What is Black Ice CoolTherapy?
Though the benefits of cold therapy are undisputed, the problem with traditional cold therapy methods (ice, frozen gels, etc.) is that they are simply too cold to safely apply to human tissue for more than ten to twenty minutes at a time–any longer, and you risk a case of frostbite. To address this issue, most traditional cold pack manufacturers make it very clear that you should never use their product for more than twenty minutes at a time (some say even shorter periods), and if they don't supply one, most strongly suggest you also place some sort of protective barrier between your skin and the cold pack (usually a wet towel or washcloth).
So, based on what we know about traditional cold therapy products, here's an interesting question: Why in the world would you use a product you have to physically protect yourself from?
That was the question that perplexed the Black Ice product development team. And the answer they came up with was pretty simple–We use these products (ice and frozen gels) because we have no choice! We simply don't have any other affordable options.
Needless to say, we didn't care much for our own answer. That's why Black Ice Modular CoolTherapy Packs are designed to finally offer you a win-win option when it comes to cold therapy–an option that can be more effective, more comfortable to use, hassle-free and much, much safer to apply than ice or frozen gels.
Unlike ice or gels, you can use Black Ice CoolTherapy continuously for as long as you need relief. Uninterrupted application allows the CoolTherapy to penetrate much more deeply into muscle tissue than traditional products–helping reduce deep-seated pain and swelling and helping you heal more quickly.
With a temperature output of about 32°F, ice and frozen gels are painfully cold to use for any amount of time–so cold, in fact, they will give you frostbite if you apply them for very long. Instead, Black Ice Modular CoolTherapy Packs produce a temperature output of 52°F–a temperature that's safe and comfortable to the touch–yet still very effective for reducing swelling and controlling pain and muscle spasms.
Because they are so cold, ice and frozen gels require several precautions for safe use: You must time the application, you must protect your skin with a washcloth or something similar, you must remove the ice/gel after no more than twenty minutes, and then you must wait up to two hours before re-applying. You also have to deal with the pain of applying something so cold to your skin (which may just make you decide the pain isn't worth the effort), and then there's the dripping bags caused by condensation or leaks. Sounds like a lot of hassle, doesn't it?
How about this instead: Mount your charged Modular CoolTherapy Packs on your wrap, place the wrap on your body so the packs contact the area of pain, go about your life. Swap out packs when you need to. That's it. And dripping bags? You'll find the messy condensation that comes along with ice and gels is virtually eliminated with Black Ice. Simple, comfortable and effective. What can be more hassle free than that?
Ice and frozen gels produce a temperature output of about 32°F. This temperature has been proven dangerous to apply to the skin without taking several precautions: a ten to twenty minute maximum application time followed by a two- hour "rest phase," and a barrier should be placed between the skin and pack. If any of these steps are not followed, the use of ice or frozen gels are likely to create permanent injury.
To avoid the dangers and hassles of using ice or frozen gels, hospitals regularly use sophisticated pumping systems to deliver constant-temperature cryotherapy to patients recovering from surgery. These machines are normally set to temperatures between 50-55°F because this temperature range has been proven to deliver optimum cold therapy benefits while eliminating the risk of frostbite or nerve damage–even over extended periods of application.
Specifically engineered to produce a regulated 52°F temperature output, Black Ice Modular CoolTherapy Packs deliver hospital-grade relief with a level of safety that is simply not possible with ice or frozen gels.
Note: Though Black Ice is much safer to use than ice or frozen gels, some people are more sensitive to cold than others. To be safe, you must still monitor the injury site while using CoolTherapy. Each time you swap Modular CoolTherapy Packs, you must check the site for a color change or undue numbness or pain. If either of these are present, discontinue use for 2 hours. This step is especially important if applying CoolTherapy to areas of lower blood flow like fingers and toes, and also for those who suffer from cold- sensitivity or conditions such as Reynaud's.
I'm really confused. I've heard so many people say cold is better for injuries, but I've heard plenty of others who say heat's better. Can you please tell me the real story?
