Not too sure on this. The physical therapy community had its collective ass handed to it a few years ago when they were going after Chiropractic. PT had claimed for years that DC's had no research to hang their hat on...but most of western physical medicine has been used for ages and had no "proof" that it worked. Well...the DC's started publishing research and took the PT's to task and they fell back on "this is what we have always used..." not scientific and the same things that mainstream medicine uses to dismiss "alternative" therapies. You cannot have it both ways!
All that said I think there are now some good studies on ice vs. heat at various points post acute (injury) but this is tough stuff to study thoroughly. How do you cause identitical soft tissue injuries in 2 groups of people to compare this stuff? Clinical communications become important. From my own experience I throw my hat in with post acute cold and then contrast methods after 48-ish hrs. Make inflamed tissue more inflamed and you are fudged. Just because you make something feel more comfortable for a moment does not mean you are making it heal faster.
"Survival will be neither to the strongest of the species, nor to the most intelligent, but to those most adaptable to change."