Simple Hydrotherapy For the Hands and Feet

Welp. Here I sit pecking away at this post with a hurt right thumb (my own fault), so excuse any typos. For most people, a hurt hand or foot means major inconvenience. For me, even a hurt digit means no worky worky...which means reduced income, which makes Pam a sad girl (cue the violins). It's my livelihood, and it needs to get better FAST. 

My go-to is my favorite hydrotherapy trick. My regulars have definitely heard me talk about this, but now I'm sharing it with you! It's safe and easy, as long as you don't have an acute injury. In that case SEE A DOCTOR. On that note, I AM NOT A DOCTOR. I don't diagnose or prescribe. OK, whew...with that out of the way...

The prep: You'll need two large bowls or pots, the size depends on the size of your hands or feet, whichever you are treating here. You want something at least 12" wide, and 8-10" deep. I find it easiest with two cheap-o dish tubs you can find at your local everything-store. These tubs generally have the right size and depth for hands or feet. You also want a clock, watch, or timer somewhere visible. 

Now for the process: Fill one tub about 2/3 of the way with cold water with some ice in it, and the other 2/3 of the way with hot tap water (as hot as YOU can take it, but no hotter). Put the tubs next to each other on a counter (for hands) or the floor (for feet). You're going to stick your hands or feet in these, so just be sure the water doesn't overflow when you do this. If you're a professional mess-maker like me, you want to do this on a kitchen counter or bathroom floor, so spillage can be easily cleaned up. 

Once you have them set up, time to dip! Put the achy hand or foot in the ice water. You want to leave it in for 30-60 seconds. This will be intense. If it's painful...please stop. Once the time has passed, switch to the hot water for 30-60 seconds. Yep, this will also be intense. And yep, if it hurts...stop. Then, back to the icy water, then the hot...and so forth. Do this for around 5 mins if you can take it, or even 10 mins if you are truly daring. The intensity eventually dies down when you know what to expect, and the results are definitely worth it. I usually end on the ice, because it just feels better to me. 

The basic science: Ice is a vasoconstrictor and heat is a vasodilator. When you alternate these, you are basically creating a small jet-pump, pushing out any built up fluid in your hand or foot, and bringing in fresh blood. What you're left with is a rejuvenated limb, with fresh blood flow, reduced swelling, and hopefully reduced pain. One time isn't enough; I will do this three or maybe four times today, and start all over again tomorrow. 

Are you brave enough to try it? Let me know!