You may cringe almost as much at the thought of jumping into an ice bath as if you actually took the plunge, but cold therapy has grown in popularity for a variety of reasons.
Claimed health benefits include everything from improved sleep and faster post-operative recovery to the ability to reduce swelling, inflammation and sore muscles. For athletes, this can mean faster recovery and faster turnaround times between workouts.
Thankfully, you can benefit from cold therapy without actually dousing yourself with ice. Plus, with these cold therapy devices, you can target specific parts of your body, meaning every athlete can benefit from cold therapy without leaving their home or even the couch.
1. Aircast Cryo Cooler
You probably know that you can use technology to help your muscles recover faster, everything from apps that help you cook healthier meals to smart water bottles and compression therapy devices. But cold therapy devices, such as the Aircast Cryo/Kuffic Cooler, provide clinically proven results in improving your body’s ability to heal, according to the company.
The Aircast Cryo/Kuffic Cooler uses an integrated pneumatic pump built within its lid to provide intermittent cold and compression therapy. The device is designed to support post-operative recovery and physical trauma, and can be used by any athlete in the training room with a physiotherapist and at home.
2. Game Ready Cold Therapy
Like the Aircast Cryo Cooler device, the Game Ready GRPRO 2.1 Cold & Compression Therapy Unit also integrates cold with intermittent compression therapy for a combination of modalities that can help you recover faster. The GRPRO 2.1 is a sophisticated device that you can use with a range of body wraps to customize different parts of your body, from elbows and ankles to knees.
The device rapidly circulates ice water to specific body parts through one of several sleeves. Then, air compression is used to relieve swelling and encourage blood flow. The system is portable and claims to be able to cool parts of your body faster, deeper and longer than regular ice or other cold therapy devices on the market.
3. Flexicold Gel Pack
If you’re on a tight budget and looking for something more reliable than a bag of frozen peas, check out NatraCure’s Flexicold Gel Cold Pack. These flexible ice packs are known to be America’s best selling cold pack brand. Ice packs are the original form of cold therapy and are still used today by athletes, physiotherapists and healthcare professionals. Unlike a block of ice, the gel included in Flexicold Gel Cold Packs remains flexible when cold. And because these devices are thin, they can be wrapped around body parts to increase surface area exposure.
The Flexicold is available in three sizes, can be purchased in pairs on Amazon, and is washable and reusable. It is the perfect tool for anyone who has never used cold therapy before, including athletes looking for post-workout relief.
4. Nice recovery Nice1
The Nice Recovery Nice 1 Cold + Compression Therapy System stands out from other devices because it is a completely iceless system. While it’s larger than a regular ice pack, the Nice Recovery claims to be the smallest and lightest cold and compression therapy device on the market. This includes the graphical touch screen used to operate the device. The entire device weighs 9 pounds and measures 8 by 8 inches in size.
Nice also sells a recovery sleeve that you can use with the Nice1 system. Sleeves are available for your ankle, hip, knee, and shoulder, but be forewarned, the equipment and sleeves don’t come cheap. That said, if you’re serious about recovery and want a cold therapy device that can do it all, check out the Nice1 System.
5. Coreflex Cryotherm Pneumatic
The CoreFlex Cryotherm Pneumatic Shoulder is another consumer device that combines the benefits of cold and compression. Because it is specifically designed for use on one part of the body (the shoulder), the applicability of this device is limited; However, the price is much more digestible than what other companies offer.
The device has a detachable pump that you can use to increase the pressure, which helps reduce swelling, reduce pain, and speed up recovery. To cool your shoulder, the device uses a removable gel pack that you can throw in the freezer ahead of time. The main downside is that the device will heat up as you use it and won’t maintain a steady cool temperature. However, it may not be that bad, as cold therapy is usually used for a short period of time, followed by compression, elevation, and rest.
6. Whole Body Cryotherapy
Whole body cryotherapy is perhaps the most extreme form of cold therapy available. Unless you are a professional athlete or physiotherapist, you would not be buying one of these devices for yourself.