- Injury care: If you find that you have sustained an injury, ice and heat can be two of your best friends during recovery. Of course, consult with your doctor about use, but you can generally follow these guidelines:
If something is swollen, ice it for 20 to 30 minutes up to four times per day. For chronic injuries, you can alternate 20 minutes of heat followed by 20 minutes of ice two times per day.
- Injury prevention: For athletes, ice can be the best injury prevention. Particularly for runners and bikers, an ice bath after a workout will help decrease inflammation in the body and prevent injuries. Sitting for up to 20 minutes is best, but even five minutes makes a world of difference. For sore muscles after any workout, take a hot shower to help loosen up.
- Circulation: Alternating heat and ice can be the best boost for your circulatory system. Visiting a spa with hot and cold tubs is the best alternative for this. If you don't have access to a spa of this nature, creating a hot/cold contrast in your own shower is easy to do. Start with five minutes of hot water, as hot as you can stand, and soak for a while. Then alternate as quickly as possible with icy cold water. This will likely take your breath away, but it will also boost your circulation and elevate your mood. Cold showers were one of the earliest treatments for depression!
So this week, try using hot and cold therapies in your daily routine. Whether you are recovering from an injury or just boosting circulation, ice and heat are your friends!