Heat therapy improves circulation and blood flow to a targeted area by increasing the temperature. This may be soothing and increase muscle flexibility. There are different types of heat therapy, including dry heat like a heating pad and moist heat which includes steamed towels.
Cold therapy is used to decrease blood flow to a targeted area which can reduce inflammation and swelling, particularly around a joint or tendon. Cryotherapy is the use of freezing or near freezing temperatures and is a relatively new therapy. Cryotherapy is generally safe but should only be done at a facility with proper supervision. Never use whole body cryotherapy without another person being present.