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1st blog: Should I apply cold or warm packs? (part 1)

TCM often proves itself useful in places where we have already tried everything else. Its strength, more especially in terms of acupuncture, is differentiating “COLD PAIN” and “HOT PAIN”. With that in mind, the logic is very simple: all you have to do is apply the opposite temperature in order to restore balance. Choosing whether to use warm or cold packs will depend on the type of pain (either “hot” or “cold”), on how long you have been experiencing this pain and on the inflammation level.
TCM associates blockage with pain, so it is important to activate the circulation of healing and nourishing fluids within the joints, muscles and organs.
Since our body is 70% water, it reacts to temperature variations, exactly like how water will freeze in the freezer and then melt and return to a liquid state on the range. Consequently, it is imperative to correctly identify the very nature of the pain before using thermotherapy. To this end, compare your pain to the healthy contralateral limb or joint. Is it:

a. Warmer or colder?
b. Darker or paler?
c. More swollen? (a sign of an undifferentiated inflammatory condition)

Using the following chart, you will then be able to choose the correct thermotherapy.

In doubt, your acupuncturist can help you.

See the second part of this article as well as the table in this same "articles' section.

Nancy Mongrain | Licenced Acupuncturist
Membre de l'Ordre des Acupuncteurs du Québec
Acupuncture Montréal Centre-Ville

Sources :
Giovanni Maciocia, La Pratique de la Médecine Chinoise.
The treatment of pain_Sun Peilin


Acupuncture Downtown Montreal, 1290 Av. Van Horne #306, Outremont, QC H2V 4S2