Heat vs Ice

At Ebalance Massage & Wellness we love to incorporate heat into our therapy sessions and we’re often asked by our clients what they should use at home heat or ice? This months blog we’re going to discuss the therapeutic benefits of heat vs ice and how to incorporate them in your daily routine.

Let’s begin with the science! When you apply heat to an area of the body it causes Vasodilation which increases blood flow to the area of application. Good blood flow promotes healing and relaxes the muscle tissue. When you apply Ice to an area of the body it causes Vasoconstriction limiting the blood flow to the application site. This method is often used for short term pain or injury to reduce swelling.

Now that we understand the science which method is best? Sometimes alternating between both will do but to simplify things we made 2 categories:

Benefits most with Heat:

  1. Pre/post exercise
  2. Stiff joints
  3. Neck pain
  4. Back pain
  5. Arthritis
  6. Fibromyalgia

Benefits most with Ice:

  1. First 72 hours after an injury to prevent or reduce swelling and pain.
  2. Migraines
  3. Headaches



Utilizing heat and/or ice can have many great benefits but they can also cause damage if used incorrectly. Please exercise caution!

Do NOT use heat or ice longer than 15 minutes at a time.

Protect your skin with a towel or pillowcase before applying heat or ice.Skin pinkness is normal however allow the skin to return to normal color before reapplying.

Ideas for using Heat or Ice at home:

  1. Electric heating pad
  2. Microwaved or frozen gel pack
  3. Microwaved or frozen Flax/Rice pillows
  4. Washcloth soaked in hot/cold water
  5. Hot/cold Shower
  6. Ebalance Favorite: Warming/cooling essential oils such as Clove, Oregano, Basil, Peppermint and Wintergreen.

Let us know how you like to incorporate heat/ice in your daily routine in the comments!

Wishing you health and happiness,
Ebalance Massage & Wellness

massage green bay, wi