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Mar 23

Fresh Injuries and the Proper use of Heat and Ice…

Situation: You just pulled a muscle in your calf and need to know the correct protocol for a quick recovery.

The standard treatment is known as R.I.C.E. which stands for:

Rest
Ice
Compress
Elevate

I have a different method that produces much faster healing and recovery with the potential to come out of the injury with more flexibility and power than with the standard treatment.

The First Step is:

Ice and elevate your leg, preferably above your heart. This will allow for inflammation to go down and proper circulation back into the damaged area.

The difference comes in this Second Step:

While you are elevated, begin to flex your foot and calf muscles slowly. Hold the flex for 10-15 seconds or as long as you can. Push down into the ground; work the muscle tissue. Remember to do this slowly and with much care. What you will find is that through this working of the muscles you will end up pushing more of the fluid through the muscles thus decreasing inflammation and swelling and increasing your flexibility and mobility. The more intensely you can push through the pain, the more quickly you will recover.

The Third Step in this process is HEAT!!!

Heat is tricky and must be handled with care. It is with many years of seeing patients and working with dry heat and moist heat and all kinds of heat that I found what seems to work the most effectively: Steaming Heat from a Wet Hot Towel!!! It is truly that simple. Dry heat tends to add to inflammation and the seizing and cramping of muscles. Even moist heat, like from a hyrdrocolator, tends to increase muscle stiffness – especially when you take the heat away and the cool air closes in.

Take a towel and wet it with steamy hot water or put it in a plastic microwavable bag and heat it inside a microwave until it is steamy hot, then place that on the troubled area.

My experience is that because of the nature of steamy heat, it opens the pores of your skin and increases your body’s ability to draw out toxins while increasing circulation and decreasing inflammation.

Just a logical guess, but because the steam is PULLING up away from the skin, it is pulling more of the lactic acid to the surface and out of your skin bringing the damage closer to the surface and allowing for a more expedient recovery time.

In summary, for those of you who do not like 4 letter words, the new MUCH better method I recommend is:

Ice
Elevate
Flex with resistance
Steamy heat
Flex
Elevate
Ice
Rest
Repeat

I am off to the Infrared Sauna

’Till Next Time

Written By Ari Gronich
www.performancetherapist.com

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