Sometimes it can be difficult to determine exactly which therapy you should use for which kind of injury. Both heat and cold can be very beneficial for all sort of soreness and injuries, but the wrong treatment at a sensitive time can lengthen the time it takes to heal, or even aggravate or inflame the injury to a further extent than it already was before the treatment. This article will be geared towards showing you when ice or heat should be used for massage.
Ice vs Heat When Used For Massage
When To Use Cold
Cold therapy is for injuries that have happened in the last 72 hours. Muscle strain or sprains leave bruising, and this usually means that there is some amount of bleeding which can result in inflammation and swelling. Cold causes the blood vessels to constrict, which can help to slow bleeding and reduce swelling. This can also reduce muscle spasms. Ice can also be used to control the pain and swelling from chronic conditions, but it should only be used after the activity.
Don’t Use Cold
You shouldn’t really use ice or cold therapy in areas where you have poor circulation. People with Diabetes, elderly people, or small children are all at the highest risk of injury when using cold treatments. If you have a heart condition, avoid placing ice packs on the left shoulder.
When To Use Heat
Heat therapy is best used for chronic pain and stiffness that isn’t accompanied by inflammation. The heat can be delivered in a variety of ways including water bottles, heating pads, and heat stones just to name a few. Heat can also be applied in pools and baths. The skin of the area should be checked frequently, and the heat shouldn’t be too hot. Too much heat can cause damage and scalding. Never leave heat lamps or heating pads on while sleeping. Heat should only be applied for 15 – 20 minute intervals.
Don’t Use Heat
Warmth and heat can increase blood flow to the heated area, so heat is never a good idea for an injury that is still showing signs of heavy inflammation. Never use heat before any sort of vigorous exercise. This can loosen muscles in a way that makes certain exercise routines dangerous. If an area persists with redness, do not use heat and contact your doctor. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Also Use Essential Oils for Massage
If you’re someone who is familiar with essential oils, you probably have some knowledge about their usefulness, and how they can be used medicinally for a variety of common conditions. It should make sense then, that pairing essential oils with the ancient practice of massage can have a host of benefits for a person looking to be seen by a massage therapist.