Arctic Ease Cold Wraps
Arctic Ease cold wraps claim to provide cooling cryotherapy and compression all in one product. Because they require no refrigeration, they seem to be an ideal first aid fix for sprains, strains, and other soft-tissue injuries. So, how do they actually work?
Arctic Ease wraps and pads are intended to provide hours of cold therapy without having to use ice, gels, menthol or even refrigeration. The unique elastic wrap provides both cold and compression all in one product. It's a great idea because compression is as important as icing when it comes to . Some experts argue that compression is actually more important for immediate injury first aid than the ice. This wrap should satisfy both opinions.
Arctic Ease wraps can be used right out of the container or pouch, no refrigeration or pre-cooling is required. The manufacturer claims that the wrap will stay cold for hours, will stay in place and adheres to the skin with no sticky tape, and, unlike other elastic compression wraps, you don't need to attach it with a clip. Arctic Ease doesn't use menthol, so it is odorless. They also write that the wraps are non-toxic, latex and adhesive free, biodegradable, "green," and safe for the environment. So far, so good.
The wraps can be used like any compression wrap, just unroll, and wrap around the injured area. You can also cut the wraps to make smaller pads. Just position the smaller pad over the affected area and hold in place momentarily and it should stick. If you want a bit of extra cold therapy, you can keep Arctic Ease in the refrigerator, but it's not essential. The wraps are also reusable. Apparently, you just place the wrap back into the container and add a couple of tablespoons of water and seal it back up.
- Provides cold therapy and compression in one wrap
- No refrigeration required
- Stays cold for hours
- Odorless contains no menthol, non-toxic, latex and adhesive free
Arctic Ease is manufactured and distributed in the USA by Arctic Ease, LLC Phoenixville, PA.
Upon opening the container for a first use, I was impressed with the temperature of the wrap. Yes, it was cool. Not cold, but cool. However, this is the ideal temperature, according to the manufacturers, who cite the Journal of Athletic Training and Medscape studies that state that the optimal temperature for cryotherapy is above 59° F (15°C). Because tissue damage can occur if tissue temperature is cooled to 59° F (15°C), and frostbite occurs when the skin temperature drops to between 39°F to 14°F (4°C to -10°C), the makers use a cool, not cold, wrap.
Unrolling it was a bit of a challenge. It's quite a bit stiffer and more cumbersome to use than a dry, elastic wrap. It also has a strange feel. It's not exactly wet, or messy, but it's just a little bit slimy. Depending on how much water you add to the container after a use, you may find little bits of gel attached to the wrap. This is not a big deal, but it is a bit odd.
The wrap did what they say it does and kept cool for quite a while. I only left the wrap on for about 20 minutes before I needed a break. The wrap stiffens up quite a lot and feels almost cast-like and very stiff. Not a good or a bad thing, but after 15 minutes I'd had enough, and needed my freedom.
You might find that Arctic Ease doesn't adher to the skin that well. Using a figure-8 wrap works fine, but trying to affix a small patch of the product to the skin by just holding in place didn't work for me. I haven't reused the wrap more than three times so far, so it's hard to tell how well it will hold up long-term.
In the end, however, given a choice, I prefer the ease and feel of a good cold pack with a basic compression wrap to use for 15 minutes at a time. The best feature of Arctic Ease is the fact that it's cold + compression so it will be perfect for those out hiking, camping, bike touring, backpacking, or any place without access to ice or cold, and in need some quick first aid.
How to Use Arctic Ease Wraps
Use the cold (cryotherapy) wrap during the first 48 to 72 hours of injury to help reduce pain and swelling and to speed healing. You can position Arctic Ease directly on skin over affected area and then use a figure-8 method to secure the wrap. Arctic Ease provides basic figure-8 wrapping instructions in the materials that come with the product. When finished using the wrap, place it back into the resealable container or pouch add 1-2 tablespoons of water and set it aside until the next time you need it. You can store the wraps at room temperature or if you'd prefer enhanced cooling, store it in the refrigerator.
Video: Shaun T talks Arctic Ease Instant Cold Wrap
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