I was contacted by an associate editor of MASSAGE Magazine yesterday as an "expert" in the area of cryotherapy and thermotherapy. This is my response to her. Hope you enjoy and so you can call them out if they don't acknowledge me! LOL
First let me thank you for considering my input on this subject. I have studied the uses of hot and cold therapy and feel that it is therapy that works, as it has over the ages when people did not have anything else to use. I feel that the best ways of using both cryotherapy and thermotherapy are still some of those original ways also – Ice and heat in their natural forms. That does not however keep me from using some Tiger Balm or Polar Lotion on occasion.
So, let me answer your questions and give a little background on why to use these things. The main reason for using any hydrotherapy method is to take the body momentarily away from homeostasis to let the body respond by stimulating the system to heal itself. And obviously cryotherapy will take the body further away from homeostasis than thermotherapy when we look at the base body temperature of 98.6F. Both applications have a physiological and circulatory effect on the body by causing vasoconstriction/vasodilation thereby causing either a decrease or increase in both circulation and metabolism. But that is the science of hydrotherapy.
The benefits of cryotherapy and thermotherapy are therefore based on this science. And the benefits of each will depend on the duration of the treatment – short or long application. An ice pack left on for 10 minutes will be totally different from an ice bath used by athletes. Likewise a hot pack applied on a sore muscle for 10 minutes will have a different effect than an hour long hot stone massage.
The benefits of cryotherapy include:
Paula J Kaprocki, LMT
I am a Licensed Massage Therapist with thoughts, aspirations and opinions - much like any other person on the planet!