It has been proven that the effect of heat and cold brings the same results as treatment with medicines or herbs. The influence of temperature on our body can improve its condition. I do not only mean the effect of temperature on a specific place, but also its effect on our entire body. It is enough to observe how our skin reacts after being exposed to high and low temperatures.
And so when ice is applied to the skin, it becomes cold, its color changes. This is because the blood vessels that are located under the skin contract and less blood get into the vessels.
If something warm is applied to the skin, the skin in this spot becomes warmer and takes on much stronger colors, even to very red.
In this case, the blood vessels under the influence of heat expand and more blood fills the vessels.
How to affect pain – diseases?
Thus, the use of both heat and cold is an effective way to improve our health and help in the treatment of already diseased conditions.
- Warm and cold compresses.
For a long time, in this way, our grandmothers and mothers have applied warm or cold compresses to reduce pain, swelling, accelerate healing, relax tense muscles, accelerate tissue regeneration.
- Cooling or warming ointments and creams.
A similar effect (to the one above) is also in the case with the use of appropriate ointments or creams with a cooling or warming effect.
Also when performing inhalations of varying degrees of temperature, they help with lung diseases or sinus treatment.
- Cold baths.
- Snow chambers.
- Different types of saunas: Finnish, infrared, steam, etc.
Such treatments improve blood circulation, accelerate metabolism, help get rid of many toxins and harmful substances from our body.
The easiest way is to make a compress, either hot or cold. Each of us can prepare the right equipment and start the treatment.
Sometimes it will be ice, other times frozen vegetables from the fridge, plastic bag, towel, or cotton cloth. At the store, we can buy special gel compresses, which we can cool down or heat up as needed. Also, a hot water bottle has been helpful for such therapies.
When to choose hot or cold in the therapy?
- Cold compresses are mainly used in acute cases, such as muscle bruises or joint sprains and various other injuries immediately after they occur. By using them quickly, we will not only control the pain, but it will also reduce inflammation; and the swelling will be smaller. Cold compresses also relieve pain around burn wounds, after some procedures, after tooth extraction. An additional advantage is that after shrinking, the blood vessels reduce bleeding in the case of wounds. However, we must remember that we only need to cool the surface of the body, not freeze; we should always additionally isolate the skin from a cold compress with a piece of material. Skin color should be such an indicator for us, if it has changed, turned pale, or turned blue, we should stop the treatment.
- Warm compresses work quite the opposite. The heat causes the blood vessels to expand, which causes more blood, nutrients, and oxygen to flow into the tissues. We use warm compresses in chronic conditions, ex. rheumatic joint pains, musculoskeletal pains, strains, increased tension, and also relax excessively tight smooth muscles. Helpful in the treatment of renal colic, relieve abdominal pain during menstruation. Wraps, both hot and cold, improve the body’s condition; strengthen the circulatory system, ex. warm and cold foot and hand baths, sauna interrupted by cold baths. For these treatments, we must remember that we always start with heat. Cold action has a shrinking effect on vessels and maintains heat inside heated tissues. In the winter season, it is easy to freeze or cool down the body. But we can not be afraid of the cold. We should go out on the fresh air, participate in winter sports, or just walk even in the cold. We stimulate our immune system, strengthen it, but after returning home we should immediately warm up and here you can use: a hot water bottle, warm compresses, or a warm bath.
Source: Health without Medicines, article dr. Ani Kołodziejskiej. „ Healing with temperature- hot or cold compresses.”