Hot and Cold Therapy

Dr. Kumar’s lifestyle centre is a naturopathy center that employs natural methods to treat modern day illness and diseases. Hot and cold therapy is one of effective method to treat physical pain. The principle behind employing this method is that heat relaxes muscle and cold minimizes inflammation and pain. Hot and cold is one of the most effective therpay to detoxify the body and to improve local blood circulation.

hot and cold

Effective in:

  1. Physical pain
  2. post-surgery pain
  3. acute injuries
  4. muscle spasms
  5. joint pains
  6. arthritis
  7. Back pain
  8. obesity
  9. cervical spondylosis

Hot And Cold Therapy

As a child, we used to get so many injuries while playing. Do you remember the ice application that your mum used to tell you to put on those nasty injuries, followed by heat application using the hot bag? The hot and cold therapy is undeniably simple, but the combination if used in the right way can help to relieve muscle strains, lower back pain, and even arthritis. But it is important to understand how you should use it to get effective results.

Treating pain with cold and hot is extremely effective for numerous injuries and conditions. At the same time, it is easily affordable. But it is essential to understand the situations that call for hot and cold therapy. Both hot therapy and cold therapy can be applied individually, as well. As the general thumb rule, we use ice for curing acute pain and injuries along with swelling and inflammation. On the other hand, it can be used for muscle stiffness and pain.

Alternating Hot And Cold Therapy For Injuries

Have you ever wondered why hot and cold therapy is used as an alternative for curing injuries? You need to first understand the concept of contrast therapy in order to get in-depth knowledge of this therapy. It is vital to understand when you should apply this therapy, as well.

Advantages Of Ice For Treating Injuries

The application of ice therapeutic capacity is called cryotherapy. This is highly effective as it leads to vasoconstriction or construction of the blood vessels. The contraction of muscles reduces inflammation, which further lowers the pain signals, as well.

Advantages Of Using Heat For Treating

Heat therapy works in an alternative manner. It can be defined as a vasodilator that helps in increasing circulation by expanding or blood vessels. It helps in reducing pain as well as relieving aching muscles and cramping.

Again, it addresses specific nutrients probability to the area which is badly injured. Thus, it helps in the overall healing process, while aiding our body to get rid of the toxic substances. Furthermore, heat can actually make your inflammation worse.

Advantages Of Alternating The Hot And Cold Therapy

Now, as mentioned above both heat and eyes bring their own set of benefits to the table from the aspect of healing and pain relief. At times, it is not a good idea to apply one over the other because both can be suitable treatments to cure injuries quickly. In such cases, contrast therapy is the best option.

How Can You Apply Hot And Cold Therapy?

There are multiple methods for using hot and cold therapies. It can be either conducted in the form of local applications or simply by immersing the whole body.

Local Applications For Hot And Cold Therapy

The contrast therapy can be directly applied on the affected area of our body in several ways, which are as follows:

  • Ice Packs And Heat Wraps

You can come across the heating and cooling pads in supermarkets, drug stores, online ecommerce, sites and pharmacies.

  • DIY Cooling Packs
  • You can put a towel in cold water and keep it in refrigerator for 15 minutes
  • You can fill a sealable plastic bag with ice
  • You can use a frozen bag of peas
  • DIY Heating Packs
  • You can soak a towel in hot water
  • You can fill a pillowcase or sock with white rice and sew the ends. You can hit the reusable bag in the microwave for nearly 60 seconds before using
  • You can heat massage stones available in the market in a slow cooker.
  • Spraying Or Pouring

This method focuses on a stream of water flowing from shower head faucet or hose on the infected body part. You can also use water from containers or buckets directly on the affected area. But, it demands refilling the container every time.

  • Partial Body Motion For Contrast Therapy

You can simply soak the injured area in a bathtub sink bucket of water cold water to reap the benefits.

  • Whole Body Immersion For Contrast Therapy

The full-body hot and cold therapy for the thermal workout involves soaking in cold water, and then immediately switching on to hot water. This transition needs to be repeated several times.

However, it is not practical for many people but this kind of contrast bath can be easily conducted by moving back and forth between a sauna and a pool. Also, it can be quite dehydrating and tiring, especially if you are an elderly person or have health problems like blood pressure and heart disease.

Once you decide on using contrast therapy, there are plenty of methods available. You will need a stopwatch or clock to know the application of each therapy. However, there is no need to be so excessively precise. However, it is always best to use the compressor therapy in the ratio of 3 minutes heat to 1 minute cold.

Pain relief gels and sprays work according to a specific concept. They first prefer to cool down the stabbing pain, followed by the application of heat to relax the body muscles.

The Basic Pattern For Application Of Hot And Cold Therapy:

  • You should begin with the cold therapy for 1 minute
  • Applied heat therapy for 3 minutes
  • Apply the cold therapy for 1 minute
  • Applied heat therapy for 3 minutes
  • Apply the cold therapy for 1 minute
  • Apply the heat therapy for 3 minutes
  • Complete the process with 1 minute of cold therapy

The contrast therapy should be executed one to two times everyday unless the injury gets completely healed. You can witness the improvements within just 2 to 3 days. But this basic treatment is helpful only for minor injuries. You can consult your doctor for major injuries because hot and cold therapy is not an alternative to medicines. It’s a complementary therapy that should be carried out with other healthcare solutions.

Read More Therapy : Neurotherapy

Tips For Contrast Therapy

As discussed above, the therapy is undeniably straightforward. But following certain tips and tricks can help you to get better results and quick relief from the pain.

Drink Plenty Of Water

Staying hydrated can be defined as the key to maintaining the overall well being. It is more crucial to enjoy complete benefit of the contrast therapy.

Skin Protection

When using ice packs, you can apply a thin layer of cloth between your skin and the pack to avoid burning.

Stretching Exercises

If your doctor advised you to stretch your muscles, do not avoid it. Moreover, you should do it while applying hot therapy.

Do Not Skip The Timings

A common mistake that we all make is skipping on the timings, especially the heat therapy which is 3 minutes alternatively. But you need to understand that if you do not apply as much heat as it needs, you will not get the effective results. If you use heating packs that usually cool down quickly, you can apply heat for an additional two minutes.

Understand Your Body

If you feel pain while undergoing the hot and cold therapy, immediately stop the treatment. It is quite possible that you are using temperatures that are too extreme, or you may need a different application method, like spray or pack.

Prepare Yourself For The Occurrence Of Pain

It is quite normal that the pain returns after a few hours of completing the contrast therapy, especially during the initial days of the treatment. In the due course of time, the severity of the pain will reduce.

Always Finish It With The Cold Therapy

Never make the mistake of completing the therapy with heat as it may exacerbate inflammation and swelling. Finish it up with cold therapy and enjoy an active life.

Hot and cold therapy is effective at treating different pain and inflammation. It brings result, however, it should be practiced only under supervision. To know more about this therapy, its benefits, how it works or to get treatment of pain with this alternative therapy, get in touch with our team of experts.

More therapy: Naturopathy , ayurveda, Physiotherapy