Heat therapy involves using a heat source to help treat a condition or injury. Healthcare professionals call it thermotherapy, and it is most commonly used to alleviate acute or chronic pain, especially where muscles are involved. But it can also help heal other tissue damage.1
Heat therapy has a long history, going as far back as the 5th Century BC, when Hippocrates, a Greek physician used it to subdue malarial fever.2 Since then, it’s taken various forms, from the use of hot water bottles, to applying Capsaicin that is derived from hot peppers, or even burning dried leaves on certain parts of the body, a Japanese process called moxibustion.
While we’re not in a position to judge its effectiveness, there are probably less scary ways to use heat therapy, and there may still be a relationship with Japan.
A Haramaki is effectively a scarf for your middle that keeps the area warm and is associated with Samurai soldiers since the 16th Century.5,6
Haramaki are considered to have many health benefits because they boost blood circulation in the midsection, they have been used for ‘relief from abdominal distress, digestive problems, light support for pregnant women’s bellies, and menstrual cramps.’5
If you’re looking to apply heat therapy for temporary relief from muscular aches and pains, joint stiffness, and backache as well as period pain, heat pads are a convenient way to apply heat therapy. They slowly heat up and start working in about 10 minutes. They are also thin and discreet, and unlike bulky wheat bags, or hot water bottles, retain their heat for longer.7 Samurai soldiers already burdened with armour and weapons would have loved them.
Adhesive heat pads such as Hotteeze are designed to be positioned on the outside of under garments where heat is required – and they’re more discrete than traditional options. The gentle adhesive will help keep them in position. You can check out the range of heat pads here.
Best of all, heat pads are also available for your hands and feet – something else the Samurais might have appreciated when wandering the cold plains of ancient Japan or dealing with a long day of feuding.
If you’d like to learn more about heat therapy, check out this article.
Always read the label and follow the directions for use. Do not stick directly on skin.