For thousands of years we have treated all kinds of ailments that cause us pain with hot and cold therapies. Everything from arthritis to a pulled neck muscle to a sore tooth. Hot and cold therapies can be very effective due to the ease of application and affordability. Knowing whether to use heat or cold is the part that is tricky. In some cases a single professional treatment will combine both hot and cold.
Generally the use of ice is for acute injuries or pain, like when you sprain your ankle or drop a weight on your foot. Heat tends to be for ongoing muscle pain or stiffness like waking up with a wonky neck or period pain.
Heat therapy by use of heat pads and similar, improve the circulation and blood flow to a particular area by increasing temperature. Increasing the temperature of the afflicted area can soothe discomfort and increase muscle flexibility, helping relax and soothe muscles and heal damaged tissue. Full body heat therapy like infrared saunas can aid the body generally to relax, improve mobility and increase our recovery rate prior to or after an exerting activity ie pre and post competition.
It has also been found that hot baths, heated spas and steam towels can aid in the relief of symptoms of some chronic pain ailments like tendonitis, arthritis ect.
Types of heat therapies include:
•gel heat packs
•hot stone massage