You might have placed a heating pad at the site of injury or might your grandmother talk about the benefits of hat therapy. If yes, then you are not alone here!
What is heat therapy?
Heat therapy is a commonly used practice and nearly all of us are aware of its use. This centuries-old practice dates back to 500 B.C. and it was traditionally used by physicians. Physicians in old times used the sun rays for heat therapy to relieve cramps, pain and other physical discomforts.
Apart from this, hot tubs, air caverns and thermal baths were also part of this famous practice. Just like the older times, heat therapy is now also used to cure different disease signs and symptoms. Diseases such as arthritis, muscular spasm and strains are known to get treated by heat therapy.
My father was diagnosed with a herniated disc and he went to a renowned physiotherapist in Lahore. His physiotherapist asked him to do practice therapy along with physiotherapy which was quite helpful in relieving his symptoms.
Heat Therapy Types
There are commonly two types of heat therapies, including;
- Dry heat- sources of dry heat can be heat gels, hot pads, massage chairs, wraps etc.
- Moist heat- hot water or steam is the major source of moist heat.
Benefits of Heat Therapy
There are many benefits of heat therapy, including
1- Relieve pain
Heat therapy is commonly used to treat pain and can be an effective way to relieve pain. Other than the pain it can also make nerve endings numb and can reduce inflammation. Heat therapy is commonly used to treat pain due to the following health problems
- Arthritis (in case of arthritis pain, heat therapy can relieve the stiffness of joints and muscles which help to cope up with disease signs and symptoms).
- Muscular spasm (heat can lose the muscle and tight trigger point to improve flexibility that can help with muscular spasm).
- Tendinosis (heat can also help with the symptoms of tendon’s collagen degeneration).
- Sprains (once the inflammation is over, heat can be used for the sprain)
2- Improved blood flow
Apart from relieving pain, heating is known to improve blood flow. A regulated blood flow in the body is important to ensure the proper supply of oxygen to the body. The readily available oxygen aids the functionality of your body organ and muscles. Moreover, an efficient blood supply system is what we use for the transport of white blood cells in the body which make the immune system of our body.
For blood flow improvement, both dry and moist heat can be used. Irrespective of the heat source you are using, the heat tends to increase the diameter of blood vessels. These widened blood vessels play a major role in improving blood flow.
3- Better sleep
Quality sleep is what a person needs for the proper functioning of the body. However, the quality of sleep is affected by many factors and heat therapy is important among them. Frequent heat therapy can help with bedtime sleepiness. Other than this it can improve the sleep quality that affec6t the physical and psychological aspects of our health. If you have trouble with stage 3 and stage 4 sleep, sleep therapy might be for you.
When my father’s physician at Al Noor Clinic in Lahore was treating him, he was suffering from interrupted sleep patterns and heat therapy helped him to get over it.
4- Reduce symptoms of asthma and allergies
Moist heating (a form of heat therapy) in the form of steam can help with respiratory issues. In the case of both asthma and respiratory allergies, steam can aid to relieve overall symptoms. Other than asthma, steam can treat the nasal and sinuses congestion and irritation well.
5- Depression treatment
Other than the physical advantages of heat therapy, it is also known to help people with depression. In patients suffering from depression, heat therapy in the form of a hot bath showed positive outcomes in their depression treatment.
Heat therapy is an effective treatment against several problems. I hope that the above points proved my point that heat therapy can help with the problems of inflammation, pain, allergies, bad sleep and depression. So, depending upon your requirement/condition you can incorporate dry or moist heat therapy in your daily routines.