Research Reveals Biofreeze Provides Benefits Similar to Ice

Ice packs have been utilized in cryotherapy for years. But is ice always the best approach?  When immediate relief is required, new research shows Biofreeze topical analgesic can decrease blood flow and provide pain relief faster than ice.  The research was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Louisville, led by Robert Topp, PhD, RN.  Dr. Topp shares details about the study in today’s podcast.

The study found blood flow reduced in the area where the Biofreeze was applied within 5 minutes. The decrease in blood flow continued for 10-15 minutes.  When ice was applied to the same area, it took 20 minutes to reduce blood flow. Biofreeze provides many of the benefits of ice without the potential side-effects like skin irritation or tissue damage when used for long periods of time.

The study will be featured in the Journal of Sport Rehabilitation and was published in the September 2010 issue of the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine.  Listen now to learn more about this essential physical therapy topical analgesic.

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  1. Marcus Holliday, MA, ATC, CES
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Come on…we all know the benefit of using ice is not simply decreased blood flow, but also analgesia. If this study holds true, then I can see using Biofreeze with a compression s/p an acute injury. However, he is misrepresenting the facts when he says that ice ‘burns’ people after 20-30 minutes. That simply is not true. Natural ice MELTS immediately after being exposed to the surrounding air and body heat of the patient, so that means it is not getting colder, but warmer. Artificial cold sources (gel packs, etc…) may cause burns because they do not adhere to the above principle. In fact, most of the latest literature demonstrates that ice (and elevation) should be used for up to 45 minutes after an acute injury to minimize the negative affects of the injury.

  2. Andy B. LAT, ATC, OTC
    Posted August 27, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    I could not agree more Marcus. Bio-freeze, as with any other type of topical analgesic, works simply on the gate theory. A TENS unit would work even faster! The study is presented in a .com website which begs the question of it’s validity in the first place. For clinical application of true cryo-therapy the goal is deep tissue cooling and/or more global areas that aide in the retardation of inflammation, pain, swelling, etc. I have recently seen studies that reveal 15-20 minutes to be the optimal time of ice application at which point the tissue becomes colder than the cryo-modality (natural ice) being applied, thus rendering the tx. ineffective in the first place. Optimal application is indeed within the first 45 minutes of injury. Gel packs can cause burning if there is no medium applied between the skin and the gel pack itself which again brings up the concern of a licensed professional disregarding this application procedure.
    In the layman’s terms Bio-freeze works just as well as gentle rubbing your knee if you bump into something (gate theory: overloading superficial sensory neurons to reduce deep sensory neuronal input).
    Bio-freeze has a fantastic marketing department apparently.
    It’s refreshing to see another allied provider stand up to these garbage claims!

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  1. [...] (TRAC). Each researcher was interviewed on a podcast by Jeff Worrell of Dr. Topp discussed his research on Biofreeze® topical analgesic and blood flow. Tyler described his research on The Thera-Band® FlexBar® for tennis elbow, otherwise known as [...]

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