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Reviewed: Hyperice X Contrast Therapy Knee Wrap

The Hyperice X is a novel portable-contrast therapy device, but is it worth the $450 price tag for just your knee? We break it down.

Review Rating


Basics

Hyperice packs the benefits of contrast therapy in a convenient home therapy device with their new Hyperice X.  


Pros

It works

Wireless/Mobile

Surprisingly quiet

Cons

Costly for a single body part

Heavy


Price

$450

Brand

Hyperice


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Hyperice is no stranger to recovery devices. Possibly best known for their Hypervolt percussion therapy device, the company has expanded their recovery portfolio to include Normatec compression and now contrast therapy with the new Hyperice X. Contrast therapy uses alternating heat and cold to cause the blood vessels to dilate and then constrict, resulting in increased circulation. Improved circulation speeds recovery by helping the body deliver oxygen-rich blood and nutrients while shuttling inflammation and waste products/metabolites away from injured areas. Prior to the Hyperice X, you would have to use sauna/jacuzzi/or heating pads followed by cold plunge or ice packs to achieve contrast therapy. You can ditch all that mess and expense now and reach for the convenience of the Hyperice X.

Related: Reviewed: Hyperice Hypervolt Bluetooth

Hyperice X: The Basics

The device is definitely unusual looking, but there’s a lot going on inside that Batman-inspired form factor. Much like Hyperice’s latest percussive devices, the Hyperice X is Bluetooth operated, and is wireless with a battery runtime of about 1.5 hours. Very importantly, the X only works for knees, and the moderately flexible knee wrap is held in place by three velcro straps with five fans attached to the fronts.It’s operating range is 32 degrees F to 113 degrees F and takes approximately 60 seconds to go from one end of the temperature spectrum to the other.

hyperice x

Hyperice X: The Good

Contrast therapy has been used to effectively treat injuries and speed recovery for many years. Unless you have been living under a rock (in which case you really should consider contrast therapy as you will be sore) you have likely heard your favorite podcast host touting the benefits of it. Maybe you’ve seen Laird Hamilton’s awesome backyard set up with a sauna and cold plunge, or heard Joe Rogan singing its praises. I have been using contrast therapy both in the training room and clinic over the years to help speed recovery during injury and for addressing soreness during increased training volume. The down side with this method is that it is messy, inconvenient, and wasteful.  Imagine how many hot packs/cold packs/hot tub fill up and clean/cold plunge fill up and clean/towels…you get it. If you have a big budget, the space, the time, and resources to pull it off—sauna and cold plunges are awesome.

But, reality check: Unless you are Laird Hamilton or Joe Rogan (and if you are—thanks for reading!) you’ll need a more sustainable method for contrast therapy. With this device, you get a convenient-to-use, cordless, no mess, and effective constrast therapy device.

On first glance, I was expecting the Hyperice X to be gimmicky. After all, it looks like something Darth Vader would be wearing. But upon first use, I was quickly put in my place. Simply stated, it works, and it works well. I have used it on myself and in the clinic with patients and the response was the same—amazed. This device gets cold and hot quickly and comfortably. And surprisingly quietly. The hum from the fans during the cold cycle is quiet, making listening to music or the TV easy without the need to increase the volume.

On that note, being cordless and flexible allows you to get up off the couch during use to grab some nutrition and your recovery beverage of choice without interrupting your chosen treatment program. The app is pre-programmed with various recovery protocols—or you can use the device with your chosen manual temperature control or simply as a pure cold or hot device.

Hyperice X: The Not-So-Good

Although the Hyperice X does strap into place and is mildly pliable, allowing you to bend your knee somewhat during use, it does weigh two pounds and is a bit too bulky to plan on much moving about during treatment. This means you will likely be in place for 18 minutes (a common duration for pre-programmed therapy). So for you Type-A athletes out there who feel that down time is wasted time (yep, I’m talking to you), plan on a leisurely upload of your Strava workout and consider adding photos to your feed to keep you planted for a bit. Remember, this is recovery after all.

hyperice x

Now let’s address the $450 question: 450 bucks for just a knee? Yep, that is correct.  I have experimented with placing the unit on my quads and upper back trying to squeak out some financial justification for the unit. Although it does get the job done, it is not ideal for any other body part than the knee. Is that a steep price to pay for just one joint?  Maybe, but for the athlete that suffers from knee pain that limits their ability to enjoy or even participate in recreational activity, that price point becomes reasonable.

Conclusions

The Hyperice X is an easy-to-use device that brings the benefits of contrast therapy into your home. Given the effectiveness of the knee unit and anticipated positive response (and the fact that they’re selling like hotcakes), I imagine Hyperice releasing additional units for other body parts to further expand their footprint in the recovery space.