Tips For Doing Hot and Cold Therapy
1. Listen To Your Body
Your body is good at telling you what it needs, so it’s important to listen to it when you’re doing hot and cold therapy. If you find that contrast therapy is working considerably well, continue with it and make adjustments based on your specific needs at that time.
On the other hand, if the application of heat or cold is causing you more pain or feels extremely uncomfortable, stop immediately. You can avoid this by wearing appropriate clothing and only using the coldest and hottest temperature you can realistically handle and working your way up (or down) in temperature later. Thrive’s Plunge is set to a temperature of 50 degrees and our sauna is 150 degrees, if you’re curious
2. Stay Hydrated
It’s important to stay hydrated when doing hot and cold therapy, as it can cause you to sweat a lot. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your therapy session to ensure that you stay hydrated. You might also want to consider using a sports drink to replenish your electrolytes.
3. Protect Your Skin
When using hot or cold therapy, it’s important to protect your skin from burns or frostbite. We require you to place a towel on the seat of the sauna to help with the comfort level of the heat on the seat. you may also want to place it behind your back if you are leaning on the seat back.
4. Stretch During Heat
When you’re using heat therapy, it’s important to stretch during or after your session when your body is already warmed up but before you switch to the cold therapy session. This will help increase blood flow and prevent cramping. The best thing…take one of our yoga classes after!
5. Don’t Underuse Heat
A common mistake people make in contrast therapy is underusing heat by not using water (or other method) that is hot enough. When you’re using heat therapy, don’t be afraid to use it for longer periods of time. The benefits of heat therapy are cumulative, so the longer you use it the better. Just make sure that you’re listening to your body and only use as much heat as you can handle. As you continue to use it in the long-run, you can increase your time in the sauna.
6. Try to Increase Contrast Intensity as You Go
When doing contrast therapy, it’s important to gradually increase the intensity of both the heat and cold applications to build the contrast. With both hot and cold, start with the amount of time you can handle and build up your tolerance.
7. Finish With Cold Therapy
When you’re completing your hot and cold therapy session, always finish with cold therapy. If you finish with heat, it may worsen swelling and inflammation. If you don’t have either swelling or inflammation you may consider ending with heat but we highly recommend finishing with cold as you begin your contrast therapy journey.
8. Know That The Pain May Return At First
In the early days of your hot and cold therapy sessions, it’s normal for the pain to return after several hours. However, this doesn’t mean that the therapy hasn’t worked – with time, the pain should grow less severe and get slower to return. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Other Safety Considerations
There are a few other safety considerations that you should keep in mind when doing hot and cold therapy:
- Don’t use cold or heat therapy on open wounds.
- If you have any kind of heart condition, consult with your doctor before using either heat or cold therapy.
- If you start to feel dizzy, nauseous, or lightheaded during your therapy session, stop immediately and consult with your doctor.
Better Together: Hot and Cold Therapy
Alternating hot and cold therapy goes beyond the benefits you’d get from heat or ice alone. Contrast therapy is a great recovery combination to treat injuries, speed up the healing process, and reduce pain for both chronic conditions and acute injuries. It’s a great option for most people since it’s easy and treats so many conditions – so what are you waiting for? Try using hot and cold therapy today!