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Heat therapy, also called thermotherapy, is the curative use of heat for pain relief and health. It can take the form of a hot cloth, hot water, ultrasound, heating pad, hydrocollator packs, whirlpool baths, cordless FIR heat therapy wraps, and others. It is especially beneficial to those with arthritis and stiff muscles, or deep tissue injuries. Heat has long been considered an effective self-care treatment for a number of ailments.
Thermotherapy is most commonly used for rehabilitation purposes. The therapeutic effects of heat include increasing the extensibility of collagen tissues; decreasing joint stiffness; reducing pain; relieving muscle spasms; reducing inflammation, edema, and aids in the post acute phase of healing; and increasing blood flow. The increased blood flow to the affected area provides proteins, nutrients, and oxygen for better healing.
Cryotherapy is the local or general use of low temperatures in medical therapy, used to treat a variety of both benign and malignant tissue damage. The term "cryotherapy" comes from the Greek cryo (κρύο) meaning cold, and therapy (θεραπεία) meaning cure. Cryotherapy has been used as early as the seventeenth century.
Its goal is to decrease cell growth and reproduction (cellular metabolism), increase cellular survival, decrease inflammation, decrease pain and spasm, and promote the constriction of blood vessels (vasoconstriction).
Cryotherapy is a safe and well established treatment known to reduce swelling; decrease tissue damage and blood clot formation, ease inflammation, soothe muscle spasms and lessen both chronic and acute pain. It also enhances the flow of nutrients, aids in the removal of metabolites (waste products), increases strength, and promotes healing.