When Should Cold Therapy Be Used & Why Does It Help?
Cold therapy is ideal for use on acute injuries, usually in the first 24-48 hours after injury, or longer depending on the amount of inflammation in the affected area. Cold therapy should be the first step in treating any fresh tissue injury because it constricts the blood vessels, slowing the flow of blood. This is important because slowing the flow of blood will reduce swelling in the area, thereby helping to relieve your pain. Cold also helps to relieve pain by numbing the injured area.
It's important to understand that while cold therapy is an essential first step to healing, cold itself won't heal your underlying injury. The purpose of cold is to eliminate your inflammation and help with the pain.
Cold therapy should be used for 20 minutes at a time, with a 20 minute break in between each application. Keep using cold therapy until your pain and swelling have gone down. How long you need to use cold therapy will depend on where your injury is located and how severe your injury is. Some injuries only require several days of cold therapy, while some might take several weeks to get under control.
Cold therapy is not only effective for new injuries, but for re-injuries as well. It's also beneficial immediately after physical activity to bring down any inflammation. Use cold therapy if you experience any flare-ups of pain or swelling during the recovery process.
Cold therapy isn't necessary for every injury. If you're not experiencing pain, swelling or inflammation, you don't need to use cold and can start with blood flow stimulation.
How Does Cold Reduce Pain & Swelling?
If you apply cold to a soft tissue injury for long enough, your nerves will eventually go numb. This interferes with the signals being sent to your brain that register pain. Cold also causes a decrease in blood flow at the site of your injury, which is what helps eliminate swelling. Cold therapy causes your blood vessels to constrict, putting a stop to the increase in blood flow at the site, which decreases your inflammation. The act of bringing down inflammation also helps to relieve pain.
What Is the Purpose of Pain?
Pain is a common symptom of most soft tissue injuries. It's your body's way of telling you there's a problem. The pain is also there to stop you from making the injury worse. Your response to pain should be to rest and avoid any activities that could cause further injury.
Without the presence of pain, you risk feeling a false sense of ability that can cause you to overdo it physically, leading to re-injury and a much longer recovery time. That's why we recommend cold and compression for relieving the pain. Cold and compression are much safer and more effective than painkillers. That's because painkillers interfere with your body's ability to warn you that there's something wrong, while cold and compression don't. Painkillers block the pain, but if you're using cold compression, you can still tell when doing an activity is causing pain.
If you're immobilizing your injury like you should be, you don't need the pain signal. This is why it's okay to take painkillers when your body is at rest, but dangerous when you're being active.
What Is the Purpose of Swelling?
Swelling is a sign of the body's desire to immobilize the affected area. Swelling means that the soft tissue deep below the skin is injured and bleeding. This blood leaks out into the interstitial fluid in your body. Using cold is a good idea when you have swelling because this reduces the flow of the internal bleeding. Swelling is the body's natural way to compress your nerves. However, using a cold compression device is much more effective because this helps to reduce the pain, which is a result of the swelling itself. Get rid of the pain and the swelling by using cold compression, and you're that much closer to healing. Cold by itself or compression by itself is okay, but nowhere near as effective as both at the same time.
When Should Blood Flow Be Stimulated & Why Does It Help?
Stimulating blood flow contributes to a healthy circulatory system. Blood flow works to improve cell growth and aids in proper functioning of the organs. Our blood contains oxygen and nutrients that are needed to help our body heal itself. When we're injured, blood flow to the area is usually significantly restricted. That's why promoting blood flow to the area of injury is so important. This is what opens up the blood vessels so the soft tissue can receive the oxygen and nutrients it needs to heal.
Blood flow should not be stimulated until the inflammation and pain are gone from the affected area, because you want to restrict the blood vessels when you have pain and swelling, not open them up. Blood flow therapy works to speed up the healing process for tissue that's no longer painful or swollen.