There is indeed a lot of confusion as to what's better–cold or heat–for injury recovery. Part of that reason is because, when pain is involved, different therapies may work for different individuals.
But when it comes to swelling, a vast majority of doctors, trainers and other medical professionals agree that, for at least the first 24 to 48 hours (sometimes much, much longer), the application of safely-applied cold therapy is the best course of action. And it's actually very easy to understand why.
Swelling is caused by a massive rush of fluids to the injury site. When subjected to cold temperatures, our tissues and blood vessels constrict. So, if you apply cold to an area of swelling, the engorged blood vessels and tissue begin to contract–which squeezes the excess fluid from the area. Constricting the blood vessels around the injury also slows the flow of additional fluids to the site, which, in turn, prevents the swelling from becoming worse.
If you are now asking yourself why we should prevent swelling in the first place, there are several good reasons–Here's one: When we sustain an injury, cells, the building blocks of our muscles, tendons, etc., are damaged. To recover, these cells must be replaced. But if excess fluids are present, or being pumped to the injured area, the cellular rebuilding process will be inhibited. That means it will take longer to repair the damage. That additional time directly affects the amount of time it takes you to make a full recovery from your injury.
Here's another–If you've ever broken a bone, and it had to be put in a cast, it's very likely the injured area was first wrapped in a compression wrap, and you were told to ice the area for a minimum of 24 hours. The reason is simple. The area that sustained the injury is likely swollen, and the compression wrap and cold therapy help reduce the swelling. If the doctor were to immediately place the injured bone in a cast, once the swelling finally subsided, the cast would no longer fit properly, and you would likely be in for another trip to the doctor for another cast.
Having said all of this, when swelling is involved, there is a time when cold therapy is no longer needed–when the swelling has subsided. This usually occurs within 24-48 hours–assuming cold therapy is properly applied immediately following the injury. This is generally the case for minor injuries, but in the case of more severe injuries (high-grade sprains, surgery recovery, etc.), it might be prudent to apply cold therapy for several days, weeks or even months.
There is also a time when cold therapy should not be used at all–generally it should not be used on open wounds, on infants or very young children or on patients with paralysis in the area. Those who suffer from cold-related sensitivity (like those who suffer from Reynaud's Syndrome) should use cold therapy with extra care.
So, there is no doubt that applying cold to an area of swelling will help reduce that swelling. Just be careful how you apply your cold therapy. Because if your skin temperature becomes too cold, those vessels and tissues will constrict so tightly they will completely cut off the flow of blood to the area. The result? The massive die-off of cells, and, very likely, permanent damage to muscles, nerves, and other vital tissue. Ahhhh, so that's why doctors tell us to use cold therapy for no more than 20 minutes at a time! Yes it is.
Heat, on the other hand, encourages blood flow by helping dilate blood vessels. You can already see why heat is likely the last thing you would apply to a swelling injury–You certainly don't want to open the floodgates and create even more swelling. But, after the swelling has subsided, a little extra blood flow will help provide additional nutrients and oxygen those young cells can use to strengthen themselves.
Okay, you've answered my question about heat or cold for swelling. What about pain? Can Black Ice really deliver drug-free pain relief?
Yes it can, but the reasons can be a bit more complex than they are for addressing swelling. The reduction of swelling through the constriction of blood vessels is an easy concept to understand because it's mechanical–Squeeze a water hose, and the flow of water slows. That's no different than constricting a blood vessel and reducing blood flow. In many cases, the mere reduction of swelling reduces pressure, leading to a reduction in pain.
Other types of pain are a little more difficult to understand–In fact, there is still much to learn about pain and how to control it. One look in a pharmacy's pain-relief section will tell you that. We do know different people experience pain, and pain relief, in different ways. For some, there's nothing better than a nice warm heating pad for a sore back. For others, a heating pad doesn't do a thing. In the case of heat, unless swelling is involved, it's simply a matter of personal preference, so it's best to experiment for yourself.
