Did you know you can use hot and cold to relieve pain and inflammation, and help tense muscles relax? Sometimes there are days (like today) that call for more than a good back rub to bring relief 😉 I’m doing a hot-cold treatment while I type this, which makes it all the more interesting, because I’m consciously thinking about the exact process that is taking place in my neck and shoulders right now 🙂 … Besides, sitting on the couch with a warm cherry therapy pack on my neck is a great way to write a blog post at the end of a loooonnnnnngggg, and physically energy-draining day… and I can tell you all first-hand how great it works! Now the ice pack on the other hand…it’s a liittttlllleee cold!
Why Hot and Cold?
Heat increases the flow of blood by opening up the blood vessels, and drawing blood to the area that needs healing. Applying heat to tense, tight, or painful muscles, supplies the body with oxygen and nutrients, which helps to relax, reduce spasms, and alleviate pain. Cold has the opposite effect. It decreases the flow of blood, causing the blood vessels to constrict. This slows circulation, helping to reduce inflammation and swelling, while simultaneously providing a numbing effect to help with the pain. Together, hot and cold work very effectively to help the blood circulate, reduce swelling and inflammation, and alleviate pain – whether sore, stiff, or strained muscles, or other bodily aches and pains.
How To Apply It
Hot: I’m using one of these, heated for about 2 1/2 minutes (or to whatever temperature is nice and warm, but does not burn, and feels comfortable). But you can also use a heating pad, hot water bottle, gel pack, or even a hot bath. Apply to the area where there is inflammation, pain, or tension. Heat the area for 10-15 minutes, before switching to a cold treatment. Cold: You can use a Cherry Therapy Pack, ice pack or gel pack (wrapped in a cloth or towel), or a cold wet cloth. Apply to the area for 10-15 minutes, before switching back to heat. You can do several hot and cold treatments, rotating between the two. Note: if there is swelling / inflammation, I would highly recommend that you start with the cold treatment. Do not persist with a hot/cold treatment if you find that it is very uncomfortable or seems to make your symptoms worse. And now that I’m done writing this post, I’ve successfully made it through both hot and cold… feeling absolutely wonderful – relaxed and loosened from the tension and pain …also, slightly frozen from the cold pack 😉 Can you believe I’ve never done a hot/cold treatment before, up until tonight?! There’s a first time for everything, and sometimes that’s just the beginning 🙂 …