Contrast hydrotherapy involves alternating applications of cold and warm compresses or immersion in cold and warm water for specified times. You're probably familiar with using it for muscle injuries such as a sprain. For individuals with diabetes, it can reduce swelling and pain and improve blood flow circulation. Additionally, when under medical observation, if a change in blood flow to the feet is not achieved, it can signal an impairment in circulation that requires further assessment. Adding Epsom Salts to the warm water may help increase circulation and ease pain or discomfort.
Indulge in a Contrast Foot Bath:
- Purchase two basins and keep them for your foot baths, each one large enough for both feet and sufficient water to cover them.
- Gather up a pair of cozy socks and a supply of towels (water will splash when you move from one basin to another).
- Fill one basin with ice water, and another with warm water. (Test water with your hand to make sure it's not too hot).
- Start with the warm water, from 3-5 minutes.
- Immediately switch to the cold water for 30 seconds to one minute.
- Repeat the process about 3-5 times
- Always end with the cold water.
- Gently dry legs and feet and put on warm socks.
- Rest for 20 minutes
Pizzorno, Joseph E. (2013). Textbook of Natural Medicine. St. Louis, MO Elsevier. (chapter 40), 335
Mooventhan, A, and L Nivethitha. "Scientific Evidence-Based Effects of Hydrotherapy on Various Systems of the Body." North American Journal of Medical Sciences 6.5 (2014): 199-209. PMC. Accessed on: 5 Sept. 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4049052/
Petrofsky, J., Lohman III, E., et al., "Effects of contrast baths on skin blood flow on the dorsal and plantar foot in people with type 2 diabetes and age-matched controls." Physiotherapy Theory & Practice (2007) 23:4. Accessed on 5 Sep 2016: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17687732
HumanKinetics.com. "How to use heat and cold to treat athletic injuries." Accessed on 5 Sep 2016: http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/how-to-use-heat-and-cold-to-treat-athletic-injuries
DiabetesSelfManagement.com. Accessed on 5 Sep 2016: http://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/complications-prevention/controlling-neuropathic-pain/
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