelling.

In fact, getting “iced” often increases the amount of fluid in the damaged area by creating a backflow from the lymphatic vessels.

These two points with regards to inflammation and swelling are a little hard to believe aren’t they?

I understand, I really do.

“Ice It”, Photo from PhotoPin by Brian J. Matis

I distinctly remember when I first realized this. My face – like so many of the professional trainers and athletes that I work with – expressed some mix of confusion and anger towards those who pushed this “option” on the country.

After all, nearly everyone says (or at least thinks), “Put ice on that knee” whenever an athlete is carried off of the field or their child takes a tumble.

Regardless of the facts, in the minds of the misinformed, ice is “it.”

The problem is, as you will read my book, “it” doesn’t work and actually harmfully interferes with the body’s natural response to damage.

Odd isn’t it, that so many people actually (inadvertently) believe that their body’s natural – not to mention spectacularly complex – inflammatory process is a mistake and that they therefore need to manipulate and/or artificially regulate it by slapping something cold on the outside of their skin?

By Gary Reinl

Sponsored by Willow Valley Communities

To purchase a copy of “Iced!” by Gary Reinl click here.

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