I heard about these new-fangled heat/ice therapy packs, ActiveWrap, and started wondering about the evolution of icy and hot packs. I mean, in ye olden days of my brother’s high school track and field career, it seemed the best method of icing a sore ankle or shoulder involved a jumbo pack of frozen peas (Costco sells the biggest ones) pressed against what ailed him. Get crazy with it and use frozen tator-tots, as those come in even larger sizes, perfect for larger muscles (can we say thighs, anyone?).
As for the hot side of things, microwaving a towel was a sure bet ten years ago, and wrapping that towel around your muscle. Boiling the towel in a pot of hot water was also an option, as was hanging out in a hot shower or applying a heated water bottle to the sadpanda part of your body. However, none of these methods really allows for much in the way of moving on with your day, even if you adhere those peas or the hot towel to yourself with an Ace bandage.
Moving up in the world came those flexible blue-ice type gel packs that could be either stuck in the freezer for chilled therapy or heated up faster than instant hot chocolate in the microwave for hot therapy. Cute as these things are (and as much as they remind me of Jell-o) they still don’t solve the “But I want to be able to walk around my house and do things” dilemna that comes from being almost unable to sit still long enough to try and heal something.
Enter ActiveWrap. Though wildly expensive (compare $69.95 for a fitting shoulder wrap to a hot towel you already own or a $1.00 bag of peas), it looks pretty handy-dandy. Designed to fit the contours of your body, sized appropriately so you’re not praying for your body magically being included in one-size-fits-all, these hot/cold therapy packs are form fitting and allow you to move on with your life while your muscles get some much needed attention.
General consensus? Well…ActiveWrap gets the job done, and if you have the money and inclination, or if you have a wealthy benefactor who likes to support your body, then passing on the specially designed muscle-recovery therapy wraps would likely be a nice addition to your fitness world. But really…the same types of packs are manufactured cheaper — with a slightly less personal fit — and will also get the job done. And really, so will a pack of peas. So it’s not overkill, but certainly not a must-have.