Our BFST® device acts in the same way that physical activity does when it comes to promoting blood flow. When you're physically active, your heart starts racing and your blood starts pumping. This helps contribute to faster healing of damaged tissue. With BFST®, you are getting a targeted blood flow treatment. The Electro Magnetic Energy goes deep down to the soft tissue, bringing additional blood flow to the injured area, accelerating the healing process. The benefit of BFST® over physical activity is that with BFST®, you're resting during the treatments. This means you're avoiding the potential for re-injury that comes with physical activity.
We recommend 3-4 blood flow treatments per day. Each treatment is 20 minutes and the effects of each treatment last for up to 4 hours, so it's best to spread your treatments out over the day. Even once you feel healed, you should keep doing regular blood flow treatments in order to maintain your healing.
Stimulate your blood flow prior to physical activity to help prevent re-injury. This acts as a warm up for your circulatory system.
How Does Better Circulation Help Us Heal?
Blood flow is directly tied to the health of your tissue. For example, the more you exercise a certain muscle in your body, the stronger it becomes and the more blood flow you're bringing to it. The same can also be said for your circulatory system. The more you work out your circulatory system, the healthier it will become and the more efficient it will be at delivering the nutrients your injury needs to heal.
The BFST® device works by stimulating blood flow and lymphatic activity in the healing tissue. Stimulating blood flow following an injury involves a "give and take". The blood flow brings oxygen and nutrients to the injured area that are essential to the re-growth of your damaged tissues. The blood flow also carries away the waste by-products that are leftover from the time of injury.
What is the BFST® Device & How Does it Work?
The BFST® Wrap is a diathermic device that stimulates blood flow deep within the soft tissue, providing nutrient-rich, optimized blood flow to the area being treated. Diathermy is well recognized and accepted by the medical community as an effective means of promoting sub-dermal blood flow in order to speed up healing and recovery times.
The BFST® device uses proprietary technology and is an advanced diathermic device over older technology like Ultrasound. For example, you would probably treat yourself with Ultrasound for 10-15 minutes at a power level of about 1W over a very small area. With the BFST® device you would be treating yourself for 20 minutes at a time, with about 10W of energy, using the unit over a much larger target area. That's 10x the power for a longer duration. And the treatments promote your blood flow for a longer period after your treatment ends.
BFST® is also much safer than Ultrasound (as there is no risk of small, localized sub-dermal tissue damage) and does not interfere with implanted medical devices like Microwave and Shortwave devices do. It's really just newer technology that does a much better job.
The Energy Web® inside the BFST® device produces Electro-Magnetic Energy (EMR) well below the more dangerous visible light frequencies, (within the ultra-safe bands of the EMR spectrum at very safe power levels), at a frequency that is far above the highly magnetic frequencies like Shortwave. We feel our technology is superior to Shortwave, Ultrasound, Microwave and IR LED.
People often ask us for information beyond this, but that information is proprietary because we don't want our technology to be reproduced. Our BFST® Wraps are FDA Registered medical devices. They have also passed the Health Canada and IEC 60601-1 3rd Edition approval processes. We are audited on a yearly basis to ensure the legitimacy of our product as a medical device.
What Is EMR?
EMR (or Electro Magnetic Energy) is energy that travels through space. Just like light (another type of energy that travels through space), EMR can only travel through some surfaces. While EMR can travel through your skin and fat to your soft tissue, it can't penetrate bone. Some types of EMR are safer than others. For example, X-rays use a type of EMR that is more dangerous than the type used by our BFST® devices. On the other hand, MRIs use a type of EMR that is similarly safe to ours. While you should limit your exposure to X-rays, an MRI is not harmful no matter how long you're exposed to it.
The BFST® device uses specially controlled and incredibly safe, low levels of EMR. This EMR is absorbed by your blood and used to stimulate additional blood flow. Our BFST® technology tries to limit surface heating as much as possible in order to avoid blood pooling on the surface of your skin. When blood pools at the surface of your skin, the EMR is blocked by your pooling blood, diminishing the effectiveness of your treatment. Because the BFST® device is designed to limit surface heat, the EMR will penetrate deeper and blood flow will be promoted more effectively.