Avoid icing (for most injuries!)
There are different kinds of injuries, a simple strain, a pulled muscle, inflammation, a cramp or overuse injury warrants no need for ice. On the contrary, ice slows down the circulation and at the same time slows down healing. Ice should only be applied if there is a clear muscle tear or visible bleeding. Then you definitely want to apply ice to slow down your circulation and halt the bleeding.
Instead of ice, the best course of action is heat.
- Speed up circulation
- Speed up the delivery of nutrients to the area
- Speed up the removal of waste products
- Signal the immune system to “bring in more troops”
- Speed up healing
This is why the body’s first response to anything out of the ordinary is a fever. It heats itself up to speed up healing. Even Hippocrates said: ”Give me a fever, and I can cure any illness.”
There are many ways you can add heat to the area.
i) By filling up a rubber hot water bottle with hot water and holding it on the affected area (filling up a glass or even plastic bottle with hot water will work just as well)
ii) Hot baths will also help especially if you add epsom salts to the bath (they relax muscles)
iii) Hot showers will be very beneficial especially if you can run the hot water on the affected area (neck, shoulder, lower back are easy spots to get)
iv) My least favourite is using an electric blanket because of the EMF it produces
v) Going for an infrared sauna will do your body good
vi) My favourite and most effective way is to use an infrared heat lamp (for about 5 minutes at a time, held about 10 – 12 inches away from the area)
The near infrared light penetrates up to 3 inches below the skin immediately healing cells. The heat helps speed the healing up. Your investment is roughly $10 – $15 depending on where you buy the bulb. It fits into any standard lamp.
If you have any tender or chronically painful areas, using heat will help you heal faster.
Give it a try and let me know which of the above worked best for you.
Previous: Tip #9: Dealing With Injuries