What is Contrast Bathing?


I often ask my clients to try contrast bathing to help the injury to recover. But what is contrast bathing?

This is where you want to encourage your circulatory system to rapidly change within the injured area, making your circulatory system go from very warm to very cold.


What you are doing is trying to encourage a pump like motion within the infected area causing your blood vessels to open (heat) and close (cold). Research has shown this pumping action may help to relieve various symptoms:

  • Decrease Muscle Soreness

  • Remove excess lactic acid

  • Decrease swelling

How to do contrast bathing.

Many people do contrast bathing when being supervised by professional therapist, but it is possible to try it on your own. (Please check with your GP that it is safe for you to do


Do not do contrast bathe if you have:

  • Open wounds

  • Heart issues

  • High blood pressure

  • Deep vein thrombosis

You will need:

  • 2 containers large enough to submerge the injured part of the body

  • A thermometer to measure the water temperature

  • Towels

The cold water container should be between 10-15C (50-59F)

The hot water container should be between 35-45C ( 95-113F)

  • Immerse the injured body part into the warm water for 1 to 3 minutes

  • Immediately follow with a 1 minute dip into the cold water

  • Repeat this process for about 20 minutes, ending with cold water.

This process can be repeated every two hours if your pain and swelling is bad and then every morning and night until the pain and swelling has reduced.

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Denise Macey is fully qualified as a Sports, Holistic Massage & EMMETT Therapist. She qualified in Sports & Holistic Massage through the prestigious 'Essentials for Health' Academy in Central London.

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