• Home

The Many Benefits Of Heat Therapy: A Complete Guide

Heat therapy (also known as thermotherapy) involves using warm and hot temperatures to treat certain medical conditions and improve general health. When heat is introduced to a painful area, it causes blood and oxygen to flow freely, resulting in faster healing. There are many benefits of heat therapy and to know more, keep reading our article below.

The Many Benefits Of Heat Therapy

  1. Reduced Pain
  2. Increase In Blood Flow
  3. Improvement In Sleep
  4. Reduced Symptoms Of Asthma
  5. Lowered Severity Of Depression

1. Reduced Pain

Cold therapy is mainly used to reduce inflammation in a specific area. However, with the use of heat pads, heat relief patches, and warm water bottles, heat is used to loosen tight muscles.

A variety of ailments are treated with heat therapy. What heat does is it improves muscle elasticity. It relaxes the veins and muscles to improve blood flow in the painful area. This causes oxygen and other necessary nutrients to flow effectively to the damaged area, resulting in muscle tissues getting repaired and pain reducing. Here are some of the most notable diseases that use heat therapy to reduce pain:

  • Arthritis: Heat is used to loosen stiff joints and heal sore muscles.
  • Muscle spasms: When heat is applied on the painful area, blood flows quickly to it and reduces pain.
  • Sprains: Whenever we get a sprain, the fluid buildup in the tissue causes swelling. Although ice therapy is used to reduce swelling, heat is used to heal the remaining stiffness.
  • Tendinosis: This disease causes the tendons and joints to become stiff which gets painful. Once the inflammation is taken care of, heat is then used to relax muscles and reduce pain.

2. Increase In Blood Flow


Heat therapy is the best when it comes to blood flow. When heat is applied to the affected area, the blood vessels become relaxed and cause oxygen and blood to flow better to the affected area, in turn improving circulation. When there’s appropriate circulation happening towards the targeted area, the damaged tissues get repaired and the muscle flexibility is restored.

Also, research has shown that heat therapy is used for the treatment of cardiovascular disease and low blood pressure. However, if you have a heart condition, you should consult your doctor first before engaging in any heat therapy.

3. Improvement In Sleep

There’s a lot of connection between heat therapy and good sleep, especially through the medium of having a warm bath. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try taking a warm water bath before going to bed.

When you have a warm water bath, your body temperature increases, relaxing your muscles and improving circulation. After having a warm shower and as you step out of your bathroom, your body cools in the air. It’s this drop in temperature that signals to our body that it’s time to wind down, making you feel sleepy.

Another study showed the relationship between a warm bath and good sleep. The study proved that while cold water baths didn’t have any effect on sleep, warm water baths produced an increase in stage 3 sleep (associated with physical healing).

4. Reduced Symptoms Of Asthma

Unfortunately, there is no definite cure for asthma, but at least its symptoms can be reduced. If your chest muscles feel tight due to wheezing or coughing, you can put a heating pad on the target area. This will help to keep the blood flowing to the area it hurts, loosening the tightness and relieving the pain.

In more severe cases of asthma, a relatively new form of treatment called bronchial thermoplasty is used. It’s a procedure that helps to open your airways by applying small amounts of heat to the smooth muscles of your lungs–the same muscles that tighten and make it harder to breathe during an asthma attack. Again, this treatment is just to help you breathe better and not cure asthma. Also, the steam from a hot sauna or warm bath can help you to clear your nasal passages.

5. Lowered Severity Of Depression

The benefits of heat therapy extend even further than just relieving body aches and stiffness. It goes beyond the physical by reducing symptoms of depression as well and a study conducted by researchers proves so. The participants in the study were given two hot baths per week for four weeks, and the results showed a reduction in depressive symptoms.

In addition, another study showed that whole-body hyperthermia could produce antidepressant results for those suffering from a major depressive disorder. Whole-body hyperthermia is a type of treatment in which one is put in a thermal chamber to raise body temperature (to around 107 °F) for short periods of time. This process is usually used to treat cancer and tumors, but now it can be also used to reduce symptoms of depression too.

Summing Up

Now you know the many benefits of heat therapy. But, it’s always better to consult your doctor first before trying out heat therapy, especially if you have a chronic condition.


What Does Heat Therapy Do?

Heat therapy relaxes the blood vessels that help blood and oxygen flow to the affected area. This aids in muscle repair which helps to reduce pain and soreness.

How Long Should Heat Therapy Be Applied?

Minor pains, such as acute back aches or neck pains, require 15 to 20 minutes of heat therapy whereas chronic conditions may require up to 30 minutes in an hour. When it comes to heating devices, make sure that you don’t use them directly on your skin for more than 20 minutes at a time.

What Condition Would Not Be Treated With Heat Therapy?

Before trying out heat therapy, visit your physician for a second opinion if you have any of these ailments:

  • Diabetes
  • Vascular disease
  • Dermatitis
  • Heart disease

How To Reduce Muscle Stiffness

Do you sometimes get a feeling of immobility when you feel your muscles become rigid and your limbs don’t obey the commands your brain gives? That’s what muscle stiffness is all about. And if you’re a constant subject of this ailment, read our article to know how to reduce muscle stiffness.

What Causes Muscle Stiffness?

