Benefits of Heat Therapy
What is a heat therapy?
Heat therapy also called thermotherapy or warmth therapy is the method of treat by using heat. It applying heat on a specific part of the party to relieve muscle pains and open veins for better blood flow. This type of treatment is very popular and comes in varying methods across different cultures and countries. It is one of the most effective ways of increasing and accelerating healing from injuries, joint and muscle stiffness, inflammation and many more.
Types of heat therapy
Applying heat offers a myriad of health benefits to the body. After an intense workout or a stressful day, you usually end up with muscle aches and stiffness. The best way to loosen those knotted muscles is through heat therapy. You can choose from these methods of what type of heat therapy is best for your body needs. You’d be surprised to know that most of them are very much attainable and accessible.
There are two types of thermotherapy - dry and moist heat.
Moist heat - Also called a convection heat, is a fast and effective application of heat. It can be a full body or regional application that uses hot water or steam. Moist heat requires less time and used not more than 2 hours. Examples of this is sauna, steamed towels, hot bath, hot tub and hot shower.
Dry heat - Also known as conducted heat therapy, uses tools or heat sources that are easy to apply and on specific portions of the body. This includes hot packs, hot gels, wraps, heating pad, infrared sauna and massage chairs.
Sauna, hot bath, hot tub or hot shower
These are full body heat therapies and one that you can easily access virtually anywhere especially at home. Some of you may already have the habit of getting warm showers before bedtime, after coming from work or from a rigorous workout. What you probably didn’t know are the numerous health benefits you are actually giving to yourself aside from the relaxation.
- Relieves joint pain and stiffness
- Reduces muscle inflammation
- Reduces muscle spasms
- Improves blood flow and distribution of vitamins and minerals in the body
- Improves immune system
- Relieves toxins from the body
- Clears nasal congestion
- Improves and clears skin
And so much more!
A 10-minute shower or a 20-minute sauna or hot tub give you these great healing benefits. It’s the best habit that you can include in your routine.
Heated paraffin wax treatment
This relaxing and rejuvenating method of heat therapy is one of the favorites in spas and salons. It’s one of the quickest ways to relieve joint and muscle pains in the feet and hand areas. The only risk is having it too hot which may lead to burns. You can do this at home as well and it’s a great way not only to relax your feet after long hours of standing but to heal dry and cracked heels as well.
Hot packs and gel packs
Something that’s very convenient to buy and bring anywhere are the hot packs or gel packs. Not only for the cold seasons, but they are best to apply on specific or targeted areas of the body. They are best to use and apply on injuries to fasten healing and reduce inflammation. You’d see a lot of sports enthusiasts having it with them. A few minutes of this heat pack brings benefits to your healing.
Electric heating pads is a must-have during cold seasons. It comes in different sizes and convenient to put on the floor or bed for that warm and cozy sleep. Users have the option of increasing and setting the heat temperature. It should however only feel warm on the skin and not burning hot. Laying on the heating pad for relaxation and muscle relief should not exceed 20 minutes. Heating pad is best in keeping the body temperature during cold weather. Other people are also using it as an extra tool when doing their yoga or stretching to add burn a few more calories.
Hot water pack or bottle
Have you tried sitting on a hot pack or hot water bottle while doing your desk tasks? Sitting for hours long affects blood flow to your lower body and can cause aches and tension to your lower back, buttocks and thighs. Try sitting on a hot pack for 10-20 minutes and feel the relief on your lower body. Plastic water bottles or silicone packs that you can fill with hot water will do.
Heat for pain relief
As mentioned, heat therapy promotes blood circulation and relaxes the muscles. People with chronic pain such as arthritis can benefit from applying heat on the affected area. You can opt to use heated paraffin wax for quick relief or soak your feet or hands in warm water to relieve the pain. Heat should be applied up to 20 minutes only and does not exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s a chronic pain, do this at least 3 times a day.
For dry heat, you can apply it up to 8 hours. Moist heat acts and gives faster relief. It can be applied for 2 hours.
Heat can also relieve not only arthritis or injuries but also headaches, neck and back pains, dysmenorrhea or simply on tired legs and feet.
Does heat help healing?
Yes. Heat therapy makes healing faster. Applying heat reduces your muscle tension and stiffness. It relaxes the knotted veins which makes the blood circulate better thus reducing inflammation and pain. Good blood flow flushes toxins and other debris of the injury in your system. This makes healing quicker.
How does heat therapy work?
Applying heat to the body enhances muscle elasticity. Heat dilates the veins which in results loosen the knotted veins and stiff muscles. As the tension is removed, the blood flow also improves in the inflamed or painful area. This leads to better flow of nutrients and oxygen which the body needs to recuperate and heal damaged tissues.
Heat therapy is one of the most effective healing methods and offers many benefits. It is also very relaxing and inexpensive. Many people find its appeal because of its accessibility and non-abrasive and a much safer option to relieve pain. That’s why many tools such as massagers and massage chairs include this feature so customers can fully immerse and experience deep muscle relief and relaxation.
How about you? Which of these heat therapy methods have you tried?