For centuries, heat has been used as an effective pain reliever that provides almost instant relief, while assisting the body’s natural recovery process.
Using a hot water bottle to ease pain has become somewhat of an old wives’ tale, but modern science has shown that it’s not so much an excuse, as it is an actual relief. Time and again, heat has shown to help minimise aches and pains associated with exercise, injury and stiff muscles.
Wintergreen mentions that when heat is applied to painful or stiff muscles or joints, the body’s sensory receptors are stimulated to block the transmission of pain signals to the brain. This results in effective, temporary pain relief, even in the case of chronic pain.
Heat has shown to be one of the most effective pain relievers among athletes and those who exercise on a regular basis. Wintergreen gives us five ways how heat works to alleviate pain:
How does heat help ease pain?
- When heat is applied to sore muscles, it increases tissue elasticity and reduces your resting muscle tension.
- It assists the muscles in relaxing, reducing the discomfort caused by painful knots.
- It increases blood flow. When heat is applied to a painful area, more blood flows to the area, bringing nutrients and oxygen needed for the injury to heal. This blood flow also helps flush out the injured debris faster, and increase the healing speed. Recovery time is shortened.
- Researchers have found that heat can deactivate internal pain at a molecular level, in a similar way to that of an over-the-counter painkiller. Studies conducted at the University College London showed that when heat is applied to the area of injury, heat receptors are turned on and pain receptors are temporarily turned off.
- The feeling of heat on the skin has what is generally referred to as an analgesic effect. Warmth is comforting, and can alter the body’s perception of pain so that it does not hurt as much.
Heat is best used to relieve four types of pain such as arthritis, sprains and strains, muscle spasms and stiffness.
For more information, visit Wintergreen.