Putting ice on an injury, particularly something inflamed, is an essential part of healing. Cryotherapy, or using cold water, air, or ice to reduce inflammation is an age-old recovery method. Whether you take ice baths, sit in cold tubs, or just put a frozen bag of peas on your knees, chances are you’ve probably done the cold thing to your body after working out.
Sure, a bag of ice or frozen veggies work, but I’ve found that manipulative ice packs, much like the ones you find in the athletic trainer or physical therapists’ offices work best. They surround the body part and hold the cold longer, offering more relief and less hobbling about trying to refill your ice bag. But, I can be cheap, especially when it comes to something as simple as ice. I didn’t want to shell out a lot of money for a bulky cryotherapy pack.
The solution? Make your own. It is so easy that I’m kicking myself for not doing it sooner. Simply take 1 part rubbing alcohol and add it to 3 parts water*. Mix it in a freezer bag of your choice, freeze, and use over and over again. To make the small one in the above picture, I mixed 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol with 3/4 cup water in a quart-sized bag. The alcohol stops the water from completely freezing, and instead creates a slushy-like texture. Wrap it in a towel, t-shirt, or other thin piece of fabric to prevent damage to your skin and you are all set.
*If your ice pack is a little too frozen, let it thaw completely and add a touch more alcohol to it for a softer texture that is easier to manipulate.
Any other easy tips or tricks for icing or heating that you use?