Contrast therapy is a type of medical care in which a part of the body or a limb is submerged in hot water, followed by an immediate submersion in icy water. The method enhances blood flow throughout your body.
The treatment is best for edema, stiff joints, soft tissue inflammation, muscular spasms, and aching limbs. Athletes frequently use this therapeutic approach to alleviate muscle injury, aching or sore muscles, and to hasten the healing process following injuries.
The Do’s of Contrast Therapy
You might want to try contrast therapy after a minor accident to help your body restore its strength and normal function. You could have some inquiries if this is your first experience with contrast therapy.
Make a list of questions
It is common for human beings to forget. Before engaging in contrast therapy, develop a set of questions you may want to ask your doctor. Remember, the only way you will feel easy about the therapy is if you understand it more.
Note important details about your medical background
List all prescription and over-the-counter medications you now take or have recently taken. Include any vitamins and supplements you take as well. Note down any pertinent private information. Include items that may be connected to your illness, like recent tense events or injuries.
Talk to your doctor first
Immersion in cold water can seriously stress your heart since it alters your blood pressure, heart rate, and circulation. Many people have died during open-water swim competitions from heart attacks and exposure to the cold. Cold plunges are safer. Before you try it, please discuss the dangers with your doctor and be sure it is okay to submerge yourself in cold water.
Keep immersions brief
A short period may be all that is necessary to get the health benefits of cold water therapy. There is no therapeutic benefit to being in cold water for more than a few minutes, even though you can gradually build your cold tolerance.
Don’ts Of Contrast Therapy
A generally safe and simple treatment to perform at home is hot and cold therapy applied only to the affected areas rather than the entire body. Contrast treatment is not advised in some circumstances, though. If you have:
An acute injury
Due to the influence of heat on inflammation, injuries that have happened lately (within the last three days) should not be treated with heat or contrast therapy. When damage occurs, ice is recommended; contrast treatment can then be employed.
An open wound or skin issues
When used on patients who have burns, boils, cysts, cuts, scrapes, or sunburns, the therapy may result in bleeding or raise their risk of infection.
Circulatory and heart conditions
Extreme heat or cold may cause adverse reactions in people with low blood pressure, poor circulation, or heart conditions.
With this condition, hives form on the skin after exposure to cold temperatures. Fever or infection People already feeling warm from a fever or sickness may not benefit from applying heat.
Peripheral neuropathy/diabetic neuropathy
People already feeling warm from a fever or sickness may not benefit from applying heat.
Raynaud’s syndrome, characterized by constricted blood vessels in colder temperatures, would be negatively impacted by cold treatments.
Contrast Bath Treatment Sites
Contrast bath therapy may be used on your:
- Lower legs
Which Injuries Do Contrast Therapy Work Best For?
Contrast therapy will reduce any discomfort or edema brought on by different types of injuries. The hands and lower body are the areas where it works best to relieve pain. This adaptable therapy is effective for several ailments, such as:
- Foot, ankle, elbow, knee, wrist, neck, and shoulder sprains and strains
- Hot and cold therapy in combination for lower back pain
- Swelling (once the acute stage has passed) (once the critical step has passed)
- Spasms of muscles
- Joint pain
- Injuries from repetitive strain, such as tendonitis or tennis elbow
- Athletic injuries
- Flare-ups of fibromyalgia or arthritis, two chronic diseases
- Some cancer-related discomfort
- Any wound that hurts or swells
To determine whether hot and cold therapy is appropriate, talk to your doctor before using it. The list of medical conditions above is by no means comprehensive. Some persons may be advised to combine this therapy with medicine and physical activity for more significant pain relief.
The primary worry with contrast treatment if your doctor gives the all-clear, is the possibility of self-burning. Use just the hottest and coldest temperatures that you can stand. While warm or cold conditions can cause the skin to glow bright red, a deeper red hue signals that the skin is being scorched
Contrast treatment may or may not be effective for treating chronic lower back pain; many patients discover that all-day heat wraps provide them with more comfort.
Even though many people have hip pain due to its size and frequent fat padding, the hip joint is typically not the most excellent choice for contrast therapy. Contrast therapy is worth a try for many painful illnesses, given how easy and affordable hot and cold treatment is.