Heat Packs: Why you should use them

What do they actually do?

                Heat packs are used to deliver heat therapy to different parts of the body, such as your shoulders during or after a long day at work. Heat therapy helps release pain which includes cramps, back pain, arthritis and neck pain. You can find different versions of heat packs or even make your own. At home you can try using a microwavable bottle filled with water, warm bags filled with water, or a heated towel. If you don't have these options around your house or are on vacation and need some assistance, you can always turn to a hot shower, a hot bath or even a sauna!


What are the benefits?

                Heat packs can help improve circulation to the area it is being applied to. This heat transfer allows for faster healing, relieves sore muscles and joints, and eases aching muscles. Clinical studies have found that heat therapies are incredibly beneficial as they are drug-free, effective, and non-invasive. In addition to helping muscles and joints, heat packs can help calm your nerves, reduce pain and help provide relaxation without much hassle.

                The size of these packs makes them very portable. Throw them in your travel bag and take it with you on vacation, or bring it into work with you for some lunch time relief. Along with portability, accessibility to many areas of the body is a nice bonus. Feet, elbows, shoulders, or legs will benefit from the additional heat.


When should I use the heat pack?

                Heat packs should not be used on new injuries as it can make things worse with the inflammation in the area. Instead use a cold pack to reduce pain and swelling and prevent more inflammation from developing.

                Heat packs will only last for so long before the temperature drops too low resulting in being ineffective. At the same time, do not warm it up too much as the high temperature could cause you to burn your skin or cause further injury.


 How do I use the heat pack?

                The process of heating the pack is relatively simple. Take the pack and place it in the microwave for 30-90 seconds and after testing the heat, place it on the affected area.

                If you are a technical person, here is the science behind it. When you place a heat pack over the aching area, the moist heat released from the heat pack relaxes the blood vessels opening them up to increase the blood flow. The oxygen and nutrients then pass to the affected area quickly. The area heals with the additional blood flow supply, and the tissue regenerates to return to the original healthy position. This exercise relieves the pain and improves the flexibility and movement to the muscles in the area. When you put the heat pack on, the brain begins to focus on the heat rather than your pain. 

Brandie, one of our amazing massage therapists, will be hosting a workshop later in August where you can learn how to make your own heat pack and then take it home with you to try it out for yourself! You will need to register for that workshop as we will have limited supplies so make sure to stay tuned for that link on our social media page!