Hot and Cold Therapy: Beneficial or Needless Self-Torture?
It is a known fact that heat or cold is a very common home remedy for pain. Whether in a form of a heating pad, liniments, it is the go-to pain relief choice. Heat and cold are commonly used for treating injuries to specific areas of the body.
But what about heating and cooling your entire body? We hear a lot about athletes soaking in a tub of ice cubes after a big game. Gyms featuring saunas to attract clients who go crazy using them after workouts.
Are these helpful in any meaningful way? Or is it just a silly fad without any merit?
Biohackers have promoted these ideas over the last few years. Let’s see if there’s any substance to their advice.
Spending time in a sauna regularly has its benefits:
Good for Stress Relief. Sitting in a sauna can feel wonderful. It’s stress-relieving and cleansing, especially after you wash the sweat off.
Facilitates the Formation of Heat Shock Proteins. Excessive heat stimulates specific genes to create heat shock proteins.
●These are helpful in eliminating free radicals in the body. Heat shock proteins can also repair damaged proteins.
Spending time in a sauna can prolong your life. Research has shown that spending some time in a sauna at least four days a week may reduce the incidence of several causes of death. These include fatal cardiovascular disease, coronary disease, and sudden cardiac death.
Endurance and aerobic capacity increase. Red blood cell counts and blood plasma volume increase with regular sauna use.
Increased circulation. Heat causes your blood vessels to dilate and increases your heart rate. This can help injuries to heal faster and improve mobility in joints affected by arthritis.
Keep in mind that normal sauna temperatures are just fine. There’s no reason to crank up the heat in hopes of gaining greater benefits. No benefit is worth risking your life. Be reasonable.
A nice cold bath might not be that appealing but learn the advantages before making decisions!
A 10-minute ice bath can be beneficial, too:
Reduces inflammation. Exposure to cold reduces inflammation. This is why you might ice a sprained ankle.It turns out that if you cool the entire body, the anti-inflammatory effect affects the entire body.
●An ice bath can reduce pain more effectively than just icing a specific area of the body.
●Many diseases, including heart disease, are believed to be at least partially due to systemic inflammation in the body. Regular ice baths may reduce the likelihood of developing many diseases.
It can enhance the immune system. White blood cell counts increase after spending time in an ice bath. This has been shown to reduce the likelihood of getting sick.
May reduce depression. Some studies have shown that regular ice baths can enhance mood.
The term “ice bath” is a bit of a misnomer. The most commonly researched temperature is 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which feels colder than you might think. It’s possible that your tap water is that cold. The time spent in the cold water was 8-12 minutes.
Maybe you don’t have access to a sauna or a cold bath. Will a hot tub, hot shower, or cold shower work just as well?
There’s not a lot of research on the benefits of these other options. It seems reasonable to assume that these could be viable substitutes, but there are no guarantees. It’s not too hard to find a health club that has a sauna, and you can take a cold bath or shower at home.
There are definitely health benefits to safely exposing yourself to hot and cold temperatures.
You may have also heard about the use of contrast bath, which is the use of contrasting temperatures that can shock the body due to the alternating action of vasoconstriction and vasodilation.
When the body is subjected to cold and capillaries constrict, it is called vasoconstriction. This also happens when an ice pack is used over bruises or inflamed joints. When heat is used, blood vessels open up, called vasodilation, dilating blood vessels. This is consistent with the physiological of heat: expansion.
In using hot or cold therapy, it is just important to remember: HEAT expands, COLD constricts. For muscle spasms, cramps, heat proves to provide relief than cold for already tight muscles. For inflammation, on the other hand, cold works better as it decreased warmth in inflamed joints or body parts.
The stress that these situations create stimulates the body to make healthy adaptations.
However, as with all things, it’s important to be safe and reasonable! If you use hot and cold therapy safely, they can benefit your health.
Nurse Sore Muscles Back to Health With These Home Remedies
Seems like I am on the roll here with sore muscles. I played tennis last night with friends and it seemed to be the topic among the players. This prompted me to do articles, quick and simple steps to nurse these sore muscles back to health!
Sore muscles have plagued us all. Regardless of our age, a stressed muscle can become sore when we start an exercise regimen, perform excessive manual labor, or even stay seated in the same position for too long! These aches and pains can make performing necessary tasks unbearable.
Soothe your aching muscles and nurse them back to health with these natural remedies:
1.Take a break. If your sore muscles are a consequence of overexertion or exercise, continuing the strenuous activity won’t help ease the soreness. Therefore, you should take a break from the routine so your muscles get a chance to recover.
·Muscle soreness from overexertion is the result of microscopic tears in the muscle tissue caused by the stress of the activity. Your body needs time to repair itself.
·If you start to experience soreness or stiffness during an activity, give it a rest. Pace yourself. Stretch sore area gently.
2.Soak in Epsom salt or vinegar. Epsom salt contains magnesium sulfate and can replace lost magnesium in the body, thus helping to keep the muscles pliable and loose. I especially love the scented ones, lavender. Vinegar is very effective at pulling out lactic acid from the muscles, which contributes to soreness.
3.Use an ice pack. Ice packs are super helpful with sore muscles. If possible, apply an ice pack immediately as soon as you feel the soreness. Keep the ice pack on the sore area for about 20 minutes and then remove it for another 20 minutes. Repeat the process two to three times. This process works great for muscle soreness due to injury too. It can keep bruising to a minimum. Ice helps reduce inflammation and allows your body to repair itself.
