When your body aches—whether it’s due to an injury, a chronic condition, or just good old fashioned post-workout soreness—a change in temperature may be the key to relief.
For centuries, doctors have used various hot and cold therapies to treat muscle pain and accelerate muscle recovery. Heat and ice both help your body heal in different ways—the question is, which one works best?
The answer? It depends on the pain.
Let’s take a moment to talk about hot and cold therapies, how they work, and when to use them.
Heat therapy, also known as thermotherapy, works by improving circulation in your muscles. Raising the temperature in your soft tissues causes your blood vessels to dilate, which increases blood flow. This helps eliminate the buildup of lactic acid—one of the primary causes of post-workout soreness.
Heat also has a natural relaxing effect on your body and your mind. It helps soothe strained muscles, eases tension, and relieves stress, all of which helps speed up your body’s recovery process.
You can apply heat therapy locally with an electric heating pad, a hot water bottle; or apply it to your full body with a sauna or by soaking in a hot bath.
Another great heath therapy tool is KoreSphere. Read on to find out how it accelerates muscle recovery!
When to Use It
Heat therapy is most effective when treating chronic pain, stiffness, and soreness. This includes conditions like:
- Strains and sprains
- Back pain
- Muscle spasms
Heat therapy can also be an effective warmup tool. Use it before a workout to keep your muscles loose and pliable, and help prevent strain injuries.
When NOT to Use It
Heat should never be applied to a fresh injury, an open wound, or any part of the body that’s already hot to the touch. Don’t use heat therapy if you notice any of these symptoms:
- Your skin is red, swollen or inflamed
- The area feels numb
- Burns, bleeding, or infected wounds
On the flip side of the coin, cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, works by reducing blood flow to your muscles. If applied immediately after an injury, this will slow the rate of inflammation and reduce the risk of swelling and tissue damage.
Cold therapy also acts like local anesthetic, numbing the area, and slowing down the pain messages being transmitted to the brain.
Much like hot therapy, cold therapy can be applied locally with an ice pack or chemical cold pack; or to the whole body via ice bath, or a cryotherapy chamber.
KoreSphere is also an extremely effective cold therapy tool. Read on to find out how it relieves muscle pain fast!
When to Use It
Cold therapy is primarily a pain-reliever, meaning it helps your muscles recover but does not accelerate tissue repair. It’s most effective for treating conditions like:
- DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)
When it comes to treating injuries with cold therapy, time is of the essence. The pain will be less intense if you start icing it immediately.
When NOT to Use It
Cold therapy is not nearly as effective in the days or weeks following an injury. Applying ice to muscles that are already tense or stiff may make the pain even worse. Do not use cold therapy if:
- Your muscles are cramping or spasming
- Your body is already cold
- Your wound already feels numb
- Your wound is bleeding or blistering
Hot and Cold Therapies Work Best Together
When it comes to these two types of muscle therapies, there isn't one clear winner. Hot and cold therapy both serve a unique function and help your body heal in different ways.
If you want to be prepared for any type of injury or muscle pain, KoreSphere packs hot and cold therapy into one convenient recovery tool.
KoreSphere is a stainless-steel massage ball filled with a special thermal gel can be hot or cold activated to meet your body’s needs.
By warming up and cooling down with KoreSphere before and after workouts, you’ll be able to push yourself further and see results faster with significantly less stiffness and soreness.
In other words, more gain, less pain!