Over 25 centuries ago, an ancient Greek philosopher named Parmenides of Elea undertook to test a theory he had about treating illness through the creation of artificial fevers in patients using a primitive form of heat therapy. These days, we’re well aware of heat’s ability to combat sickness, as well as its many other uses in healing and repairing the body – including in reducing bodily inflammation.
The body naturally increases its own temperature in response to injury and illness conditions. When sick, it creates a fever to up the thermostat and beat back invading bacteria, parasites, and viruses. And during injury, it raises the temperature of the injury site to speed recovery and prevent infection.
But you don’t need to rely solely on your body’s in-built system to do all your recovery for you – in fact, you can speed the process yourself by applying the right treatments. Therapeutic heat pads designed to reduce inflammation are one such treatment, and they’re remarkably effective!
What gives heat pads and heat therapy their effectiveness in inflammation reduction is twofold: the relaxation of inflamed tissues, and the increased flow of blood to the heated area, expediting the body’s natural healing process.
Heat therapy relaxes inflamed tissues by increasing their extensibility – that is, how easy it is for them to extend and contract. The easier it is for your tissues to stretch and extend, the less likely they are to stay bunched together in a damaged, inflamed state.
As a further benefit, heat therapy increases the flow of blood to the heated area by dilating the blood vessels, leading to an influx of more oxygen and nutrients that are then used to heal your inflamed tissues faster.