Heat vs. Ice: The Benefits of Hot & Cold Therapy
Do you know the differences and benefits between hot and cold therapy? We sometimes recommend our clients to apply ice or heat after their massage sessions to help alleviate any pain from sore muscles or injuries they have. Depending on the condition, hot and cold treatments can help immensely in the recovery and healing process. However, applying the wrong one can aggravate or inflame the injury. Below are differences between the two and when to apply them.
HEAT – The application of heat is used to relieve chronic problems and is applied on your muscles for any aches and joint stiffness. Applying heat helps to reduce pain by increasing blood flow to stimulate circulation throughout the body. The increase in blood flow helps dilate blood vessels which allows for a better flow of oxygen and nutrients to the building blocks in tissue repair that aid in the healing process. Heat also promotes muscle relaxation and reduces fascia tension. The heat helps to restore movement and increases the elasticity of joint and connective tissues.
Use heat for any muscle aches, arthritis and joint stiffness. It can also be used before exercising to help relax any tight muscle areas as well.
ICE – The application of ice is used for injuries (usually from the last 72 hours) and acute pain. Cold therapy helps to reduce blood flow by constricting blood vessels, which in turn help to minimize damage and reduce amount of repair needed to the injury. Ice decreases inflammation, numbs pain and reduces any redness, bruising or swelling.
Use ice to relieve muscle spasms, sprains, and flare ups, and after exercise if you have any sore areas.