A Beginner’s Guide to Cold-Water Therapy
February 3, 2023
Alexandra Wade

If you’re looking for an exciting and rejuvenating way to treat your ailments, you might consider cold-water therapy. Cold-water therapy is a form of alternative medicine that helps reduce inflammation and swelling through the use of extremely cold water. This therapy is used to treat a variety of health conditions, including arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, muscle spasms, sprains, and stress. Once you immerse the affected area of your body into icy cold water for a few minutes, the blood vessels in that area constrict, restricting the flow of blood and increasing the pressure within the area. This increased pressure helps to relieve painful and inflamed tissue and improve mobility.

Getty Images/DigitalVision/ Guido Mieth

Many people prefer cold-water therapy as it is relatively inexpensive and easy to carry out at home. There are various ways to practice this at home; you can alternate from cold showers to short swims to ice baths. Some safety tips include keeping the immersions brief, having a towel at hand to insulate your body from the water, and avoiding submerging your face or eyes entirely in the ice water. Having someone nearby and regulating your breathing are also integral steps that can help make your session that much safer.

The cold-water therapy method differs from conventional ice packs in that the water is not frozen before being applied to the body. As cold-water therapy is considered an all-natural form of treatment, it is typically free from side effects. However, some people may experience temporary discomfort or numbness during the treatment, where mild redness or bruising may appear on the skin afterward. This is nothing to worry about, as these issues generally resolve themselves within a few days of treatment. Nevertheless, individuals with high blood pressure, heart problems, and diabetes should consult their doctor before undergoing this treatment. These conditions may increase the risk for complications and put their health at greater risk.

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