Ice vs Heat for Healing

So here you are, in the middle of another, “oh my aching back” kind of day, and you’re thinking about whipping out the old heating pad, but stop to wonder if ice would be better. I vote for ice.

That said, we’re all unique, and this is one of the many questions for which there is no one-size-fits-all.

So will ice or heat help more?

Let your body tell you; use a heat pad for twenty minutes, wait about twenty more minutes, then compare your pain level to what it was before you hit the heat. If the pain is the same or worse, then the heat isn’t helping.

Do the same test with an ice pack. The tricky part is neither heat nor ice heals immediately. Healing sore muscles and joints is a process, so what you’re looking for is some sign of improvement, not a miracle. Unfortunately.

1. Some years ago, a hit-and-run driver ran into my driver’s door at about 40mph or so. (Some wonderful, brave, and true, good citizens chose to get involved, with one married couple chasing the miscreant in their car to pick up his plate number. I got their phone numbers from the police and called to thank these good folks. Two of the three said they had wondered if they did the right thing; all thanked me for calling.)

My talented massage therapist worked wonders, but he said I’d heal a lot better, faster if I went to bed on ice-packs. And my body liked it; going to bed on ice-packs was like a bedtime treat. Who knew?

But achy muscles and joints only tell part of the story of ice.

2. Here’s a stunner: All our cells contain little energy-factories, the mitochondria, that perk up whenever you spend time with ice-packs. Twenty minutes with a single, 8″X10″(approx.) ice-pack cheers up all the mitochondria in your body–from the top of your head to the tips of your big toes. Nice.

Our brown (good) fat cells really get going when their mitochondria start to “dance.” Weight loss speeds up, your body generates heat, and your risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, goes down.

And, according to research, energized brown fat encourages white (bad) fat to convert. White fat, the stuff of thunder thighs, too-tight slacks, and other reasons to avoid mirrors, goes beige, then brown, as long as the mitochondria keep dancing.

3. Ice is a good friend to struggling adrenal glands, too. Stress, anxiety, depression, an unreliable brain, sleep problems, and hundreds more symptoms are your adrenals shouting, “Help me! Help me!”

And the adrenals never suffer alone. Oh, no; they pull the rest of the endocrine system into their mess.

If you have symptoms upon symptoms upon symptoms, think adrenal. Especially if you’re not getting any help. You are not depressed, so don’t take antidepressants. Or anti-anxiety drugs, for that matter. Your brain isn’t injured; it just seems that way. And so on.

Getting your adrenal glands back in the game is the way you move to tranquil, with a sharp, focused brain, and at peace with the world.

Ice helps with symptoms, but to heal, get my Moving to Health program and go step-by-step, learning how your body works and what it needs to work better.

Once your body realizes you’re doing your part to save the day, it will jump in to thank you. You’ll never know what it will fix next, so it’s kind of an adventure. You’ll keep your eyes on your adrenals, but your body will go hither and yon, fixing, fixing, fixing.

God is good,
Bette Dowdell

About the author: Bette Dowdell defines determination. A drunk driver put her into a really deep health ditch when she was a baby, giving her a concussion. Concussions are murder on the endocrine system, which controls all of health, and down the hill she tumbled. Doctors didn’t help–for years. So, she got her Oh-Yeah! attitude in gear and researched her way out. Bette never intended to be a health expert, but sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, and she’s still researching. To subscribe to Bette’s free health e-mails, click the “subscribe” button on the top/right.

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