HyperIce: What's All the Hype? A New Form of Cold Compression Therapy That is Easy
HyperIce is a new product out of Irvine, CA. It's backed by huge names like Blake Griffin, Troy Polamalu, and Adrian Peterson, but is it all it's 'hyped' up to be? Short answer: Yes.
The all new HyperIce is an innovative system that allows the user to effectively compress and cool joints and muscles around the body. It consists of an outer compressive wrap, and a reservoir that can be filled with crushed ice or synthetic ice to cool the skin (see HyperIce Fuel below). Once the reservoir is in place and put back into the wrap, it is applied to whichever joint the pad is for (either the knee, shoulder, back, or, with the universal utility wrap, to elbows, wrists, etc.) A small button on the reservoir lets out air when pressed, allowing for re-adjustment of the wrap for better compression and cooling. Check out the demonstration below:
The material used to make the wrap is incredibly soft. This would definitely be comfortable to wear over long periods of time. Underneath the soft exterior is thick neoprene that stretches to provide compression while also insulating the leg and keeping the cold inside. The hook and loop straps seem to hold well and should be durable for the life of the product.
The reservoir itself contains latex, so persons with allergies should take caution when using this product. The reservoir is built very well and screws/unscrews with ease. We had no trouble filling the unit with different types of ice. We found that finely crushed ice works best, but melts faster than chunk ice. The button on the device is easy to depress to let out air and didn't seem to get clogged during use.
The overall use of HyperIce is pretty intuitive. First you fill the reservoir with either synthetic ice, chunked ice, or crushed ice. Next you flatten the reservoir to prepare it for wrapping around whichever joint is experiencing issues. Finally, you tuck the reservoir back into the wrap and wrap around your leg, shoulder, or whatever hurts. If it doesn't compress enough for you the first time, let some air out of the valve and re-adjust the wrap.
Compared to alternatives, this process is very simple. It's not a machine, so you don't have to worry about pumps, water, or electricity. The action is entirely mechanical. In addition, the wrap gives you solid compression that you don't get with cold therapy machines or similar devices. The only maintenance required is emptying and rinsing the reservoir after usage, but that is a very simple process.
HyperIce is very effective, even moreso when you use crushed ice. The compressing action combined with the cooling help relieve pain and inflammation in just minutes. Since the system uses ice, it works much faster and at lower temperatures than a cold therapy machine that just pumps icewater.
Admittedly, this therapy doesn't last too long as ice melts fast, especially when in contact with warm areas of the body. However, the cold therapy delivered is not designed for long periods of use anyway. After a total knee replacement surgery, for example, one would probably use a cold therapy machine as it delivers cold (40 to 60 degrees fahrenheit) over a period of hours without freezing tissue on accident.
The hyperice wraps seem to be more designed for sprains, strains, sports injuries, and acute or chronic pain, and not so much post-surgery rehabilitation. They deliver ice cold therapy directly to where you need it, quickly. This ice cold therapy is crucial in the effectiveness of the HyperIce wrap.
We also had a chance to check out HyperIce's 'Fuel'. This stuff is a synthetic ice that you freeze over the course of 12 hours. The top screws off easily and connects to the ice reservoir so you can fill it without making a mess. After freezing, the gel can be flattened much like crushed ice. It can then be formed around a knee, elbow, or similar. This forms a perfect cryotherapy cast that delivers the cold better than just ice alone.
HyperIce has a very cool line of products, backed by some very big names. That might make you think it's some marketing technique for a bum product, but that is simply not the case. The product clearly works, and the big names think so too. Adrian Peterson used HyperIce as part of his recovery and went on to nearly break the yardage rushing record for a running back in 2012. If it's good enough for him, then it's definitely good enough for more normal people with more generic pains. Ditch the plastic bags. Get a HyperIce.