Ireland Army Community Hospital
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CONTRAST BATHS
Contrast baths are used to reduce swelling in the hands and wrists. By alternating between warm and cold water, the body naturally pumps out the swelling.
Set Up
Using either a double sided sink or two bowls/pans large enough to fit your entire hand fill one with warm water (105-110 degrees-warm tap water) and the other with cool water (59-68 degrees-cold tap water)
Directions
Gently bend and straighten your fingers while completing the following:
 
  1. Immerse your hand/wrist in the warm water for 10 minutes
  2. Immerse your hand and wrist in cool water for 1 minute
  3. Switch back to warm water for 4 minutes, followed by 1 minute is cool water
  4. Switch back to warm water for 4 minutes, followed by 1 minute is cool water
  5. End with your hand in warm water for 4 minutes
Note
You may also wish to squeeze and release a foam ball or sponge during the treatment. If you have severe swelling, try elevating the hand for 20 minutes after this treatment.
Disclaimer
The information on this website is meant for patient education and to provide home treatment options for some common muscular and skeletal injuries. It is not intended to replace your health care provider. Many are actually intended for use by your health care provider through referral to the website for appropriate self-care interventions. If your symptoms get worse; are not improving in two weeks despite treatment; or new unexplained symptoms develop, you should contact or follow-up with your health care provide
Ireland Army Community Hospital