Heat therapy and cold therapy

The positive effects of heat and cold with pain and certain illnesses, known for centuries. A method that uses both types of treatment, is the so-called Kneipp therapy, which reached great popularity since the 19th century, especially in German-speaking countries.

Heat therapy is a widely used technique for the treatment of pain and non-combustible. Because heat required a medium, there are numerous treatments such as hot role, mud, natural peat-bog, red light, hot air, packs, or wrap.

The cold therapy is performed when acute and painful disorders. She is used such as bleeding, swelling or inflammation in the form of ice castings, baths or other methods.

Applications of heat therapy are for example colds, flu, muscle tension, or abdominal pain. The cold therapy is, however, some used in bleeding, swelling or inflammatory diseases.

Against a heat therapy, illnesses such as inflammation of internal organs, cancer or epilepsy speak against it. The cold therapy is not appropriate for urinary infections, menstrual pain and inflammatory rheumatism. Diabetics and other persons where the temperature perception is disturbed, should perform heating and cooling applications only under medical supervision, to avoid burns or frostbite.


Based on the heat therapy is that to increase the blood vessels in the heat and thus to promote blood circulation. In this way, the muscles relax and the neural pathways are relieved. The temperature sensitive nerve endings pass on the positive heat stimuli to the pain Center. This raises chemical processes, which in addition to dampen the feeling of pain. The heat also positively affects the production of stress hormones and stimulates cell metabolism.

The cold therapy takes advantage of the fact that pull together blood vessels in cold stimuli and the muscles are tense. Once the cold stimulus no longer exists, the muscle relaxes and a warm feeling for a few minutes. Because the cold-sensitive nerves faster forward their information to the brain as the pain-conducting neural pathways, cold is often soothing.


The implementation of heat therapy can be done in different ways. Hot baths are a common form. These serve to bring more heat the body, as he himself can generate. This will stimulate the immune system and the body temperature rises. This temperature change is to help the body to kill pathogens.

Because organic and mineral substances such as mud, clay and Earth store heat particularly long, these materials are often employed in the treatment of heat in the form of packing or wrapping. These packs are applied for approximately 45 minutes. For a full-body treatment mud or mud baths are used. To increase the impact, you should rest more 30 minutes covered after a treatment.

Of cold therapy, fonts, baths and showers of change in the temperature range from 12 ° C to 15 ° C are applied. More treatment options are, inter alia, to run barefoot Tau or snow. Ice packs and gel swabs are another type of cold therapy. Beaten in a cloth, they remain mostly just a few minutes on the skin. After a short warm-up period, the skin, the cold treatment with compresses may be repeated a total four or five times.

The change of application of heat and cold, which is known in Asia as the sweat lodge, in the North of Europe as sauna, represents a further treatment option. It serves to clean the fabric, to harden the body and to train circulation, muscle and the autonomic nervous system

Areas of application

Applications of heat therapy are applied for example colds, pelvic pain, sciatica symptoms, muscle tension, neuritis, joint pain as well as kidney and Blasenleiden. The cold therapy can help with swelling, bruising and acute pain conditions. Two methods are treatment methods recognised by the scientific community and the health insurance companies.

Risks and complications

Basically, the risk that overloaded the circuit is a heat therapy. Complaints of headaches and nausea can occur up to fainting. To avoid this, you should cool the body with cold fonts already at the first signs of these side effects.

Diabetics should seek a medical advice itself before heat treatment, as the temperature sensation is often disrupted in this disease. This can lead to a misunderstanding of the heat stimuli, which burns the result could have. Thermal applications after sports or extensive meals are also not advisable. In diseases such as tuberculosis, cancer, epilepsy, and inflammation of internal organs, no heat treatment should also be performed, because there may be an increase in the disease may.

A cold therapy is not recommended for urinary tract infections, Reizblase, sciatica symptoms, inflammatory rheumatism, or menstrual cramps. Cold fonts are not advisable also among cold hands, debility, hypertension, honeydew, heart disorders, enlargement of the thyroid gland, increased intraocular pressure.

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