For today’s blog we are writing a simple guide on when to use heat for self care. Heat, when used correctly, can be a great treatment for aches and pains. Heat therapy can also be used in your massage sessions, from hot packs in one area, to a full body hot stone massage. The addition of heat to a massage session can help promote overall feelings of relaxation, improve blood flow, lower blood pressure and warm up the tissues (muscles). It also feels wonderful. Warmth is naturally relaxing to the brain so it creates a “safe” sensation allowing you to fully relax even more.
Heat can be a great treatment for muscle pain due to soreness, cramps, trigger points (knots), stiffness and all over pain caused by some health conditions such as fibromyalgia and sleep deprivation. How hot the heat is depends on your tolerance and heat should always be used with towels between your skin and the heat source.
When dealing with an acute (recent, sudden) injury such as a muscle strain or joint sprain, heat should not be used. Heat could actually worsen the pain by causing more inflammation. In these cases ice should be used for the first 48-72 hours.
Remember this is just a guide, if you are unsure about if and when to use heat or if you are injured consult your doctor first! Here at Massage Hope, we can add heat to your session in the form of hot packs or hot stone massage. Notice is needed upon booking your appointment so we can prepare for your session accordingly.
As always if you have any question about this topic or massage therapy, give us a call at 703-858-2323 or email Kirsten@massagehope.com
Thank you for reading!