Hot vs. Cold Therapy
Using a hot or cold therapy pillow is an easy and inexpensive way to treat pain at home, whether you want to reduce inflammation from an acute injury or manage chronic tension or pain.
My massage clients regularly ask me to clarify if they should use heat or ice for their various musculoskeletal issues, so I have made a quick and easy reference guide below.
Effects of Heat Therapy
Increased blood flow
Oxygenation of local tissue
Improved tissue nutrition
Increased range of motion
Softens scar tissue
Use Heat Therapy For:
Muscle tension and spasm
When to Apply Heat:
Non-Acute Injury - After the first 72 hours.
Muscle Tension or Spasm - As needed.
How Long to Apply Heat: Apply Heat for 15-30 min at a time, repeat as needed.
Effects of Cold Therapy
Decreased blood flow
Reduced swelling & edema
Use Cold Therapy For:
Sprain or Strain
Acute Inflammatory Flare-up
When to Apply Cold:
Acute Injury - During the first 72 hours.
Acute Flare-Up - During the first 72 hours.
How Long to Apply Cold: 10-20 min, 3x daily.
When applying heat or cold therapy pillows avoid areas of the skin where there are open wounds, dermatitis, varicose veins or poor circulation due to diabetes.