Osteopathy Secrets

Ice vs. Heat: What do I use and when?



(ice pack/bag of frozen peas/frozen tea towel etc) is best for any ACUTE injury, that’s something that’s JUST happened 💥 In an acute injury (think sprained ankle), there will be a high degree of inflammation, which causes some swelling around the tissues. In this instance, ice/cold packs will help bring the inflammation down. ⏰ I always recommend using an ice pack for 10-15 minutes at a time within an hour. You don’t have to leave it on there indefinitely, as you want a differentiation of temperature to stimulate the blood flow!


(heat pack/hot water bottle) is best for muscular aches and pain and arthritic pain. In these instances, the heat helps bring more blood flow into the area to help relax the tissues. ⏰ You can leave this on for 20 minutes or so.


is another fabulous was to stimulate blood flow to the injured tissues. The heat pack opens up the blood vessels, which will bring in more oxygen-rich blood to the area. Then the ice pack closes the blood vessels down, which shunts the blood with toxins away from the area. It works almost like ringing out a sponge! ⏰ With this method, place a heat pack on the affected area for 3 minutes, follow by an ice pack for 1 minute, and repeat 2 more times!

🛁 NOTE on baths/showers🚿

Although soaking in a hot bath or taking a cold shower is good for you, it won’t be specific enough to target blood flow to an injured area. It’s far better to use ice/heat packs on your injury and save your baths/showers for another time! 🛁


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