Heat and Cold Therapy

Thermotherapy – the application of heat or cold treatment – alters tissue temperature in a targeted area to help prevent or manage soft tissue injuries or musculoskeletal conditions.

Deep Heat products and the ICE range provide fast, targeted relief for sore tissues or aching joints combined with a heating or cooling action for additional benefit. These are convenient, versatile solutions to have on hand for exercise warm-ups, recovery or rehabilitation.

Effects of heat and cold therapy

Heat and cold therapy are both easy and accessible treatments. Both treatments offer soothing, fast-acting localised relief with minimal impact on surrounding tissues.

However, ice and heat serve different purposes. They have opposing effects on tissue metabolism and flexibility, blood flow, inflammation and swelling.

Cold Heat
Tissue temperature Reduces Increases
Blood vessels Constrict Dilate
Blood flow Slows – and so reduces swelling Increases – bringing more nutrients
and oxygen to the area
Pain Eases Eases
Other effects Helps to reduce nerve impulses
to the joints
Relaxes muscles and decreases joint stiffness

When to heat & when to ice

Heat and cold therapy can be used to relieve many aches and pains, including:

  • Muscular aches, pains and stiffness
  • Back pain
  • Joint aches
  • Sprains and strains
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Rheumatism or fibrositis
  • Mild arthritic pain

Broadly speaking, cold therapy should be used initially following an injury (ie in the first 24-72 hours) and heat should be used afterwards once the swelling has subsided (ie after 72 hours). If unsure which is best for you, follow the advice of your healthcare professional.

Heat Therapy

Heat increases blood flow to the affected area that provides more oxygen and nutrients to aid the muscle healing process. Heat also helps to restore movement by relaxing stiff, sore or aching muscles and joints.

Use heat therapy to:

  • Warm up muscles before exercise, which may help prevent injury
  • Promote ongoing recovery after exercise or injury – but not immediately. Use cold treatment for the first day or two.

Cold Therapy

Cold therapy helps to minimise soft tissue damage by constricting blood vessels

Use cold therapy to:

  • Reduce inflammation and numb pain for the first 24-72 hours after a soft tissue injury
  • Relieve delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) – ice within an hour of exercise.


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