Cold/Warm aquatherapy is medical application of a health routine that has been practiced in the Nordic cultures for thousand years. The positive health effects of Cold/Warm aquatic therapy have been recognized by the Nordic societies for ages and referenced as a reason they may be one of the healthiest communities on the globe. In terms of scientific evidence, there are many research studies that support the health benefits of this form of therapy.
The benefits of a “hot/cold plunge” defined as a 20-minute warm water session, followed by a cool shower, sometimes repeated until the body is completely relaxed. The “hot/ cold plunge” technique can be intense for first time participants, but the benefits are worth the transient initial discomfort As your body becomes adjusted to the experience the health benefits and euphoric feelings associated with the activity often drives a desire to make this type of exercise part of a routine health regimen.
Aquatherapy has been popularized as the term ‘Nordic Cycle’. It has also been marketed as ‘cryotherapy’ which is a slightly different methodology although the physiology behind the health benefits is the same. The cold causes a constriction of blood vessels that increases pressure in the circulatory system and the subsequent exposure to warm causes a rebound dilation of the same vessels with the net effect of a substantial increase in circulation through tissues. The benefits of this form of therapy are ideally suited to healing after surgery and/ or acute or chronic injury.
Accelerated and Healthy Healing
The cold/hot experience drives blood flow to healing tissue increasing oxygenation and substrate delivery as well as transport of key nutrients that support the process of healing. Nutrition is a key feature of healthy healing however the nutrients need to be delivered from the gut to the area that had surgery. In the absence of robust blood flow there will be a reduced benefit to nutritional support.
Reduced swelling can be achieved by increasing circulation through both blood vessels and lymphatic channels. Lymphedema is a condition of swelling related to poor circulation through the lymphatics. Improving circulation through lymphatics and veins helps to reduce swelling.
Reduced Scar Tissue
Accelerated and Healthy healing means less potential for scar tissue formation that can complicate recovery and cause chronic pain.
Reduced Pain/Improved Mood
The cold/hot experience elevates heart rate, adrenaline, and the release of endorphins. This has been proven to reduce pain and improve the mood. This is especially important after surgery or injury to reduce the need for pain medications and prevent depression.
Reduce Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is reduced due to a wash out from increased circulation. The effect of increased blood flow is to wash out chronic inflammatory cells and promote healthy healing of damaged tissue.
Detoxifying Power/ Immunity Boost
The cold/warm technique triggers lymphatic circulation and creates a ‘flush’ of the system. Lymphatics are a part of our immune system and a lymphatic problem often leads to swelling. The cold/warm plunge allows for improved circulation through the lymphatic vessels helping the body to boost immunity, remove waste and to have a detoxifying effect on the body.
Enhanced recovery of muscle and soft tissue damage from overtraining or competition.
The cold/warm plunge stimulates blood flow in the skin to an extremely high level. This has a substantial impact on skin health including improved healing from surgery and a radiance that comes naturally from healthier skin.
The Nordic Cycle at iOrtho
iOrtho is the only community provider of the Nordic Cycle. An outdoor spa heated to over 92 degrees and enclosed in all glass coupled with an adjacent shower for the cool/cold to precede and follow the warm immersion. While in the pool, rehabilitative exercises can be performed on an underwater treadmill with less impact on joints due to the buoyancy effect of water, resistance exercises using barbells, wrists and ankle weights, swimming or kick-boarding against a current and using the air therapy jets to massage soft tissue. The health benefits of aquatherapy are combined with water exercises to get the ultimate rehabilitation experience. Each session is private and up to 60 minutes duration and since it includes rehabilitation is covered by medical insurance.
Learn more about iOrtho online at www.iorthomd.com
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