We are big believers in the benefits of Cold Therapy, as you have probably gathered. Over time we have picked up a few tricks for using the various cold therapy units and the best practices for using them. Here are our insider tips for getting the best out of your cold therapy machine:
Creating Your Dressing Barrier
In order to provide effective cold therapy, a good Cold Therapy Units must get very cold. Because of this, it is important to use a barrier between the cold therapy pads or wraps and your skin. Using a sterile dressing pad provides a moisture barrier between the skin and the cold therapy pad to protect your skin. Each cold therapy machine brand typically has available disposable sterile dressing barrier pads; however, we have found alternative methods that work just as effectively.
Here are our favorite alternatives to Sterile Dressing Pads for cold therapy machines:
While creating your own barrier helps to keep costs down, it also gives you more control over the degree of cold therapy that works best for you. Because each brand typically only has one type of dressing pad available for each cold therapy unit, they may not be the best thickness depending on your specific needs and cold sensitivity level. Creating your own barrier makes your cold therapy machine more customized to you.
Frozen Water Bottles Instead of Ice Cubes
In order for your cold therapy machine to run properly, it will require ice and water to be deposited into the cooler in order to deliver the cold therapy to the pad. Over time, this will require a lot of ice! Thankfully, we have found an alternative to using ice cubes in your cold therapy unit: Frozen water bottles. Most cold therapy units can fit up to 4 frozen 16 oz water bottles in them at a time.
A few things to remember:
- Make sure the water bottles are clean
- Remove the labels from the bottles prior to freezing
- Freeze 8 or more water bottles at a time so you will have 4 more frozen water bottles ready for use once the ones in the use begin to melt
Create Your Own Timer
One of the most asked questions we receive is whether or not the cold therapy units we carry have their own built in timer. While most do not, we have found a handy way to create your own! One simple way to do this is by purchasing a programmable outlet timer that you can plug your unit into. This way you can choose exactly how long you want the unit to run for before turning off to allow yourself to fully relax and not have to keep track of time.
Once you begin putting these tips and tricks to the test, it will be time to clean your unit. Making sure your ice machine is always clean and stored properly will be very important for extending the life of the product and ensuring you will get to use it for years to come.
How to Clean A Home Cold Therapy Machine:
Place 2 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar into your unit and fill with water up to the fill line. Let the water and vinegar mixture run through your machine for about 5-10 minutes. Once the mixture has had a chance to work its magic in the unit, turn it off and unplug from a power source. Lastly, gently drain the water and vinegar mixture from the machine and pad before storing both in a cool, dry place. Never store your cold therapy unit or pad with water still inside.
It is also a good idea to flush your unit with clean water again before reusing after extended periods of storage to make sure your machine is clean and ready for use.You can then fill the unit with ice and water for use.
How to Store a Cold Therapy Machine:
We recommend storing your cold therapy unit in a cool, dark place. Do not store the unit with water inside the cooler or pad and do not store outside or in direct sunlight as that can damage the hose and pads.
At Source Cold Therapy, we are proud to carry many of the best cold therapy units in the industry including Breg Inc, Ossur, DonJoy, Aircast, and Game Ready. Not sure which Cold Therapy unit is the best match for you? Take a look at our detailed post comparing cold therapy units here!