One of the most common questions I get asked is, “should I use heat or cold for an injury?”
And when I answer, “heat,” people often look perplexed…
…They start thinking about all of the times mainstream medicine practitioners recommended they use ice after an injury.
Here’s why it’s best to use heat after an injury: While the cold is good for the temporary relief of pain, you could be inhibiting the injury repair process by using ice.
So unless you’re a performance athlete who needs to function without pain, then you’re better off using heat outside the acute phase of injury (2-3 days after injury).
Mainstream medicine recommends injured patients use ice to “decrease inflammation.” However, the issue with that is inflammation is perfectly normal.
Ice decreases inflammation. However, inflammation is a completely natural bodily response to help the body protect itself so it can kick-start the healing process.
Without inflammation, injuries would never heal. It is completely normal and once your body has repaired itself, the inflammation will naturally go away.
As a result, using ice actually slows down your body’s natural repair process.
Here’s another simple truth about the cold:
Nothing grows or becomes healthier in the cold…
…So how do you expect to get better and recover using the cold?
Heat vasodilates the blood vessels bringing oxygen and nutrients to the injured area. This will make the repair process more efficient.
In the book, Philosophy of Osteopathy, Andrew Taylor states: “Winter KILLS Babies!”
While it’s certainly a dramatic statement, it does illustrate that we, as humans, are simply not built for cold.
The cold restricts your blood flow, and the lack of warm blood can lead to tissue freezing and rupturing.
In fact, in the two-millennia old clinical Chinese medicine textbook “Shang Han Lun,” which in English is called, “treatise on cold Damage Disorders,” the author, Zhang Zhong Jing, warns others of the dangers of the cold.
Another question I’m often asked is, “what are the risks or side effects of using ice? Or heat?”
Well, if the temperature is extremely cold or hot, you can risk getting a cold or heat burn, which could mean your recovery process could take even longer. So it’s important to be mindful about how comfortable you feel when applying heat or cold to your body.
Another great tip: Heated mattress cover! It would be like sleeping in Florida!
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