Posted on May 29 2011
I have a general policy of not guaranteeing anything. I like to under-promise and over deliver. That said I have one thing I can pretty much say with surety is that if you participate in combat sports (wrestling, boxing, martial arts, football, arm wrestling, etc.) you will, some time on your path, some day injure some (or most likely multiple) parts of your body! It has happened to me on several occasions over the past 20 years, and will most likely happen again in the next 20. Martial arts injuries are almost unavoidable.
While we cannot control IF we suffer from martial arts injuries, we can control how long and the severity of said injury by way of prevention and preparation. I will save the "ensure a proper warm up" speech for another post, but I want to introduce the martial arts community to a great company: Active Wrap USA. Though they have been around since 1997, few in the martial arts community have heard of them.
Offering a full line of thermal compression wraps, Active Wraps are hands down the best heat and ice products I have come across. Many of us are guilty of taking a frozen bag of corn, wrapping a towel around it, and finishing with a make shift sling. Eventually this frustrates us and we end up "toughening it out." Those days are over with ActiveWrap thermal therapy products.
Their thermal therapy wraps are available in six different designs specifically manufactured for the area of the body it is designed to aid: Shoulder/ Knee - Leg /Foot-Ankle-Achilles/ Elbow/ Lumbar/ Wrist/ and coming soon one for the neck!
ActiveWrap sent me one of their knee wraps to review. I do not (knocks on wood) have a leg injury, but I used this heat and cold therapy wrap as if I did for a full review, and the efficacy of heat/cold therapy on sports injuries is well documented, so I focused more on durability, comfort, ease of use etc.
The best thing about ActiveWrap thermal therapy products is that each one is specifically designed and manufactured with the joint in mind. The leg wrap was fully adjustable (and they come various sizes) and very comfortable to wear and move with. Obviously mobility is hindered, but I was able to bend my knee a few degrees with ease and comfort without the wrap sliding or shifting out of position.
Adjustable Velcro straps hold securely and look quite strong and durable. Overall durability is something that is hard to discuss in an initial review, as time will tell how well the thermal therapy product holds up. Initial inspection shows reinforced seems and top grade Velcro on the 3" compression straps which spiral around the knee keeping gentle pressure. The wraps and material (a medical plush cloth) are very flexible and comfortable throughout.
The gel packs were easy to heat and cool, offering a thick gel that does not "migrate"into a corner of the packet. Average pre ported lifespan on the gel packs is 2-3 years with daily use. These are non-toxic and safe and easy to pack into luggage when traveling.
Overall I think ActiveWrap's heat and cold therapy wraps are something all martial artists, personal trainers, rehab specialists, team medics / doctors, should have in their arsenal. Though modestly priced individually ($24-$70 USD), the only significant downside to the products are the fact that to be truly prepared for any injury (in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu we use and get attacked with all our body parts) one must purchase all of the products which could be a bit cost prohibitive. Perhaps ActiveWrap should consider a bundle package with discount in their future marketing. Overall, ActiveWrap is a great way to deal with martial arts injuries.