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By: Gary Reinl

I am often asked, “Is it true that icing damaged tissue does nothing?”

My response, “No, it is not true that icing damaged tissue does nothing – it delays healing, increases swelling, causes damage, shuts down the signals that alert you to harmful movement and, perhaps most importantly, it provides false hope. You think you are doing something good but instead you are doing something bad.”

Indeed, a doctor once heard my above response and said to me, “If icing damaged tissue is so bad where are all the bodies?”

To which I replied, “Doc, icing damaged tissue doesn’t kill people, it kills dreams. It’s the high school athlete that doesn’t get the scholarship to college or the college athlete that doesn’t get a chance to try out for the pros or the rookie that doesn’t make the team or the regular guy who never gets a chance to run in the “big race” with his teenage daughter. It doesn’t kill people doc, it kills dreams.”

Now, you may be thinking that I am all alone in this fight against ice.

Well, I’m not.

Not by a long shot.

In fact the peer reviewed research is on my side.

And so are many of the nation’s elite trainers.

I am just disseminating it to the masses.

What if I told you that even the world-renowned doctor who helped start the “Ice Age” recently publically acknowledged that he was wrong and has now officially removed the “I (ice)” from his now infamous RICE treatment protocol.

Wouldn’t you at least want to know more?

Would that motivate you to reconsider and perhaps join the meltdown?

Well, he did. Here’s his article titled, “Ice Delays Recovery from Injuries,” by Gabe Mirkin, M.D. from June 21, 2013:

“More than 30 years ago I coined the term RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) for the acute treatment of athletic injuries. Now a study from the Cleveland Clinic shows that one of these recommendations, applying ice to reduce swelling, actually delays healing by preventing the body from releasing IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor-1), a hormone that helps heal damaged tissue (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, November 2010).”

“When germs get into your body, your immunity sends cells and proteins into the infected area to kill the germs. When muscles and other tissues are damaged, your immunity sends the same inflammatory cells to the damaged tissue to promote healing. The response to both infection and tissue damage is the same. Certain cells called macrophages rush to the damaged tissue to release IGF-1 which helps heal muscles.”

“Healing is delayed by cortisone-type drugs, nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, applying cold packs or ice, and anything else that blocks the immune response to injury. Now the treatments for an acute injury include Rest (stop exercising), Compression and Elevation (to reduce swelling), but no ice.”



Special thanks to Gary for sharing his knowledge and experience with us!

Want to learn more about the facts and the fascinating story of icing?

Get one of our favourite Strong Athlete approved books, “ICED!: The Illusionary Treatment Option” By Gary Reinl

Click HERE to order your copy now! 






Check out this video, courtesy of MobilityWOD, with Gary and Kelly Starrett that kick-started the whole anti-icing injury revolution for many coaches and athletes worldwide including us here at Strong Athlete!



GaryReinlGary Reinl has spent nearly forty years in the sports-medicine field, with diverse experiences ranging from training professional athletes to pioneering the field of strength-building for women during the pregnancy year to developing rehabilitation programs for injured workers.

Additionally, his ground-breaking senior strength-building protocol has now been implemented in more than 1,000 senior living facilities. Gary has authored two previous books, Making Mama Fit [Leisure Press, 1983] and the 2007 “fat loss” book Get Stronger, Feel Younger [Rodale Press]. He has also co-authored four peer-reviewed, PubMed indexed journal articles.

Gary lives in Henderson, Nevada, with his wife, Susan. He has two grown children, Mandy and Casey, and three grandchildren, Harper, Hendrick, and Eleuthera.

By |February 8th, 2014|Archives, Articles|

About the Author:
Strong Athlete was founded in 2011 by Strength & Conditioning Experts PK Mills and Gaétan Boutin. With over 40+ years of combined experience in sports nutrition, athletics, and fitness, the Strong Athlete team is dedicated to helping athletes achieve their maximum potential through a holistic approach to training, nutrition, and mindset.

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