The In's And Out's of Contrast Therapy
Updated: Apr 4
The PLUNJ regimen is a "contrast therapy" regimen that revolves around the use of hot and cold extremes. Below is a quick guide about the benefits of contrast therapy as a whole.
Have you ever sprained an ankle? Tweaked your back? Maybe it was another type of moderate injury that happened somewhere else on your body. Chances are, when that injury occurred, you were told to transition quickly between heat and ice. Maybe it was a heating pad and an ice pack, or maybe it was something as simple as Icy Hot gel. Whatever the case, what you were experiencing was a version of contrast therapy.
Contrast therapy is a popular rehabilitation and recovery technique that has deep roots in age-old naturopathic medicine. While the method of contrast therapy we use at PLUNJ gleans its regimen from ancient Scandanavia, many other cultures have been using some form of contrast therapy for hundreds if not thousands of years (i.e. Japanese Onsens, Turkish Hammams, Russian Banyas, etc.).
While these cultures probably didn’t fully understand the physiological mechanisms behind contrast therapy, the pain relief as well as the mental and physical benefits were reason enough for them to keep it in their regular health and wellness regimen.
Today, contrast therapy is used most often by athletes and fitness enthusiasts looking for quick recovery from training or pain relief from sore muscles and injuries. But you don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy the benefits that contrast therapy can provide – it can be an effective practice for anyone suffering from a variety of chronic, mental, and physical ailments.
Some of the benefits of contrast therapy include:
Reduces inflammation and tissue congestion
Decreases joint stiffness
Treats muscle spasms, sprains, and strains
Improves sleep quality and blood circulation
Cleanses body by eliminating toxins through the vascular system
Increases range of motion
Higher energy levels
Improves immune response
Faster post-workout recovery
Higher levels of focus
Slows body aging
While all of these benefits are rooted in science, at the end of the day we want you focused on one thing above all else while here at PLUNJ. When you leave, we want you focused on how you feel. We have a feeling that your answer will be something along the lines of "AMAZING".
Contrast therapy should not be used by pregnant women due to extreme temperature changes.
Due to its expanding properties, heat therapy is not advisable for anyone with an acute injury that has occurred in the last 72 hours.
It is also not advisable for anyone with a heart condition, high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney problems to use contrast therapy.
If you have any questions or concerns, it is always best to speak with a medical professional before embarking on a new rehabilitation regime.
Anyone over the age of 65 should take their contrast therapy regimen slowly. Immediately placing yourself into the coldest temperatures could shock your system in unhealthy ways and could result in additional health issues.