Hydrotherapy

Hot or Cold Therapy--which one is right for me?


Hydrotherapy is the general term used for applying hot or cold therapy on the body to reduce pain and or swelling.  If an injury is acute, within the first 72 hours of the injury, always use cold. If an area is red and swelling it is recommended to use cold therapy.  Please keep in mind swelling lasting longer than three days should be checked by a doctor.  It is very important to protect the skin and only apply hot or cold applications for twenty minutes, then give the area a rest for 40 minutes.  Trust your body when using hydrotherapy; if your body doesn’t like hot or cold use the opposite. Both hot and cold actually do the same thing.  That’s right. After a few minutes of application, the body reacts in the same way to hot and cold; trying to correct the temperature of the area and interfere with the pain cycle which has locked the body out of the healing cycle.  The body starts an ebb and flow of blood to warm or cool the area. In the meantime, the nervous system is inundated with a new set of stimuli and the pain cycle is broken, ahhhh, relief. Feel like you need to be kneaded? Contrast bathing is a technique you can do yourself.  Try alternating hot and cold to create a kneading or pumping effect in the muscle that is ailing you.  Always end with cold and use Mom’s trick check temperature with your wrist since repeated application to the same area will decrease sensation in addition to pain.

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