If you were to ask a medical doctor, personal trainer, athletic trainer, or even your mom then you would likely get the same answer from each one regarding the benefits of ice — it reduces pain and prevents excess inflammation. But do we want to prevent inflammation? And what constitutes excessive? The answer has been accepted by athletes, non-athletes, and medical professionals everywhere. The rolled ankle of a child playing soccer during recess, to the collegiate tennis player that strained her hamstring chasing down a drop shot, to the professional baseball pitcher that routinely deals with a sore shoulder after 7 intense innings pitched.
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Shelves: non-fiction , read , health-coaching So one of my all time favorite writers is Shirley Jackson who happened to write my all time favorite short story that also happens to be the most anthologized short story ever.
The story begins with what appears to be preparation for some sort of seasonal celebration. Yet little by little the reader begins to understand the true sinister nature of the event called "the lottery.
As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that many of the townsfolk are beginning to tire of the strange observance, most completely oblivious to the origin of the ritual, but no one particularly motivated to question its existence, let alone abandon it. Others, excepting it as fiction, simply wanted to know what the story meant. Shirley, however, refused to break it down, stating only that the story spoke for itself. In the end, I believe she was commenting on all the things we do, from the silly to the downright barbaric, that have no real justification other than they have always been done.
And that is essentially the premise of "Iced" which speaks to the unsupported use of ice to treat injuries. According to the author, the practice not only lacks any real scientific support, its origin, using ice on an injury, had nothing to do with controlling swelling, pain, or treating acute injury. It came about as a means to preserve a severed limb so as to allow a reattachment. And like many things that have no scientific basis but are nonetheless perpetuated, the practice of icing quickly caught on, eventually becoming the go-to treatment for any acute injury.
Reinl argues that not only does ice not help, it may actually be detrimental in that it retards healing, and he bases his argument on our understanding of how the body heals. He claims we use ice to reduce swelling, but all we really accomplish is to delay the inflammatory response an essential component of healing and make it harder for the lymph system to get rid of swelling or the back up of waste that is associated with the inflammatory response.
The only way to promote healing and to increase circulation and lymph drainage is through muscle activation. In that regard it would seem the advice to "walk it off," is more than simple conventional wisdom. That said, ice is everywhere in the rehab world, except, thanks to Reinl, in professional team training rooms around the country. He makes some good arguments against the use of ice. Unfortunately, his alternative is muscle stimulators, as it appears they are the next training room panacea.
I wish he would have spent more time providing the science for his stimulators so as to distinguish it from unsubstantiated treatments like cold.
The book is long-winded with way too much fluff, boasting, and name dropping, so let me sum it up and save you a few bucks and a few hours. Throw your ice packs away.
Icing an injury works against the healing process, is neutral at best and harmful at worst. Buy stock in muscle stimulators because if Reinl has his way and ice is no longer so nice, trainers around the world are going to have to fill their now empty training rooms with something. I agree with the idea that icing may actually work against the inflammatory response. The reality is if you can bear it, in many circumstances you may be better to let your body do what it has evolved to do.
In fact, the rest you get might be critical to your recovery, despite the meds having suppressed the fever. Likewise with ice, there are times where I think the pain relief ice offers may actually support more movement which is ultimately a good thing. And of course, that means it will spread like wild-fire in the fitness community. All the fitness gurus seem to love debunking one "fad" to make room for another. Trainers will gladly ditch their ice machines for muscle stimulators and the guys peddling the ice paraphernalia will switch gears and be happy to sell it to them.
There you go. The science and recommendations are brilliant, however the first four chapters and significant portions of the rest of the book are more of a biography, and highly repetitive. I strongly recommend the book purely for its help in revolutionising physical rehab and preparation, but the waffling on was killing me. Also, the endless ice puns made me want to ice myself.
Every page has at least a couple. Thanks Reinl for writing this valuable book, worth the read. Thanks for opening my eyes Gary!
Iced: The Illusionary Treatment Option: A Book Review
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