Hydrotherapy (water therapy) involves using various forms of water to reduce the pain and swelling associated with intense exercise. This practice involves using hot and cold water at precise times to achieve muscle recovery. There are various strategies used by high level athletes to increase performance and decrease pain.
It is known that cold water (55-60°F) reduces body temperature which causes blood vessels to constrict squeezing out lactic acid, swelling, and reducing the sensation of pain. Cold water therapy has also been shown to help an injury from becoming more severe if the athlete is submersed in cold water immediately following the incident.
Heated water (100-105°F) water increases body temperature causing blood vessels to expand increasing circulation promoting nutrient transport to muscles. This method is very relaxing and can also reduces stiffness and prepare one for sleep.