Therapy – Heat or Ice?


Now that we have shed some light on when to use heat or ice treatment, where heat is great for general muscle relaxation, and ice for any acute injury and/or swelling, I want to go over the safest methods of application.

For ice, there are three common methods:

  1. Take an ice cube and rub it on the injured area until it melts
  2. Put some ice in a bag, get a thin cloth or towel, wet with cold water, and wrap the ice with the cloth before applying directly on the skin.  I really encourage the use of real ice, since it will have longer lasting effect than ice packs or a bag of frozen veggies.  Also do not apply plastic bags directly on the skin, since it could cause injury.
  3. For hand/feet injury, get a small bowl or bucket, and fill it with ice and water.

Ice should be applied for no less than 10min, up to a maximum of 15min.  You really have to wait until all the cold, burning, needle like sensations stop and give way to numbness, only then are you getting the best of the treatment.

For heat, again use a towel in between the heat source and your skin, and check your skin to make sure you’re not causing any burning.  Never apply for more than 30min, and you should be able to feel the heat, but don’t make it too hot.

Next week I’ll start on the topic of the head and neck, and teach you simple postural exercises which yield great long lasting results.