We do have some information about cold therapy for pain–We know cold temperatures inhibit the conduction of impulses in nerve fibers. This can dull the sensation of pain, but the amount of pain relief varies with the severity of the injury, the temperature of the cold therapy and the sensitivity of the individual. Be aware that the colder the temperature of the cold therapy, the more likely you are to contract frostbite. That's because colder temperatures can completely cut off nerve impulses–leading to severe numbness. Numbness will prevent your brain from recognizing dangerously cold temperatures. That is likely to lead to frostbite or other permanent tissue damage. Patients with Reynaud's or other cold sensitivity issues must be particularly careful while using cold therapy for these reasons. Black Ice addresses this problem by producing a temperature that's well above that of ice or frozen gels, but at a level that is still low enough to dampen those nerve impulses. The result? For many, it really is drug-free pain relief.
What about muscle spasms?
Just as it helps with pain, Black Ice CoolTherapy can often help dampen muscle spasms by slowing the conduction of nerve impulses. Just apply CoolTherapy following the same procedures you would for swelling or pain. If you choose traditional cold therapy instead, be sure it is applied for no longer than twenty minutes at a time, that you use a protective barrier between your skin and the ice/ gel pack, and that you allow two hours between applications. You may find that even twenty minutes of traditional cold therapy is too uncomfortable. If so, reduce the time to ten or fifteen minutes per application. If that sounds like too much pain and hassle, used as directed, Black Ice can be used continuously to help reduce muscle spasms.
When I CoolSwap Modular CoolTherapy Packs, I've noticed the second, third, forth, (and so on) packs last longer than that first one I used. What's up with that?
That's a great question–Here's the answer: That first Modular CoolTherapy Pack has to do more work than the following packs. That's because the first pack must expend quite a bit of "cooling power" just to lower your skin temperature into the proper range for CoolTherapy to occur. Once your skin temperature is down, it takes much less work to keep it there. So, that first Modular CoolTherapy Pack does the heavy lifting, while the rest of the packs merely hold your skin at optimum temperature. Since the following packs don't have to work as hard, they usually last longer.
Can I continue my workouts while wearing my Black Ice Modular CoolTherapy Packs?
It depends on the injury. If you have golfer's elbow, then running is not an issue. But if you are using Black Ice on a knee injury, then we strongly urge you not to run–or even walk unless needed.
Why? Because the very first item in the RICE cold therapy regimen practiced by nearly every professional trainer or doctor is Rest (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). You simply must give the injury time to heal, and if you don't, you will likely cause secondary cellular damage that will only increase your recovery time–or lead to a much more severe injury.
So, if you really want to get back to 100% as quickly as possible, take a break from activity, use your Black Ice, and elevate if possible. Running on an injured ankle, foot or knee, or playing with tennis or golfer's elbow, is simply counter productive–no matter what some cold therapy companies tell you.
Having said that, if you are icing after a workout, or even pre-cooling beforehand (as opposed to using CoolTherapy on a chronic or acute injury), then, yes, Black Ice can certainly help.
What's inside the Black Ice Modular CoolTherapy Pack?
Smart Ice, the coolant contained inside the Black Ice Modular CoolTherapy Pack, is a molecular alloy formulated to produce a 52°F temperature output once "charged." The material is chemically classified as a light mineral oil, so if you were to break a pack open (please don't do that), you would find a very thin, oily liquid.
Is the coolant toxic?
The coolant is neither toxic nor carcinogenic. It is a light-grade mineral oil, so, like most oils, some people may be sensitive to the liquid should it come in contact with their skin. In the unlikely event of a pack leak, immediately wash any skin exposed to the liquid with a grease-dispersing soap (liquid dishwashing soaps work very well). Also remove any wraps or clothing exposed to the liquid, and wash them before wearing them again.
How do you recharge a Black Ice Modular CoolTherapy Pack?
You can recharge your Modular CoolTherapy Packs in any of three ways*:
Refrigerator (approximately 3 hr. recharge time)
Freezer (approximately 1.5 hr. recharge time)
Ice water (approximately 1 hr. recharge time)
It's important to remember to keep the packs flat while charging.
