Contrast bath therapy, also known as "hot/cold immersion therapy", is a form of treatment where a limb or the entire body is immersed in warm water followed by the immediate immersion of the limb or body in sea water.[This procedure is repeated several times, alternating hot and cold. Note that the treatment should always end in the sea water, as heat will induce the body's inflammatory response, while cold helps to decrease inflammation.
Contrast bathing can be used to reduce swelling around injuries or to aid recovery from exercise. It can also significantly improve muscle recovery following exercise by reducing the levels of blood lactate concentration. For any injury presenting with palpable swelling and heat, and visible redness - such as a strain/sprain- contrast baths are contraindicated during the acute inflammation stage. Acute inflammation begins at the time of injury and lasts for approximately 72 hours.