Benefits of Heat Therapy: Guide to Treating Pain with Heat

June 17, 2018 • By Sophia Smith
The estimated reading time is 5 minutes

Origin of heat therapy:

Early Egyptians believed on the effects of heat, while Chinese and Japanese were the first practice the natural heat for the medication of arthritic problems and other disorders.

What is heat therapy?

Heat therapy is a treatment of physical, mental and social orders or diseased through heat. In others words, it can define as

Heat therapy is also known as thermotherapy use for pain control and health. (1)

Forms of heat therapy:

Here distinct heat therapy forms are,

  • Heating pads:

There are three types of heating pads:

  1. Electricals

Electrical pads mostly function from household current and must be protected from overheating.

  1. Chemicals:

These are reusable pads and comprise the saturated solution of sodium acetate. The pads can refill with boiled water for 10-15 mint and then react with sodium acetate trihydrate and regenerate supersaturated emulsion.

  1. Hot water bottles:

A container where warm water store and enclosed by a stopper. Hot water bottles provide hotness for the specific parts of the body usually in the bed.

These heating pads render heat to the affected parts of the body for pain relief. (2)

  • Hydro-collater packs:

First introduced in 1947, a Pharmacal company Chattanooga. It embraces water bath controlled by thermostatically a filled in cloth heating pads and then covered the patient. These collators initially used for the athlete trainers and physical therapists. Now these collators are designed for the acute injuries at home for short-term pain relief.

  • Ultrasound:

Ultrasound has a higher frequency than audible human hearing. The sound is no more different from normal hearing, but human ears can't hear it. The sound's limitations vary from person to person. It is approximately 20 kHz in healthy adults. Ultrasound has some specific intensity for both thermal and non-thermal.

  • Whirlpool baths:

A large tub or small pool full of warm water and apply for hydrotherapy, relaxation, and enjoyment. These hot tubs are known as spas or Jacuzzi.

  • Diathermy:

Microwaves or shortwaves employ in this treatment in which tissues absorbed heat by high water content. This therapy is beneficial for those patients who have sprains, strains, herniated discs, and arthritis.

  • Himalayan salt Heating pad:

Salt heating pad is one of the best methods for pain relief. The pads contain high-quality natural cotton and brim over 100% Himalayan salt. Salt heat therapy is a very conventional antidote from older days. La Naturess Heating Pads are non-electric heating pads and diffuse 3 inches deep in the skin.  It comprises two types,

  1. Heating pad for heat therapy:

In this method when pads attain heat from a microwave, the salt devour heat and maintain heating pad warm for prolong period. These salt heating pads are most potent for deep perforation into the muscles and cater them painless. These pads act like moist heat and prevent the skin from moistureless, for more info visit La Naturess website

  1. Heating pads for cold therapy:

Another method related to this technique is cold therapy. Ice suggest for acute injury. This therapy generally cures the pain and tenderness after injuries. Cold therapy is used for sprain, strain and affected area of muscles.

The temperature of injured part down and prevents from ache through this cold therapy. Sometimes heat puts severe effects on tenderness if applied after injury. In the meanwhile through cold therapy, the inflammation becomes limited.

How heat therapy works:

Heat therapy has two ways to perform functions,

  1. Moist heat therapy:

The study believes that moist heat is more beneficial for the pain relief in the warming tissues as compared to dry heat because water transmits heat quickly than dry air. But clinical studies don't support the moist therapy because tissues overheated by this therapy.

  1. Heat conductions:

This system is more convenient for catering heat to the specific body parts. The best advantage of this radiation is that it settles the effect directly on that area where blood capillaries and neurons ending.

Through this methods, the heat comes direct contact to the external layer of the skin and then transferred lower down by conduction. Infrared radiation is the part of the electromagnetic radiation with wavelength 0.78micrometer to 1mm. It has three segments IR-A, IR-B, and IR-C with the different wavelength.

 IR-A radiation uses mainly for therapeutic purpose.

Mechanism of Heat Therapy:

Heat therapy study has proved that heat escalates the blood and alleviates tissue's temperature. Due to heat therapy, muscles become more ductile and pain-free. As blood speed up, more oxygen and nutrients try to reach affected area and aid to heal it.

Heat therapy abates muscles, alleviate brittle joints, and complement medications for pain relief.

Heat therapy for different pain:

Mostly heat therapy uses for reintegrating purpose. Here is the complementary list of pain.

  • Back pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Headaches
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cancer treatment as chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • Fibromyalgia


Heat therapy may be a colossal treatment tool for chronic pain. In this technique, heat diffuses deeply in the source of pain and expedite healing part where is hurt. But apart from this it has some disadvantage as the skin transform into a little bit pink after applying it. In these circumstances must consult the doctors. 

Sophia Smith

She is a renowned nutritionist and freelance writer whose topics of interest include healthy living and healthy eating. She is passionate about introducing new and delicious healthy meals while balancing her time between cooking and going to the gym. Her mission is to change the life of as many people as she can and make them the best version of themselves.
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