*Do not charge at temperatures below -5°F
Charge times may vary slightly
Why does it only take an hour to recharge a Black Ice Modular CoolTherapy Pack in ice water? Since the freezer is much colder, shouldn't the freezer charge a pack faster?
Good question–and there is a massively complex answer. But since heat transfer is a job we leave to the engineers and their annoying little calculators, we're going to paraphrase here (Please don't tell the engineers–They really hate the term paraphrase. . . .): Thanks to the physics of heat transfer, water transfers heat much more efficiently than air. That means heat is pulled from the pack faster in ice water, which makes it charge quicker.
Super Fun Home Science Project! (adult supervision not required . . . unless you tend to be clumsy): Leave a large plastic bowl of water on the kitchen counter for about an hour, then stick your hand in it. Though the water is the same temperature as the air in the room, it feels cooler because it's pulling more heat from your hand as compared to the air around you.
How do the Modular CoolTherapy Packs attach to the CoolSwap Wraps?
Black Ice Modular CoolTherapy Packs quickly and easily attach to CoolSwap Wraps with built-in hook and loop fasteners.
How do you use Black Ice CoolTherapy Products?
Charge the Modular CoolTherapy Pack, attach the pack to the CoolSwap Wrap then place so the pack surface (not the wrap) fits comfortably over the targeted area. Loop the wrap around your body, arm, wrist, etc. Adjust fit with the Velcro tab at the end of the wrap. Some products also allow for compression adjustment. In that case, just use the adjustment tabs to vary compression. For some products, it may be easier to simply place the Modular CoolTherapy pack on the injury area first and then roll the CoolSwap Wrap around it.
So I can put the Modular CoolTherapy Packs directly against my skin?
Absolutely. In fact, that's the most effective way to apply Black Ice CoolTherapy. Since ice and frozen gels are so cold, you must use some sort of protective barrier to keep them from directly contacting your skin. But Black Ice Modular CoolTherapy Packs produce a regulated output of 52°F–a temperature that is safe enough for direct skin contact.
Wow! The Modular CoolTherapy Pack feels super cold! What's wrong?
Not a thing. If you pull your charged Modular CoolTherapy Pack from the freezer, it will have an internal temperature identical to that of the freezer. So, since most freezers are set to about 0°F, the moment you pull the pack from the freezer, it's going to be 0°F. There is a great advantage to that–which we will get to in a moment.
Once the Modular CoolTherapy Pack comes out of the freezer, it will immediately begin to warm up. In just a few minutes, the output of the pack will rise to operating temperature (about 52°F), then it will remain at that temperature until the pack is discharged. If your skin is sensitive to colder temperatures, we recommend you leave the Modular CoolTherapy Pack out for a few minutes before putting it on–or charge your packs in the refrigerator or ice water.
Now that advantage–Since the charged Modular CoolTherapy Pack comes out of the freezer at the same temperature as the freezer, it is storing "excess cooling power". That extra cooling power gives you a big advantage–The colder temperature accelerates the drop in your skin temperature, so CoolTherapy initiates quicker. But because it only takes a few minutes for the Modular CoolTherapy Pack to reach operating temperature, you never have the concerns caused by ice or frozen gels, which will stay at about 32°F for well over an hour–cold enough, and long enough, to give you a severe case of frostbite.
Does Black Ice require batteries?
Nope–just a freezer, refrigerator or ice water.
Can children use Black Ice CoolTherapy?
Absolutely–With a couple of obvious considerations. Never place Black Ice on an infant.
Children can wear Black Ice, but not without adult supervision. Some children (and adults) are sensitive to cooler temperatures, so Black Ice may not be the best solution for them. Since the CoolSwap wraps are adjustable, it is very, very important to make sure they are not worn too tightly.
Sometimes the Modular CoolTherapy Packs make me itch. What's wrong?
Some people are extremely sensitive to cool temperatures, so Black Ice may not work for them. It is more likely foreign material has found its way onto the pack surface. If you are experiencing discomfort, try washing the pack in soapy water (dishwashing liquid works best). It's always best to wash your Modular CoolTherapy Packs once you finish using them for the day.
How long do Black Ice Modular CoolTherapy Packs work?
