Anyone that has ever suffered an injury has probably been told to ice the injury to prevent swelling.
We have been taught that cold reduces swelling and often told to avoid heat. This is typically because pain goes hand and hand with inflammation, which is an element of heat.
But is that the best way to heal?
Cold can provide temporary relief of pain and swelling but it can also delay your body’s ability to heal.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) heat is recommend, even for acute injuries and patients are told to avoid icing. Swelling is part of how our body begins the healing process. When swelling occurs it increases surface area and circulation to that area, this allows your bodies immune factors to go to work and jump start the healing process, in TMC circulation is key for the body to repair itself.
Andrew P. Han with The Washington Post recently wrote a piece that discusses Ice vs heat in recovery.
You can read his article here: