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Research Shows Biofreeze® Pain Reliever is 63% More Effective than Ice for Treating Post Exercise Muscle Soreness


Akron, Ohio – June 29, 2012 – Researchers recently completed a study1 on the effectiveness of two types of cold therapy—ice and Biofreeze® Pain Reliever, a menthol-based topical analgesic—on muscle soreness that results from strenuous or unaccustomed exercise. The study concluded that Biofreeze Pain Reliever reduced this type of pain by a significant 63% more than ice.

The research, conducted at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. Johns, Canada, compared the effectiveness of these two cold therapies on DOMS-induced symptoms, a.k.a. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

DOMS, often observed in athletes, is a common consequence of unaccustomed exercise or overtraining especially with the inclusion of extensive eccentric contractions—strengthening exercises that lengthen the muscle. The presence of DOMS inhibits muscle activity or motor performance for up to several days following the initiating event. One of the major symptoms of DOMS is pain, which can limit an individual’s activities or mobility. Although ice is often applied to reduce the pain of DOMS, studies on its effectiveness show mixed results.

Menthol, the active ingredient in Biofreeze Pain Reliever, is considered to be a counter-irritant. The exact mechanism of menthol’s pain relief is not clear, but it’s believed that menthol stimulates temperature receptors in the skin that are associated with an analgesic (pain-relieving) effect.

“The purpose of this study was to compare applications of Biofreeze versus ice on pain and muscle contraction during DOMS,” stated David G. Behm, PhD, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research, School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland. “It was hypothesized that Biofreeze would be more effective than ice in alleviating DOMS-related symptoms and thus improve strength output.” The Hygenic Corporation • 1245 Home Avenue • Akron, OH 44310 • 800.321.2135 • fax 330.633.9359 Thera-Band®, the Color Pyramid®, the Associated Colors®, Biofreeze®, Perform® and Pedigenix® are trademarks owned by The Hygenic Corporation or its affiliates and may be registered in the United States and other countries. All rights reserved. ©2012 The Hygenic Corporation

The researchers induced DOMS in the biceps of 16 healthy subjects with eccentric exercise. Two days later, the subjects randomly received either Biofreeze topical analgesic or an ice pack to the affected muscle. Their pain and strength levels were measured 20 minutes after application. The researchers found that Biofreeze Pain Reliever reduced DOMS 63% more than ice. In addition, Biofreeze allowed a greater increase in sustained muscle activity.

“The most important results of this study suggest that Biofreeze was more effective than ice for relieving soreness associated with DOMS both at rest and during muscle contractions,” continued Dr. Behm. “Furthermore, the greater tetanic forces with the menthol analgesic may suggest that more intense or aggressive muscle stimulation therapy during rehabilitation might be possible with such a therapeutic agent. However, more research is needed in patient populations receiving electrical muscle stimulation.”

In summary, Biofreeze Pain Reliever is more effective at reducing the symptoms of DOMS compared to ice, and results in significantly more (>100%) ability of subjects to tolerate electrical stimulation of their muscle.

1. REFERENCE: Johar P, Grover V, Topp R, Behm DG. A comparison of topical menthol to ice on pain, evoked tetanic and voluntary force during delayed onset muscle soreness. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2012 Jun;7(3):314-22.

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