Like a hot shower for sore muscles? Try this!

Like a hot shower for sore muscles? Try this!

Danielle by Danielle

Using heat and cold can be a great way to decrease the discomfort of a sore back/neck/muscle group on your own.

We often recommend using a contrast “1:3:1” circuit of cold-hot-cold for clients to decrease muscle soreness, provided the painful/sore area is not noticeably inflamed (hot to the touch, swollen, or red). In this case, strictly using cold could be the best bet.

If you have any challenges with sensitivity to heat or cold—neuropathy, loss of sensation, or hypersensitivity in the area due to other medical conditions—please proceed with caution and consider talking to your doctor first.

  • The initial application of cold chases blood out of an area, taking with it waste products from the inflammation process (a natural aspect of the healing process).
  • The application of heat increases blood flow to an area, bringing with it fresh nutrients to support the natural healing/inflammation process.
  • We always finish with the application of cold again.

“Cold” can mean an ice pack or a cold or even cool water bath for an affected area.

Likewise, “hot” could mean a hot pack or a hot shower or an immersion in a warm water bath for an affected area.

The length of time you choose per application is based on the intensity of the method you choose (ie, using ice for a shorter period—2-5 minutes, versus a longer cool water bath), with your comfort and the 1:3:1 ratio in mind. This circuit can be used once or repeated, as desired.

I love my trusty electric hot pack at home, and I actually don’t mind a quick cold shower when I’m hurting but my personal favorite circuit: a trip to Ladywell’s Women’s Spa or Banya 5. A couple of sauna or steam room/cold plunge circuits work wonders for my sore muscles and stiff joints (my mood, too!).

Maybe I’ll see you there… 🙂