The cooling duration of a fully charged Black Ice Modular CoolTherapy Pack is generally dependent on two things: ambient temperature and the amount of heat your body is producing. Since individual metabolism and activity level vary between any two people, it is impossible to guarantee how long a single pack will last before it is completely discharged. In general use (sitting at home, recuperating from an injury), you can expect up to 1.5 hr. of CoolTherapy before you need to recharge your packs. If you are active, have a fever or are resting in hot conditions, that time will be reduced somewhat. Conversely, you may see more than 1.5 hr. per charge if conditions are right. An interesting note is that humans radiate heat at different rates in different areas of the body, so a pack may last longer on a knee than it would on the palm of your hand.
I've been wearing my Black Ice for an hour, but it doesn't seem cool anymore. What's the deal?
Black Ice Modular CoolTherapy Packs maintain a stable temperature of about 52°F, but once you put Black Ice on, you may actually experience two different types of cooling. We call them Phase I and Phase II.
Phase I cooling includes that initial "jolt" of cooling–when you first put Black Ice on– and it continues as your skin temperature drops to about 55-65°F. This is where you will find yourself saying, "Wow–This is really cool!" This sensation usually lasts for anywhere from about fifteen minutes to half an hour–depending on the sensitivity of your skin.
Phase II cooling is more subtle than Phase I, but it is where CoolTherapy really shines. The subtlety is caused by a physiological phenomenon we refer to as SPE (Swimming Pool Effect). SPE is the easiest term we have come up with to describe how the human body adapts to its environment. On a hot day, if you jump into a cool swimming pool, you're going to get an initial "jolt" of cold. The effect lasts for a few minutes, and then you begin to realize you don't feel cold anymore (unless the water temperature is so low your brain detects danger). Your skin is still in contact with the water, but your brain has recognized that the temperature is not a threat, so it begins to ignore the cool sensation. This is exactly what can happen with Black Ice–Your brain gets used to the cool feeling, it recognizes the temperature is not threat, so it simply begins to ignore the sensation.
Now that can be a real issue if the temperature output of a cold therapy pack is too low (products that use ice or gels). Why? Because medical studies show you can develop frostbite if your skin is exposed to ice or frozen gels for more than twenty minutes at a time. To eliminate that possibility, we have formulated the Black Ice Smart Ice Matrix to produce a temperature output of 52°F–a temperature that can provide all the benefits of cold therapy, while virtually eliminating all of the issues traditional cold therapy products bring with them. That's why, used as directed, you can apply Black Ice for pretty much as long as you need to.
So if that second stage of cooling is so subtle, how do you even know Black Ice is really working?
Simple. All you have to do is place a finger between your skin and the Modular CoolTherapy Pack. When you do that (assuming the pack hasn't completely discharged, of course), you will be able to feel that your skin is considerably cooler than you realized. You may also notice the pain you had been feeling is just a bit more bearable–or it may be gone completely!
Is there a way I can make my Modular CoolTherapy Packs better conform to the shape of my knee, elbow or ankle?
Absolutely. You can actually charge a Black Ice MCP into two physical states–one that is firm or one that is more pliable.
When you charge a pack in the freezer, it will come out with a very firm feel. This state gives you maximum cooling duration, but it results in a pack that may be difficult to conform to some of the more intricate areas like the ankle or elbow. Once the pack warms to operating temperature it does become more pliable, so over time it will automatically conform to your anatomy.
You can custom-form your MCP for immediate use by charging it in the refrigerator or ice water. Once charged in either of these ways, the pack will be pliable enough to form around just about any area.
24/7 CoolTherapy? What is CoolSwapping anyway?
Black Ice has many traits that set it apart from other cold therapy products. The ability to quickly CoolSwap recharged packs is just one. Because it only takes about 1.5 hrs. to recharge a Modular CoolTherapy Pack in the freezer (about 1 hr. in ice water), if you keep a spare pack in the freezer, you can theoretically CoolSwap Packs forever by just rotating them between the freezer and your wrap. Always check your skin before CoolSwapping–especially extremities like fingers and toes. Some people are more sensitive to cold than others, so if a skin color change is present, or severe numbing, discontinue use for 2 hours.
