Heat or Cold?

There is an age old debate within sports medicine circles concerning when to use heat or cryotherapy for pain management after an injury has occurred.  Both are beneficial in different ways.

Heat is beneficial for:

  • dilating the blood vessels
  • loosening up tight muscle
  • Muscle spasms
  • chronic conditions


 Ice or cryotherapy is best for:

  • constricting blood vessels
  • reduce swelling
  • numbing painful areas
  • acute injury


What we have found to work best with all soft tissue injuries is to alternate heat, room temperature, and ice as opposed to using one or the other for prolonged periods of time.  The alternating heat-room temp- ice-room temp is a healing therapy for all soft tissue injuries. It works by dilating the blood vessels and pumping more oxygenated blood into the tissues to allow them to heal faster.

The healing effect is when the blood vessels change size so it is important to let the body part return to room temperature before changing to heat or ice again. Typically, each stage of the cycle should be 5 to 10 minutes. Prolonged heat and ice can do more harm than good, especially if you skip the room temperature phase. Using hot and cold to pump blood in an injured area will allow optimal oxygenated blood flow to the area that is injured, thus allowing more nutrients and healing chemicals into the area of concern so that it can heal fast.

Infinity Wellness Center 

1201 West Slaughter Lane
Austin, Texas 78748
512-328-0505 - phone
512-291-7702 - fax

Business Hours:

By appointment only. Our Herbal Pharmacy is open for walk-ins (for patients) during these hours.

M - 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
T - 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
W - 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
TH - 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own health professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. You should read carefully all product packaging. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider. As always, results will vary, even when clinical tests have displayed a large success rate.

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