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Polar Products Common Questions

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When should I use cold therapy?
For recent injuries: Cold therapy is often used during the first 48 hours of an injury. Place Soft-Ice® on the injured area using a cloth or any of our cold therapy wraps to help protect your skin from freezer burn or frostbite. Most doctors recommend using cold therapy for 20 minute intervals to relieve pain and reduce swelling.

Cold therapy can also be effective beyond 48 hours and with chronic pain. Personal preference often dictates the use of cold or heat therapy in these situations. See our many cold therapy and compression wraps.

How long does your product stay cold?
Our therapy cold packs are not designed to "stay cold". They are designed to stay soft and absorb heat quickly. Ice therapy requires that as much heat is drawn from the effected area within the first twenty minutes as possible. Soft-Ice® optimizes therapy by providing approximately 20 minutes of effective cold therapy.

How long will the packs last?
SoftIce® is designed to transfer heat with no chemical reactions taking place. The pack will work as long as there is no physical damage to it.

Are heat and ice therapy effective at providing relief of pain?
Yes. From The Johns Hopkins White Papers Arthritis (1995 P.9) "Warm compresses may relieve pain and ease stiffness by relaxing muscles. Heat treatments may also improve subsequent ability to exercise. In some people, however, application of cold packs provides better relief of pain, especially when pain and inflammation follow activity. Warm compresses or ice should be applied for no longer than 20 minutes. Ice should be wrapped in a towel and removed when the area becomes numb."
See our Soft Ice cold & hot therapy products

Yes. From The Johns Hopkins White Papers Low Back Pain (1995 P.26) "Pain relief may be obtained from the immediate application of ice after a sudden back injury that causes localized pain. In addition to relieving pain, ice reduces internal bleeding and swelling by decreasing blood flow. Commercial cold packs should be used for 10 to 20 minutes every 2 waking hours for 48 hours. In order to avoid frostbite, ice applications should not be left in place long enough to numb the skin. It is best to wait 48 hours before applying heat after an acute back injury. However, muscle relaxation from a hot, moist compress may ease chronic back pain or a more widespread backache that starts some time after a back injury." See our Back Pain Therapy Kit!

Yes. From The Johns Hopkins White Papers Arthritis- Treatment of Bursitis (1995 P.47, 48) "A suspected case of bursitis can safely be treated at home. Apply ice packs to the affected area for 20 minutes every hour or two to help reduce pain and swelling. After 48 hours, use heat to stimulate blood flow and help ease the pain."

When should I use moist heat therapy?
Moist heat therapy is often used with chronic injuries. Moist heat increases circulation and speeds recovery by bringing in fresh blood cells and removing wastes. Moist heat therapy can be effective in treating back pain caused by muscle strains and spasms. Arthritic and thematic pain is, also, often temporarily relieved with the use of moist heat. Apply the Thera-Temp® moist heat pack to the injured area for twenty minutes, repeating as needed. See our microwaveable moist heat wraps.

For recent injuries:
Thera-Temp® moist heat packs can be used after the first 48 hours and after swelling has gone down. It is usually a good idea to use both ice and heat therapy during this time, alternating ice and heat therapy sessions. Therapy sessions should last for twenty minutes intervals.

What is the difference between moist and dry heat?
Moist and dry heat are the most common therapeutic treatments for superficial heat therapy. However, moist heat is more effective than dry heat in providing deeper penetration of the tissue at the same temperatures. Moist heat also has additional capacity to change the tissue temperature rapidly and obtain more vigorous response from temperature receptors. Patients often report greater relief of symptoms from moist heat. See our microwaveable moist heat wraps.

How does moist and dry heat compare?
Comparison of moist and dry heat therapy indicates that the advantages of moist heat over dry heat are:

Moist heat is more effective than dry heat in deeper tissue heating
Moist heat penetrates more than dry heat at the same temperature
Moist heat has additional capacity to change the tissue temperature rapidly and obtain more vigorous response from temperature receptors
Patients often report greater relief of symptoms from moist heat
Moist heat is preferred over dry heat as a treatment or component of the treatment for the following conditions:
Pain, stiffness and secondary muscle spasm in chronic arthritis
Acute temporomandibular joint closed lock condition
Pain and muscle spasm on posterior neck and back in patients with ankylosing spondolytis
Pain and muscle tension in the acute and chronic phases of regional myofascial pain syndrome in children
Moist heat can be effective in temporary relief of pain for the following conditions:
Degenerative Joint Diseases
Sub acute and Chronic Arthritis Conditions
Diseases of Temporomandiblar Joint
Periathritis and Bursitis
Soft Tissue Trauma, Traumatic Arthritis
See our microwaveable moist heat wraps.

I get migraines and headaches, can your products help?
Cold therapy, applied to the head or neck, has been proven to help reduce migraine headache pain. Some people also find temporary relief with moist heat therapy to the head or neck. We recommend our Headache and Migraine kit to find the combination that works best for you.
I have arthritis, what would you suggest?
Sub acute and Chronic Arthritic Conditions: Superficial heat applications are valuable in relieving pain, stiffness, and secondary muscle spasm in conditions such as chronic arthritis. Ice therapy, in some people, helps relieve the pain.

From Arthritis Today, July-Aug 2000, "Drug-Free, All-Natural Power Over Pain" pages 35-38 "Packing' Heat - Just about everybody can use a quick fix for pain now and then. Exports told us that applications of warm, moist heat may do the trick." See our Thera-Temp® microwaveable moist heat.

