Heat therapy has been around since… the sun? Egyptian physicians were onto something way back in 500 B.C. when they used the sun as medicine, and many ancient societies have worshipped the sun as a source of nourishment and health.
Medicine has always harnessed heat to heal. And good things last. Heat is a simple, easy, inexpensive, and effective way to treat pain so you can stay active.
But, it can be confusing.
Do you ice pack that injury or get out the heating pad?
We’ll help you figure it out; here’s the 411:
COLD: Apply cold to new or immediate injuries like a stubbed toe, pulled muscle, or torn tendon. Cold constricts the blood cells, which numbs the injury to reduce pain, and reduces immediate swelling and inflammation, as well as bleeding and bruising.
HEAT: Heat has the opposite function of cold therapy. It brings more blood to the area where it is applied. (So don’t use heat in the first 48 hours of an injury!) The increased blood flow supplies protein, nutrients, and oxygen to the injury site and facilitates tissue healing.
- Cold for an acute (recent) injury.
- Heat for a chronic (or “nagging”) injury or condition - an injury that develops slowly, maybe through overuse or because a previous injury has not healed correctly.
Let’s bring heat therapy into your life. Here are ten ways it’s beneficial:
- It’s for anyone with sore muscles: Your muscle fibers get tiny tears, and your body repairs this damage by fusing muscle fibers to form new muscle protein muscle strands - building muscle! But the process hurts. The small muscle tears and lactic acid build up in the muscles, causing soreness. Heat therapy promotes circulation and helps to remove lactic acid from the muscles, relaxing them.
- Chronic issues like arthritis: Heat can loosen stiff joints and soothe sore muscles. Many doctors recommend a combination of both heat and cold treatments for arthritis that can reduce inflammation and ease pain and stiffness. Copper Fit’s Rapid Relief Knee Wrap wraps you up whether you need a boost of heat or a blast of cold, so you can use heat therapy to ease muscle tension, pain & stiffness and cold therapy to help relieve inflammation - to manage overall pain brought on by arthritis and more.
- Muscle spasms: There is nothing quite like the sudden pain that comes when muscles contract involuntarily - it stops you in your tracks! Always a surprise; they usually come when you have overworked a muscle. Be prepared: next time, use a combo of cold then hot - the heat therapy will loosen up those tight muscles and help with healing too!
- Lower Back Pain: Like all the pain we’ve discussed, we know to always ice first with anything acute. With nagging back pain, a continued combination of cold and hot might be just what you need. Heat therapy is an integral part of managing back pain because when heat is applied, it improves soft tissue flexibility, which helps with muscle movement and overall function. We got what you need with Copper Fit Rapid Relief Adjustable Back Belt- its removable gel pack is for heat AND cold therapy. Brilliant!
- Neck pain is NO fun: If you are like most of us, hunched over your computer or looking at your phone most of the day, you are dealing with a bout of neck pain and stiffness. Conquer “tech neck” with Copper Fit’s Rapid Relief Neck & Shoulder Wrap. The weighted natural clay beads capture temperature and provide therapeutic hot/cold acupressure relief when and where you need it. It’s like a warm hug in the middle of your workday and helps soothe the pain!
- Sprains: After bringing down sprain inflammation with ice, heat can help relieve lingering stiffness. For chronic pain that doesn’t seem to get better - make sure you take the time to sit and heat! Heat will open the vessels to promote blood flow and stimulate the damaged tissues' much-needed healing.
- Tendinosis: It’s a chronic pain that makes tendons and joints feel stiff and painful, usually due to repetitive strain or overuse. There are many ways to heal, including rest, massage, and stretching. Good old heat therapy is helpful to relieve symptoms once the initial inflammation has been treated.
- Getting moving in the morning: We love a simple solution! Like the Arthritis Foundations says: “Looking for a natural way to get your joints moving in the morning? Close the medicine cabinet and try an age-old remedy that has stood the test of time: heat. Try heating things if you have a chronic condition like fibromyalgia, arthritis, or lower back pain.”
- Menstrual Cramps: While this use of heat is not scientifically verified, just ask the many women who rely on their heating pad for relief each month. Possibly because the heat relaxes the uterus muscles, increasing blood flow and easing pain.
- RELAX: Muscle pain hurts! Whether you are wearing one of Copper Fit’s Rapid Relief Wraps, using a heating pad, or a warm soak - heat helps! If you have chronic pain or are hitting the gym too hard, how you manage that pain affects your happiness all day long.
For centuries, heat therapy has been the tried and true way to relax and soothe muscles and heal damaged tissue. Before you reach for the Advil, give the ancient practice of heat therapy a try!
Always consult your doctor; people with certain conditions should take care as high-temperature therapies could exacerbate their condition.