So what is Contrast Bathing?
Contrast bathing is not something new. However considering how effective it is, it’s extremely surprising most of us don’t really use it to its full potential, or know how to administer it properly. Another name for contrast bathing is hot/cold immersion therapy. The method is fantastic at flushing out swelling and bruising of an effected muscle.
Basically the treatment immerses the effected area in ice/cold water followed by the immediate immersion in warm water.
Contrast bathing can be used to reduce swelling around injuries or to aid recovery from exercise. The theory behind contrast bath therapy is that the warm water causes vasodilatation (Widening of arteries.) of the blood flow in the muscle followed by the cold water, which in turn causes vasoconstriction (narrowing of arteries). Causing a flushing effect. So we can reduce swelling as soon as possible. This in turn gives us a better range of movement quicker and we can begin the real healing process.
Below is a basic guide to an ankle injury
Scenario – You have been caught by a Jimmy Dean tackle and the ankle has swollen.
First off you will need a couple of buckets, so as to fully immerse the effected area. Like below. Fill both two thirds full or a little more if needed, so the area can be totally immersed. Fill both containers two thirds full, one with warm water (105°F to 110° F or 40°C to 43°C), and the other with cold water (50°F to 65°F or 10°C to 18°C).
Make sure you have a stopwatch too!
We are going to do the treatment over the next 4-6 days.
DAYS1 and 2 Post injury (ASAP!)
Start with COLD and Finish on COLD for a total of 30-45minutes. At least 3 times a day.
4Mins COLD -1 WARM – 4Mins COLD -1Mins WARM and so on…………
If at times the cold is too much to bear simple rest for a few seconds then continue.
DAYS 3 and 4 Post injury
Start with COLD and Finish on COLD for a total of 30-45minutes repeats. At least 3 times a day.
2mins COLD – 2mins WARM – 2Mins COLD -2Mins WARM -2Mins COLD.
DAYS 5 and 6 Post injury
Your nearly there! Start with WARM and Finish on WARM for a total of 30-45minutes repeats. At least 3 times a day.
4mins WARM – 1mins COLD – 4Mins WARM -1Mins COLD- 4Mins WARM.
If the swelling is still apparent or you are worried at all visit your local physio or walk in centre!
During this time you should also if working without pain look to begin stretching and strengthening exercises. (Get them off your local therapist, OR me!)
If you would like to learn more about the human body or have an interest in a career in the fitness industry, please don’t hesitate to contact us at www.body-aid.co.uk