I have a Cool Collar CCX. What's the difference between the packs that come with that and the packs that come with the NTX CoolTherapy System?
The Cool Collar CCX comes with the Black Ice CPX Personal Cooling Pack. It is factory-engineered to produce a regulated output of 57°F–a temperature that provides cool relief while limiting further affects on the body.
The NTX CoolTherapy System comes with the CTX Modular CoolTherapy Pack. This pack produces an output of 52°F–a cooler temperature that dampens nerve impulses and reduces swelling.
It's very easy to distinguish the CPX Personal Cooling Pack from the CTX Modular CoolTherapy Pack–The "hook" attachment dots on the CPX are black while the dots on the CTX (and all CoolTherapy Packs) are red.
How many times can I recharge a Black Ice Modular CoolTherapy Pack?
Black Ice Modular CoolTherapy Packs can be recharged as often as needed, and they never lose the ability to recharge.
What's the best way to store Black Ice?
That's easy–Store your Black Ice Modular CoolTherapy Packs in the freezer (or fridge) year-round. This way, you have instant access to 24/7 CoolTherapy. Whether you come home from work with a sore back, pull a muscle playing tennis, or if you get too close to a hot iron, if you store your Modular Modular CoolTherapy Packs in the freezer, Black Ice will always be there to help relieve your pain and swelling.
How do I care for my Black Ice products?
Wash the Modular CoolTherapy Packs in soapy water (dish washing liquid works best), rinse and towel/ air dry. You can wash and dry the CoolSwap wrap the same way (rinse it thoroughly). Never place your CoolSwap wrap or Modular CoolTherapy Packs in a dryer–and, for goodness sakes, never ever place them in a microwave oven.
Don't they make portable pump systems that work just like the hospital systems? Why is Black Ice better than those things?
Yes–There are several companies that make portable recirculation cold therapy systems, and, to tell you the truth, some of them work very well. But, just like hospital systems, portable pumps have several issues.
Issue #1: Power. Pumping systems aren't fully portable–you still need a power source for the pump, so you need to be near a power outlet. Black Ice requires no on-site electrical power. While in the field, simply charge the packs in a cooler of ice water.
Issue#2: Movement. The cooling cuff wrapped around your injury must remain plugged into the recirculation system, so your movement is severely limited. Black Ice requires no umbilicals, external plumbing or tethers to function, so you are free to move about as you see fit.
Issue #3: Cost. This issue comes in two parts. Part one–A recirculation system can be expensive to purchase. Part two–You have to supply ice to the system. At first glance buying ice doesn't sound too bad, but a recirculation system requires a lot of ice to work properly. Count on using about 10lb. of ice for about every 4 hours of cold therapy. Considering the fact that you may require cold therapy for several weeks–or even months, the cost of ice will definitely put the freeze on your wallet. Black Ice is much less expensive to use than pumps. Not only is the initial cost considerably less than recirculation systems, Black Ice Modular CoolTherapy Packs can be recharged in the freezer or refrigerator at a cost of only pennies a day.
Issue#4: Temperature control. Many portable recirculation systems have no means of regulating temperature output. That means you may be subjecting yourself to dangerously low temperatures. In fact, there is much chatter on the internet dealing with lawsuits brought by patients who have been severely injured while using portable cryotherapy systems. Since the output level of Black Ice is set at the factory at 52°F, you need not be concerned that you are actually being subjected to dangerously cold temperatures.
I need my CoolTherapy now! How long does it take to ship Black Ice?
We generally ship on the same day we receive the order, but our policy is 48-hr. shipping from the next business day. Weekend and holiday orders don't enter our system until the next business day, but they are generally shipped within 24hrs. of the next business day. Please be aware that USPS Priority mail delivery predictions are not always accurate.
I want to sell Black Ice. What do I do?
Black Ice is always looking for qualified resellers to join our team. If you are interested in distribution, please send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to include some general information about your company and website info if available.