Heat is reassuring, and reassurance is analgesic
A human being’s comfort zone is a warm place. Therefore, irrespective of almost any kind of pain you may have, to reduce pain, we need to reduce the credible evidence of danger and increase credible evidence of safety.
We can hypothesise that the human brain can interpret a safe source of warmth as good ‘credible evidence of safety’, for basic psychological reasons related to the environmental and social conditions we are involved in. ‘Cold Kills’ – Hyperthermia has been at, or near, the top of the list of threats to our safety throughout history. Another powerful notion is that we associate warmth with contact and intimacy.
Therapeutic heating – ‘thermo-therapy’ – is more powerful than most people realise. This is due largely to muscle pain being a source of far more intense pain than most people appreciate, and muscle pain responds well to heat. Muscle pain caused by over exertion such as muscle cramps, spasms and especially trigger points (muscle knots) are all common and sometimes severe, but often misdiagnosed.
Heat is primarily for relaxation, comfort, reassurance and taking the edge off several kinds of body pain, in particular mostly duller and persistent pains that are associated with stiffness, cramping and / or sensitivity. It can be categorised as follow:
• Heat therapy is mostly for non-inflammatory body pain.
• Acute pain from over-exertion. For example, the pain you experience after your first hard work out or exercise session.
• Stiffness and pain in specific areas are related to cramping / spasms, muscle ‘knots’ or trigger points and osteoarthritis.
• General pain and sensitivity. Some examples include rheumatic diseases and fibromyalgia.
The benefits of heat therapy:
• Heat is reassuring (reassurance is analgesic).
• Heat can penetrate a few centimeters into tissue and cells. Our biochemistry speeds up when the tissue temperature rises which may have therapeutic implications.
• Heat may have an effect on the common painful phenomenon known as trigger points.
• Heat may help soreness after exercise – DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) – especially 48 hours post strenuous exercise and help to speed up recovery.
• Heat therapy and similar products are not really ‘hot’ but it does create a sensation of heat that causes the superficial capillaries to open widely and increase blood flow and circulation.
We would recommend products that increase localised heating, for example Deep Heat Neck & Joint Patch and Deep Heat Warming Belt for your comfort and support.
The Deep Heat Neck & Joint Patch is a long-lasting and deeply penetrating heat therapy that provides soothing relief from neck and joint pain for up to eight hours. The patch is ultra-thin, light weight and flexible with two heat cells that are applied directly to the skin, allowing for freedom of movement.
The Deep Heat Warming Belt has four large heat cells which provide up to 12 hours of deep, penetrating warmth to relieve muscular aches, pains and tensions in the lower back area. The warming belt is odorless and offers discreet and non-stick comfort.
Article written by EPT – The Ultimate Sports Recovery Experts