Before we get into some tips on how to reduce muscle stiffness, let us first understand how this condition occurs in the first place. Muscle stiffness is associated with muscle tightness, a condition where you find it difficult to move your muscles comfortably. The tightness is usually accompanied by pain, making the simplest of tasks challenging to perform. Usually, it occurs in the morning and lasts for about 30 minutes after waking up.

There are many reasons why one may be subject to muscle stiffness. Being immobile for long periods of time, such as when you have to drive or sit at your desk to work, could be one of the primary reasons. The skeletal muscles in our body, which are responsible for voluntary movement, get overused when there’s an increased duration of immobility or when we try a new exercise regime. This damages the muscle cells for a short while, causing the muscle to become stiff. In addition, sprains and strains are also common causes of muscle stiffness.

Muscle stiffness goes away after trying some simple remedies. In severe cases, it could be a symptom of larger complications such as meningitis or chronic fatigue syndrome.

How To Reduce Muscle Stiffness

To release the stiff sensation in our muscles, we need to relax the skeletal muscles that have been overused. Here are a couple of remedies for how you can do so.

1. Stretches

It’s important to keep your muscles flexible via stretching so that there’s continuous blood flow to the tissues. When there’s good blood flow to the tissues, damaged tissues repair faster, alleviating the stiffness that you have. The same goes for muscle soreness as well.

The first thing you should do when you wake up is stretch. Avoid sitting for long hours and take small breaks so that your stiff muscles receive the circulation it needs. To get you started, here are some simple stretching exercises which will help you to reduce muscle stiffness:

  • Forward Bend Stretch: This exercise helps in reducing stiffness in your neck, back, hamstrings, and lower back. These are the same muscles that become stiff after long hours of being immobile. Forward bend stretches also improve the function of the digestive and nervous systems.
  • Shoulder Stretch: If you have a bad habit of slouching in your chair, then this exercise is meant for you. This type of stretch will reduce muscle stiffness in your shoulders and increase your range of motion.
  • Standing Quad Stretch: Helps to reduce stiffness in the thigh and improves blood flow, generally done while warming up.

2. Deep Tissue Massage

A massage not only provides relaxation but also helps to reduce stiff muscles. Although there are several different types of massage you can try, we recommend you do a deep tissue massage if you have the means. This type of massage is one of the best ways on how to reduce muscle stiffness.

This type of massage uses a variety of techniques to penetrate the tissues, helping the stiff muscles to move more freely. Inelastic muscle tissues are the cause of muscle stiffness and a deep tissue massage will help to relax the tension properly. Once muscle inelasticity reduces, blood flows better and healing takes place at a faster pace as well. Also, the best part of a deep tissue massage is its effects are long-lasting.

3. Home Massage Equipment

If you’re looking for massages you can do at home, you can use tools like massage guns to reduce muscle stiffness. Use a massage gun for 1 to 3 minutes after a workout or a long day of sitting at your desk. The vibrations provide better blood flow to the targeted area, relieving the stiffness that you have. You could also do foam rolling to help you relax and release the tension in your muscles, making it another method on how to reduce muscle stiffness.

4. Using Heat Therapy

Heat therapy works wonders and is one of the most proficient ways on how to reduce muscle stiffness. The pain caused by stiffness can get unbearable and what heat therapy does is softens the tissue around the stiff area, causing the blood to circulate efficiently.

Heat therapy can be administered in many ways. Something as simple as taking a warm bath can be soothing to your stiff muscles. Heat relief patches help not only ease the pain but also give you the agency to use them anywhere. Because you don't need a socket to plug in, these patches are extremely portable. Other options that can be used in heat therapy are warm bottle bags, heating pads, and electric heating belts.

When You Need To Visit The Doctor

If your muscle stiffness remains for more than a week despite trying all of the above remedies, then it’s high time to visit your doctor. Your stiffness could be a cause of an underlying condition.

These are some additional symptoms you need to watch out for when your muscle stiffness takes a longer time to heal:

  • Fever accompanied by stiffness in the neck.
  • Muscles become extremely weak.
  • Swelling and pain in the area where you suspect the stiffness to be.

Summing Up

Now you know how to reduce muscle stiffness. In addition to the above remedies, remember to take rest during the recovery period. You don’t want to exert your affected muscle too much and cause more harm. In conclusion, if you experience pain for a longer period than usual, please don’t delay and visit your doctor immediately.


How Do You Relieve Muscle Stiffness?

You reduce muscle stiffness by stretching, getting a massage, and using heat therapy. These remedies help in increasing blood flow to the tissues, resulting in better muscle flexibility.

What Deficiency Causes Muscle Stiffness?

Magnesium is a nutrient that helps muscles to be flexible and move properly. When there is insufficient magnesium, muscles cannot relax when they contract, resulting in stiffness. Anyone who lacks magnesium is more prone to develop high blood pressure, heart disease, and osteoporosis as well.

Does Muscle Stiffness Go Away?

If it’s your skeletal muscles that have been overused, then muscle stiffness goes on its own within a few days. If the ailment keeps recurring, simple lifestyle changes such as taking frequent breaks while sitting or correcting posture might help. However, if the stiffness still persists after a week, you’ll have to pay a visit to your doctor for a checkup.