I’ve been using a variety of hot and cold treatments ever since I began doing sports. From my childhood footballing days, for instance, I remember how much a highly fragrant liniment warmed up the muscles, and how much a cold wrap made by my mother eased the pain of yet another twisted ankle.
Nowadays, I use both hot and cold treatments several times a week. I use cold treatment especially after the hardest training sessions, or if I have some minor injury. Cold lowers the body temperature, helping to reduce inflammation and soft tissue injury. Hot treatments, on the other hand, help relax stiff muscles. And there’s no better cure for back pain, for example “witch’s arrow”, as the Finns call it.
Alternating hot and cold treatment, meanwhile, is perfect for stimulating the circulatory system and metabolism. Above all, I use variations in temperature to speed recovery between training sessions. I have also found that hot-cold therapy helps relieve swelling of the feet, for example, after a long day of travel or prolonged standing. Many people use hot-cold therapy to stimulate the body in the morning, but for me, temperature variations help with relax and getting to sleep at the end of a tough day.
Especially when travelling, hot-cold therapy takes a bit of imagination and experimentation. I have used many sources of cold, such as snow, mountain streams, and even packets of frozen vegetables from the freezer. For heat, the most interesting source for me is a super-strong liniment that I stocked up on in Poland. Once I put a generous layer of it on my sore back before a long competition, and as a result my skin burned in the sun so badly that the lines of my competition outfit were still clearly visible a year later.
Since I’m so fond of hot-cold treatments, I really like the Oras Esteta Wellfit shower. The shower has three programmes that alternate between hot and cold water, with different volumes and duration depending on the purpose. One program helps to reduce muscle pain and speeds recovery after exercise, another relaxes the body and mind, and the third programme activates the whole body and boosts the blood circulation. The handy Oras App gives you more programmes to choose from, or you can create your own. Personally, I’ve enjoyed using a bit longer cold water periods than the more even hot-cold balance of the basic programmes.
- Kaisa Sali