University of Louisville researchers continue to explore the mechanisms behind pain relief provided by Biofreeze® Topical Analgesic. At the 2010 Thera-Band Research Advisory Committee (TRAC) Meeting, Dr. Robert Topp presented the findings from his latest investigations to understand Biofreeze’s mechanism of action. Previous TRAC research from Dr. Topp and his colleagues (recently published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine) found that Biofreeze applied to the forearm significantly reduced blood flow in the brachial artery, similar to the changes seen with ice application. This reduction in blood flow is seen as the body’s natural response to cold application, which is often used in the acute stages of injury and to reduce pain. In his more recent research, Dr. Topp combined Biofreeze with ice application to investigate their individual and combined effects on blood flow. “We knew that Biofreeze application reduced blood similar to ice,” Dr Topp noted, “but we wanted to know the effect of combining Biofreeze and ice application at the same time.” The subjects reported that the Biofreeze application was more comfortable than the ice application and both reduced blood flow similarly (26 – 28% reduction). When ice and Biofreeze were combined, the reduction in blood flow was even greater (40%). Read the abstract here
In a separate study, Dr. Topp and his colleagues compared the effects of ice or Biofreeze application to the leg. The researchers tested the subjects for blood flow in both legs, as well as leg strength after application if Biofreeze gel (3.5%), Biofreeze wipes (10% menthol), and ice. Consistent with their previous findings, Biofreeze gel application reduced blood flow without decreasing leg strength. However, they made an interesting discovery: the blood flow was also decreased on the opposite leg that did not receive Biofreeze. Dr. Topp noted, “Our research suggests that Biofreeze’s mechanism of action may be related to a systemic effect.” That may be a significant finding in pain management because pain is regulated by the central nervous system. To learn more about how Biofreeze works, watch this video.