4.Get a massage. Usually, muscle stiffness and soreness are also accompanied by restricted blood flow. Get a professional massage. You deserve it. Find deals in your local area. Groupon, Facebook pages, etc. A massage can help stimulate the flow of blood around the sore areas. Here are some helpful tips:
·You don’t need to pay for a professional massage; all you need to do is gently rub the area yourself. Use mechanical massagers of choice. Percussors are also great for deeper tissue massage. Use exercise rollers under the hamstrings, ITB /ITband/Iliotibial band, or the quads/thigh muscles. You can also use a tennis ball over the sore spot.
·Apply this technique right before or after you applied the ice pack and you can get better results.
5.Boost your potassium levels.If you’re susceptible to muscle soreness or stiffness, it’s very possible that your potassium levels are low. You can quickly raise those levels by eating more bananas, which are rich in potassium. Coconut water is a favorite of mine and uses it instead of Gatorade during tennis games. cantaloupes, oranges, apricots, honeydew, grapefruit, potatoes, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, cucumbers, peas are just examples of potassium-rich foods. Some dried fruits (dates, prunes, and raisins) also are good sources.
·Drinking lots of water can also help to relieve and prevent stiff, painful muscles.
6.Apply apple cider vinegar.Who knew? Depending on the source of the soreness, you can do either a warm compress or a cold compress. Soaking the compress tool in apple cider vinegar is a great way to extract the lactic acid that contributes to sore muscles.
These simple home remedies are excellent for nursing your sore muscles back to health. Ignoring soreness or disregarding muscle discomfort as something that will eventually fix itself may not be the best idea!
VIDEO ABOVE: A Quick Way to Relieve Sore Muscles Stretching with an Exercise Ball
Make every effort to heal the muscles before getting back into your usual routine. Love your muscles. They serve you!
Chronic pain isn’t an easy condition to handle, but you can take control.
Simple changes in your lifestyle, diet, and exercise routines can help ease your pain. After all, you can be your own best physical therapist!
Try these techniques to experience relief:
1.Manage stress.Stress can increase chronic pain and make it more difficult to manage. Try a variety of strategies to relax and reduce stress to see which ones work the best for you.
·Yoga and meditation are two stress-reduction strategies that can help.
2.Try breathing exercises.
By simply focusing on your breathing, you can relax your muscles and reduce pain.
Deep breathing exercises can also reduce blood pressure, eliminate stress, and decrease heart rate. When you breathe in, breathe in through the nose and out through your mouth with a semi-pursed lip, slowly to allow better gas exchange in the lungs.
3.Find fun distractions.Instead of concentrating on the pain, try distractions that help you forget about it.
·Hobbies and activities such as watching your favorite movie or reading a new book can help. You may also want to try drawing or other ideas that help you fill your time and avoid thinking about the pain.
4.Increase your water intake.Dehydration can make chronic pain worse. Have you tried coconut water? Choose the pure coconut water, not from concentrate, no sugar added kind. Many brands are available in the market. I know it’s an acquired taste but it is rich in natural electrolytes and potassium. Muscle cramps? Coconut water can help. You can find many different brands at your favorite grocery or health foods store.
5.Avoid inflammatory food. Fast food and processed food can increase inflammation in your body, so your chronic pain also increases. Foods with a lot of sugar and salt also contribute to inflammation and increased pain.
6.Add more anti-inflammatory food.On the other hand, nuts, leafy greens, fatty fish, berries, and other items can help you fight inflammation and reduce pain.They have antioxidants that fight damage on the cellular level.
7.Focus on posture.Posture can help reduce the stress on your back and cut down on chronic pain.
·Consider the way you sit and stand. Experts recommend that you avoid slumping your shoulders and lowering your head. The spine should be straight, so circulation is better.
8.Discuss your health.Researchers have found that talking about your health can reduce pain. The American Psychological Association points out that talking about your pain can help you discover management techniques.
9.Try massage.Massages can reduce chronic pain by improving circulation and blood flow.
·Massages help reduce back, shoulder, and neck pain. They can also help your overall health. Improved circulation, looser muscles, helps uplift your mood from the endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers, being stimulated.
Try using heat or cold packs over sore muscles and joints. See which one gets you the best relief.
TIP:Heat expands: meaning, more blood flow into the area due to blood vessels and the lymphatic system more open. COLD constricts, used mostly with acute bruising or injury. Ask your physical therapist which one to use best for your condition.
10.Find support. Health experts recommend finding support groups that focus on chronic pain. These groups give you the chance to meet others who suffer from chronic pain.
·They can offer advice and tips for managing pain. They can also provide doctor and clinic reviews or recommendations. By talking to others who have chronic pain, you can learn new techniques to deal with your pain.
·Chronic pain is linked to anxiety and depression. The social aspect of support groups can also help in coping with these side effects.
·Support groups are less formal settings, and online groups offer privacy and anonymity, so you can feel comfortable sharing your experience.
Even if you take medication for your pain, you can further, reduce it with these techniques.
Follow your doctor’s advice, reduce stress and inflammation, and find support.
Life is worth living. And we do need to take charge if we want the pain relief we seek.