Heat has been used to reduce pain for ages. Numerous civilizations have included heat therapy in their search to relieve pain and treat ailments, including the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. Some of the earliest physicians employed the sun's rays for healing, along with thermal baths and hot air caverns linked to volcanic sources.
These natural methods of heat therapy were carried on to Native American cultures, where they used hot vapor baths to treat a large variety of ailments. In the 16th century, Chinese and Japanese empires began to use hot stones to treat respiratory and digestive issues, as well as arthritis and syphilis.
Heat therapy isn't just for those suffering from some kind of ailment. Fit and active individuals can benefit from improved circulation, especially before a workout. In this animal study by the National Library of Medicine, scientists concluded that "applying heat during limb immobilisation attenuates muscle atrophy and oxidative stress." This can be translated to humans, in that the application of heat preserves muscle under physical stress (aka strength training or exuberant workouts). In these times when muscle fibers are actively being broken down (in order to rebuild them back stronger or reduce muscle wasting in the elderly), the application of heat therapy can help reduce how much muscle is lost.
Why Heat Therapy?
Heat encourages circulation in the body, which not only helps quickly move nutrients to your joints and muscles, but also dilates blood vessels and helps relieve sore muscles.
But you don't have to have a vapor bath or a sauna to be able to benefit from heat therapy. We often recommend these heating wraps for those suffering from muscle or joint pain or just want to improve their muscle recovery after a tough workout. These flax-filled heating pads and wraps are microwavable and freezable, so you can use them for all your recovery needs.