A contrast bath, or hot/cold immersion therapy, is one of the best ways to help nurse tendons, ligaments, and muscles back to health and maximum performance after an injury. It must be said that a contrast bath is worthless without proper and consistent physical therapy. The length of time to practice this therapy can vary depending on where and how severe the injury is. If unsure of how severe your injury is, please seek professional medical advice.

A contrast bath, or hot/cold immersion therapy, is one of the best ways to help nurse tendons, ligaments, and muscles back to health and maximum performance after an injury.

When should you NOT use contrast bath on an injury?

– When there is mild to severe swelling and if you are unable to load the injury you should not use a contrast bath.

– You should be practicing Rest Ice Compression Elevation (RICE) therapy.

– Acute injuries should be at least 48 hours old before using contrast bath therapy.

“RICE is used as the first treatment for many muscle strains, ligament sprains, or other bruises and injuries. RICE is used immediately after an injury happens and for the first 24 to 48 hours after the injury. “Rest, ice, compression, and elevation can help reduce the swelling and pain and help you heal faster.” –  Lee Mancini, MD

Seek professional medical advice if you think it is needed. If you are local to the DFW area, we recommend Dr. Crystal Hankel She is the best sports chiropractor we have found in DFW area.

When to contrast bath?

– Any time a limb or body part is sore, overworked, or injured, however, heat is not recommended if your injury is swollen.

– Rate your soreness on a scale of 1-5; 1 being not very sore to 5, extremely sore. If you are between 3-5

– We recommend doing two bath on your training days if 3-5. however If you are at 1-2, we recommend one session after training.

We will be using my ankle sprain as an example for my contrast therapy. I suffered a minor sprain a few months ago while climbing “13 crack” in Lincoln Lake, Arkansas (Climbing Beta).

The procedure that we use is a modification of what you find on other sites that give you the how to on contrast bath.. The reason I have modified my procedure is to to help my body flush fresh blood in and out of the injured area like a hydraulic pump. Please do as much research as you can before trying something new on your own, or seek out help.

Gear list

Procedure:

– Wrap the joint to be treated – this is to protect the skin from direct contact

– Cold ice water 40-45 degrees for 50 sec (I alway ice first because there is usually some slight swelling on my ankle after a good climbing training session.)

– 10 sec out of water

– Hot water 100-110 degrees for 50 sec (add hot water as needed to maintain temperature)

– 10 sec out of water

– Repeat for a total time of 10 min, ending with a cold bath

Sites sources

– Lee Mancini, MD http://www.uhs.wisc.edu/health-topics/muscles-and-bone/rice.shtml

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