Cold & Hot Treatment

After treatment, you may be advised to apply ‘Ice’ or ‘Heat’ to the symptomatic area. This may be for many reasons but the general purpose is to relieve pain and to control the swelling process by constricting local blood vessels thus slowing down blood flow. Useful, especially after an acute injury.


Hot and Cold
In some circumstances, advice given may encourage the use of both heat and cold treatment. The cold acts explained above, whilst on the other hand, heat is important for treating chronic pain. Heat increases blood flow to the region, stimulating the elimination of Congregational toxins and inflammatory bi-products. It reduces soreness and stiffness by decreasing spasms, to bring relief.


Types of Cold Therapy
Cold should only be applied locally, It should never be used for more than 10 minutes at a time. You can apply cold using:

  • an ice pack
  • an ice towel (a damp towel that has been sealed in plastic and placed in the freezer for about 10 minutes)
  • an ice massage
  • a cold gel pack
  • a bag of frozen vegetables


Tips for Applying Cold

  • Apply cold immediately after an injury or intense, high-impact exercises.
  • Always wrap ice packs in a tea towel before applying to an affected area.
  • It’s advisable to repeatedly ice the painful or swollen area. However, you should give your body a break between sessions.
  • Do not use ice in areas where you have circulation problems.
  • Apply pressure of the cold onto the affected area i.e. pain to back muscles = sitting back against the cold.
  • Never use ice for more than 10 minutes at a time.


Types of Heat Therapy
There are two types of heat therapy known as Local and Systemic.

Local heat is applied to a specific area with a:

  • hot water bottle
  • heating pad
  • moist heat (hot, damp towel)
  • heat wraps

Systemic Heat raises your body temperature with a:

  • hot bath
  • sauna
  • steam bath
  • hot shower

Tips for Applying Heat

  • Protect yourself from direct contact with heating devices.
  • Wrap heat sources within a folded towel to prevent burns.
  • Stay hydrated during systemic heat therapy.
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to systemic heat therapy.