Cold & Heat Therapy
Cold therapy will decrease the permeability of the blood vessel walls, slowing the leaks and keeping healthy, undamaged tissues from "drowning" in excess fluids. Cold Therapy can help improve most muscle, joint and soft tissue injuries. The cold temperature of the ice helps to decrease blood flow to the injured area. In turn, reduced blood flow helps minimize swelling and inflammation, dissipate heat, and alleviate pain. At the same time, cold therapy slows metabolism of the tissue surrounding the injury, which helps minimize further damage and, as a result, speeds healing.
Heat supports the final stage of healing, when the body is actively replacing cells and repairing tissues with specialized cells delivered via the bloodstream. Applying heat at this point boosts circulation to the area, speeding the cleanup. Heat can facilitate the healing process because the increased metabolic activity in the cells causes an increase in oxygen demand locally. As a result, vasodilation occurs to increase the amount of blood bringing oxygen and nutrients to the area. Membrane diffusion and enzymatic activity also increase, enabling oxygen consumption and waste removal
Alternating Hot and Cold Therapies:
Alternating hot and cold therapy encourages the body’s natural "cleanup crew" of white blood cells and natural chemicals that engulf and destroy dead cells and other physiological debris. The application of heat speeds circulation to the area, while cold will restrict it. Alternating the two creates a "pumping" action that speeds healing.