The cooling, analgesic, and rewarming effects of ice massage on localized skin

Phys Ther. 1975 Jan;55(1):11-9. doi: 10.1093/ptj/55.1.11.


The study was designed to produce objective data on the rate of local cooling following the ice massage technique of cold application and the rate of rewarming following termination of the ice application. More importantly, the onset of skin analgesia and its duration were evaluated. Sixteen normal subjects participated in four testing sessions, two of which were control session. A thermistor unit with probes monitored skin temperature and a standardized pain-evoking stimulus was used to verify analgesia. Analgesia was elicited by the ice massage only after the localized region had been cooled to, and maintained below, 13.6 degrees Celsius. The rate of cooling for the localized skin was more rapid than the rate of rewarming. The ten-minute ice massage was an effective procedure in achieving analgesia and, thus, may be sufficient to permit therapeutic exercise of selective painful conditions during, and for approximately three minutes immediately following, application.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analgesia / methods*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ice*
  • Male
  • Massage* / methods
  • Neural Conduction
  • Placebos
  • Skin Temperature*
  • Time Factors


  • Ice
  • Placebos