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Contrast Hydrotherapy is an incredibly effective tool for healing that has been used for centuries.

Localized Contrast Hydrotherapy works very well on chronic pain, stiffness, chronic cough or illness, soreness and areas that are not healing well.

There are a couple varieties of Contrast Hydrotherapy.  The most popular method is using hot and cold water alternately on the injured or affected area.

When should I use Contrast Hydrotherapy?
Contrast hydrotherapy is beneficial for treating injuries that have not just occurred.

  • Example: If you roll your ankle, you should apply ice for the first two to three days after injury.  After this waiting period, performing contrast hydrotherapy locally will speed up the healing process.

ATTENTION: Cautions with Contrast Hydrotherapy

  •  Diabetics: If you are losing feeling, have someone feel the water for you and use a timer when you are performing contrast hydrotherapy in order to prevent getting burned or frozen.
  •  Asthma: Do not use too cold of water; rather just make it tap water cool. The extreme temperature change between the hot water and cold water may trigger an asthma attack in those with asthma.

How to do Contrast Hydrotherapy:

1. Determine if the affected body part can be immersed in a bucket. If the affected body part cannot be immersed in a bucket, then you may use hand towels.  If hand towels have to be used, you will need 3 hand towels for hot and 3 hand towels for cold. Buckets will still be needed to soak the hand towels. Body parts that often need hand towels instead of buckets: neck, chest, back, shoulder, upper thigh, cheeks, etc.

2. Obtain two buckets that are large enough for the affected body part. I frequently use medium size garbage cans (kitchen size) or more shallow bins (clean cat litter boxes work great).

3. Fill one bucket with filtered hot water.  I say filtered because there is no benefit to inhaling noxious chlorine gas while trying to heal. Ensure that the water is as hot as you can comfortably stand. If you are diabetic and have neuropathy, have someone test the water temperature for you to prevent burning (and freezing).

4. Add about 1 pound of Epsom salt to the Hot water bucket. You can purchase inexpensive epsom salt from an animal feed supply store. They usually have 50 pound bags for about $30 or so. That is where I obtain mine. Ask for 'Magnesium sulfate'.

5. For greater effect in healing, add a minimum of 1/4 liter of Moor Mud to the hot water bucket. Various sizes of Moor Mud can be purchased at

  • Depending on the size of the bucket and the ailment, 1/4 liter of moor mud is enough.
  • For wrists and hands, 1/4 liter of Moor Mud is plenty.
  • For ankles and feet, 1/4 liter of Moor Mud is enough if the pain or tightness or swelling is not too bad.

6. Fill the other bucket with cold water. There is no need to add ice and is not recommended for various types of issues so let's leave ice out of it. Just use cold filtered tap water (if your tap water is chlorinated and you do not have a filter, you may add 1 gram of powdered vitamin C to the water to dechlorinate it.)

7. Once you are ready to begin Localized Contrast Hydrotherapy, use the hot water first. Immerse the affected body part into the Hot Water Bucket for 3 minutes. When using hand towels, wring out the towel well and apply to the affected area. Cover immediately with a blanket to hold in the heat.

8. After 3 minutes, remove your affected body part from the Hot Water Bucket and place it into the Cold Water Bucket. Leave it there for 1 minute. If using hand towels, remove the existing now-warm hand towel from the affected body part and apply a fresh wrung out Hot Water hand towel quickly. Then, wring out the hand towel that was sitting in the cold water bucket and get it ready. Remove the Hot Water hand towel and immediately place the Cold Water Hand Towel onto the affected area. Cover immediately with a blanket. Let the Cold Water Hand Towel remain for 1 minute.

9. Alternate between the Hot Bucket/Hot Hand Towels and Cold Bucket/Cold Hand Towels three times.

  • 3 minutes Hot
  • 1 minute Cold
  • Repeat 3 times
  • End with Cold
  • NOTE: If you have an autoimmune condition such as Rheumatoid Arthritis or Raynaud's, end with Warm water, not cold.

10. If your Hot Water Bucket is cooling off, have someone provide you with hotter water. A tea kettle with boiled water in it usually can heat up the Hot Water Bucket pretty well. Drain some of the water out of the Hot Water bucket and then pour in the boiling hot water from the teapot. Make sure your body parts are not in the bucket at this time!

11. Repeat this Localized Contrast Hydrotherapy procedure daily for best effect.

12. Apply Castor Oil to the affected body part after the Contrast Hydrotherapy to further reduce pain and swelling.

13. Stretch and massage the affected body part if it is tight directly in the hot water bucket if you can. Also adding a tennis ball in the bottom of the hot water bucket is great to massage the soles of the feet. (for Plantar Fasciitis.)

Any questions, please post below.

In health,
Dr Ben