Contrast baths are an inexpensive, natural, and powerful way to reduce swelling and inflammation. Using both warm water to open up blood vessels and cold water to constrict blood vessels acts as a pump to push swelling out. All you need is water, ice and two containers.
Follow these simple steps:
- Obtain two containers that your foot and/or ankle will fit in and fill one with cold tap water. Fill the other with warm tap water, about the temperature you would use for bathwater. Use your fingers first to test that the warm water is not too hot.
- While seated, place the affected foot or ankle in the warm water first for 4 minutes. This is a good time to do gentle range of motion exercises.
- After the 4 minutes is up, place your foot and/or ankle into the cold water for 1 minute. Once your foot is in the cold water container, add 2-3 cups of ice to the cold water, one time only.
- Repeat this cycle for a total of 4 times (a total of 20 minutes) each day. You do not need to add more ice with each cycle.
*Caution: do not perform if you have any open wounds, a history of diabetes, poor circulation, or numbness in your feet.