Updated: Apr 27
Cold vs Warm compress
“Should I use an ice pack or a magic bag?”
We often get asked this question from clients who are dealing with acute injuries and chronic pain.
The rule of thumb for using Cold compress is to apply repeatedly on an injury in its acute phase (usually within the first 24 hours). The goal of a Cold therapy in the acute phase is to reduce swelling by decreasing blood circulation and promoting vasoconstriction; it helps to temporarily relieve pain by inhibiting the transmission of pain sensations. Study also shows that Cold therapy can decrease the amount of inflammatory by-products, which can result in less swelling and a shorter healing time.
We consider Cold compress as a “painkiller” and “anti-inflammatory”. It provides important relief in the acute phase of a musculoskeletal trauma. In Chinese medicine, for the aftercare of an injury (typically after 72 hours), and any slow onset of pain, soreness, discomfort; we recommend using Heat therapy - warm compress.
Heat therapy helps to reduce joint stiffness and muscle spasm by softening muscles and fascias. In the healing phase of a musculoskeletal problem, pain signals Blood and Qi obstruction, warm compress can help to increase fluid circulation and cellular metabolism, which helps to remove waste products from inflammatory processes and bring extra nutrients to the site of injury and pain.
Acupuncture and Chinese manual therapy (Tuina) are both suitable and recommended for the treatment and management of acute injury and chronic pain. A rapid intervention increases the chance of a full recovery and helps to achieve an effective pain management.