From Arthritis Today, July-Aug 2000, "Drug-Free, All-Natural Power Over Pain" pages 35-38 "Give it the Cold Shoulder - If swollen inflamed joints are making life miserable, then just chill out, experts say. Applying something cold to those angry spots can decrease pain and swelling by restricting the blood vessels and preventing fluids from leaking into the surrounding tissues." Soft Ice cold & hot therapy products

Can hot and cold therapy be effective for repetitive strain injuries such as
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Trigger Finger, Tennis Elbow, and etc.?

Yes, see the following references.

From Postgraduate Medicine (Oct. 1997) Repetitive Strain Injury. The Goff Group "Use of ice packs, massage, NSAIDs, or topical pain relief agent is often helpful."
Roller Ice cold therapy massage

From Prime Care (June 1994) Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, U of Arizona Tucson "Most occupational musculoskeletal disorders respond to conservative measures such as ice or heat."

From American Family Physician (Feb. 1992) Occupational Repetitive Strain Injury University of Alberta, Edmonton "Common injuries involving the elbow, wrist and hand include epicondylitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and ulnar nerve entrapment. Conservative treatment consisting of rest, application of ice or heat and anti-inflammatory drugs is usually effective."
Cold & Hot Wrist Wraps; Cold & Hot Elbow Wraps

References: (Partial Listing)

Nanneman,. D.: Thermal Modalities: Heat and Cold. A Review of Physiologic Effects with Clinical Applications. Clinical applications. AAOHN Journal, 39 (2): 70-75, 1991.

Lehmann, J. F., Warren, C. G., and Scham, S. M.: Therapeutic Heat and Cold. Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research, March- April (99): 207-245, 1974.

Chung, S. C., Kim, H. S.: The Effect of the stabilization splint on the TMJ closed lock. Cranio. 11 (2): 95-101, 1993.

Tepperman, P. S., Devlin, M.: Therapeutic Heat and Cold. A practitioner’s guide. Postgraduate Medicine. 73 (1): 69-76, 1983.

Lindsey, B.: Patient Care Guidelines.: Cold and heat application in muscloskeletal injury. J. Emergency Nursing. 16 (1): 54-56, 1990.

Simpson, C. F.: Heat, Cold, or Both? Am. J. Nursery. February: 271-272, 1983.

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Baltimore, MD. White Papers. 1995.

Body Cooling Systems

How does the two leading cooling sysems compare - Polar and Steele?

What is the difference between the many different types of body cooling systems available?
There are many different cooling products available and the best one for you depends on your personal situation, activity and environment. We recommend you consult your health care professional prior to purchasing a cooling garment or system.
A summary of the systems: Evaporative
Cooling Power: Low*
Cost: Very Low
(*depending on humidity and outside variables) Cold packs
Cooling Power: High Cost: Low to Medium Phase Change
Cooling Power: Medium
Cost: Medium Active Cooling
Cooling Power: Very High
Cost: High to Very High

Evaporative Cooling: These products come in an assortment of garments that fit a wide variety of locations on the body. They are soaked in water to charge special polymer materials built into the garments. As the water evaporates (sometimes over several days), the garment provides surface cooling. These systems are typically low cost and light weight.Advantages
Low cost, light weight
works for an extended period of time Disadvantages
requires wetting of garment
loses effectiveness in higher humidity

Cold pack cooling: These products typically come in vests, neck coolers and wrist coolers. The products work by incorporating cold packs into pockets of the wraps. The cold packs are placed in a freezer or a refrigerator until ready for use and then are placed in pockets designed into the wraps. The packs will stay cold for 2 to 4 hours depending on environmental conditions.Advantages
medium cost, no wetting required
effective for 2-4 hours, highest cooling capacity
works in all environments
adjustable cooling with more / less packs
extra packs easily carried for extended cooling Disadvantages
requires access to freezer / refrigerator
requires time for packs to freeze
medium weight: 4-5 lbs.

Phase Change Cold Pack Cooling: These products are similar to the cold pack systems only use a phase change polymer in the cold packs or the garment. This technology controls the release of temperature to a specific range through out the cooling cycle. A typical temperature is 58 degree F. Phase change cold packs may be recharged in the freezer, refrigerator or in ice water. Advantages
charges in ice water, refrigerator, freezer
wetting not required, effective for 2-3 hours
provides moderate cooling temperature
works in all environments
extra packs easily carried for extended cooling Disadvantages
Higher cost system, high cost of spare packs
Lower cooling efficentcy than cold packs
medium weight: 5-7 lbs.
medium cooling capacity

Active Cooling: These products typically incorporate a coolant, often ice water, that is circulated from a reservoir by a pump system through channels or tubes embedded in a vest. Often a hood for the head is incorporated into the system also. The temperature of the circulating coolant usually can be adjusted. The system operates on batteries, house or car current. This type of system will provide many hours of cooling before the ice and water needs to be recharged. Advantages
Most effective cooling - core body cooling
adjustable cooling temperature
extended cooling time between recharges
no wetting required, works in all environments
light weight garments Disadvantages
very high cost system
tethered system limits mobility
requires ice water reservoir

Our Customers Say ...

"I know I’ve found a new key to my post-ride recovery. After each ride, I take a recovery drink with me into the shower, clean off and then put the ice wraps on while I cook and eat."-- Phil Gaimon, 24, rides for Kenda Pro Cycling

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