How often have you heard about soaking in a hot tub or applying heat to affected areas when you've felt pain, discomfort and cramping? Did you ever wonder how heat therapy treatments originated? And exactly when did this practice begin?
According to Wikipedia, Heat therapy, also called thermotherapy, is the use of heat in therapy, such as for pain relief and health. It can take the form of a hot cloth, hot water bottle, ultrasound, heating pad, hydrocollator packs, whirlpool baths, cordless FIR heat therapy wraps, and others. It can be beneficial to those with arthritis and stiff muscles and injuries to the deep tissue of the skin. Heat may be an effective self-care treatment for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
Heat therapy is most commonly used for rehabilitation purposes. The therapeutic effects of heat include increasing the extensibility of collagen tissues; decreasing joint stiffness; reducing pain; relieving muscle spasms; reducing inflammation, edema, and aids in the post acute phase of healing; and increasing blood flow. The increased blood flow to the affected area provides proteins, nutrients, and oxygen for better healing.
The early history of heat therapy, when it was used for a number of reasons, can be traced back thousands of years to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. According to a paper published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information in the United States National Library of Medicine, early physicians used the sun's rays for the purpose of heat therapy. The practice dates back to 500 B.C. when Egyptian physicians applied specific rules for sun and heat therapy. Thermal baths, mud baths and hot air caverns linked to volcanic sources were all common practices.
Hippocrates is known to have recognized the power of heat as it related to healing and once stated, "Give me the power to produce fever, and I will cure all disease."
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