The use of hot and cold compresses is an easy and effective way to soothe a variety of pain symptoms and is an excellent form of self-care that can easily be done at home. Fluctuations in temperature serve to stimulate the immune system, while causing a pumping action in the muscles that helps speed waste removal and nutrient delivery. Inflammation and muscle tension are also reduced by alternating cold and hot compresses. Always be sure to end with a short cold compress.
Cold water therapy is one of the best forms of hydrotherapy for treating pain caused by inflammation and/or injury. Cold compresses (towels soaked in cold water, ice, and cold packs) help to reduce the sensitivity of the nerve endings that signal pain, and are very helpful for alleviate symptoms of pain caused by inflammation.
Soothing warm baths are recommended. For added benefit, add a few cups of Epsom salt or baking soda. Essential oils added to baths can provide enhanced relief.
For chest or sinus congestion, saunas and steam baths can be very helpful. Inhaling purified steamed water to which herbs or essential oils have been added is also advised. Applying hot compresses to the chest can help relieve symptoms. To enhance effectiveness, simultaneously soak your feet in hot water, while covered in wool or cotton blankets.