Thermal therapy (hot or cold applications)

The use of heat and cold to promote comfort and healing has been used for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. In modern health care, hot packs from a hydrocollator or other heating device may be applied to a body region to promote relaxation and circulation. By contrast, the local temperature of tissues may be reduced by the application of various forms of ice or frozen gel packs. Local cold therapy may be used to reduce pain, spasticity and muscle spasm. It is also frequently used to reduce swelling, promote repair, and on some occasions, may be applied to provide excitatory stimulation when muscles are inhibited. At Integrative Therapies moist heat is often applied at the beginning of a therapy session to help tissues relax and lengthen and prepare them for treatment. A form of cold therapy may then be used toward the close of a treatment session to help minimize inflammation and pain.

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