What are the Benefits of Moist Heat Therapy


Moist Heat Therapy Buying Guide

Moist heat therapy is a form of superficial heat therapy commonly used for treating and managing non-inflammatory body pain. This non-invasive alternative to drug therapy is very effective when combined with physical therapy and exercise. The benefits of moist heat therapy make it useful for treating and managing lower back pain, muscle spasms, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. Products used for moist heat treatments can help relieve muscle and joint pain, stiffness and soreness. The best moist heat therapy offers deep, penetrating heat that stimulates sensory receptors and blocks pain signals.


Moist heat vs. dry heat

Dry heat therapy involves the direct application of a heated pad on the skin. Moist heat therapy differs by employing a wet or moistened hot pad or pack. Some of the best moist heat therapy products include heated gel packs, steamed towels and heat wraps. There are also moist heat products that can double as cold packs for cold therapy. Examples of such dual products are hot and cold compresses. Chill a hot/cold compress in a freezer to use it for cold therapy or heat it in a microwave for heat therapy.

An electric self-heating pad is an example of products used for dry heat therapy. When considering how do self heating pads work, know that they radiate heat on contact with the skin. While dry heat therapy is easier to apply, moist heat offers deeper penetration and provides faster relief for deep-seated body pain.

Another difference between moist and dry heat therapies involve heat transfer. Water (moist heat) transfers heat better than air (dry heat). Because moist heat has a higher heat transfer efficiency, its heating effect lasts longer. Many of the benefits of moist heat therapy are due to this difference. Lastly, dry heat draws moisture from and dehydrates the skin, while moist heat keeps the skin moisturized while radiating heat. There’s also a lower risk of skin irritation with moist heat.

How do heat packs work?

A moist heat pad or pack puts a thick layer of insulation between its heat source and the skin. This intervening layer can be a gel or bentonite pack that absorbs moisture or a moistened cloth. When asking how does a moist heating pad work, it helps to know that this moist layer prevents high heat from scalding the skin while it radiates deep into tissues and muscles.

Soaking a moist heat pack in hot water for a long time allows it to absorb and retain heat. When applied to a sore area, the hot and wet material slowly radiates moist heat through the skin into the tissues and muscles underneath. The best moist heat therapy products use thick fabrics or special wraps to reduce heat loss. This slows down cooling to ensure the heated pads or packs release heat longer. For the best result in physical therapy, combine moist heat with massage therapy. This combination is effective for improving post-workout recovery and preventing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

Benefits of moist heat therapy

Most of the benefits of moist heat therapy come from raising the temperature of a stiff or sore part of the body. Moist heat also stimulates sensory receptors in the affected area and blocks the transmission of pain signals to the brain in order to provide quick pain relief. It can also soothe pain-activated nerve endings. Whether used alone or along with physical therapy supplies, the best moist heat therapy provides the following benefits.

Promotes blood circulation

The local application of heat dilates the blood vessels around the part of the body where moist heat is applied. The best moist heat therapy products dilate the blood vessels of the muscles around the spine to provide quick relief for back, shoulder and neck pain. Improving blood flow also contributes to relieving muscle stiffness and soreness around the lumbar area. Increasing blood circulation increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to injured parts of the body. These benefits of moist heat therapy speed up healing and muscle recovery.


Provides relief for muscle and joint pain

The deep muscle penetration benefits of moist heat therapy are the main reasons why this treatment is effective for relieving deep-seated pain. The heat from moist heat sources can also reach soft tissues, joints and ligaments to provide pain relief and promote recovery. When used alongside physical therapy exercise equipment, the best moist heat therapy programs can help individuals in rehabilitation overcome muscle pain and return to peak performance.

Moist heat reduces pain sensations in muscles, joints and tissues in three ways. First, it soothes pain-sensitized nerve endings. Secondly, it blocks the transmission of pain signals in the central nervous system. These benefits of moist heat therapy are attractive to those looking for drug-free treatments for chronic pain. Lastly, the application of moist heat can also sedate people in discomfort.

The best moist heat therapy products also provide relief for superficial pain and don’t hurt the skin when applied. Dry heat products may be painful for people with sensitive skin. Unlike dry heat therapy, moist heat penetrates deeply without dehydrating the skin. Leaving the skin moisturized and keeping surrounding tissues supple are some of the secondary benefits of moist heat therapy. These outcomes help prevent skin bruising and redness.

Improves tissue and muscle flexibility

Raising the temperature of muscles and tissues makes them more elastic. Increased elasticity improves muscle, joint, tendon and tissue flexibility. It loosens and lubricates these parts. The benefits of moist heat therapy contribute directly to getting relief from muscle cramps and spasms. Similarly, when sore muscles and tissues regain flexibility, the chances of long-term muscle and joint damage are lower.

Physical therapy workouts using resistance bands can help when using moist heat to improve muscle and tissue flexibility. Exercise bands are gentler on sore muscles and weak joints than free weights. They’re inexpensive, lightweight and produce excellent results in individuals in rehabilitation when paired with the best moist therapy regimens. 

Speeds healing and provides relief for chronic pain

Benefits of moist heat therapy, such as increased muscle and tissue flexibility and blood vessel dilation, can lead to faster recovery and quick relief for people suffering from chronic pain. Besides increasing the levels of nutrients and oxygen in injured muscles and tissues, boosting blood flow to these parts also speeds up the removal of accumulated metabolites that cause muscle stiffness.

Speedy recovery is one of the most important benefits of moist heat therapy for athletes and people who exercise regularly. To avoid muscle fatigue, delayed muscle soreness and long-term injuries, such individuals should look for the best moist therapy products available when shopping for personal care medical supplies.

The best moist heat therapy products also promote healing by increasing the body’s metabolic rate and driving it to break down and eliminate toxins faster. Faster metabolism speeds up healing and provides the energy needed for a more active lifestyle. These benefits of moist heat therapy make it an excellent treatment for managing chronic conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and degenerative disc disease.

The benefits of moist heat therapy extend beyond the warm, soothing feeling it provides. Use moist heat products to get quick relief from muscle cramps and spasms and treat non-inflammatory chronic pain. The best moist heat therapy products also improve blood circulation as well as muscle and joint flexibility while speeding up the healing process. Browse the extensive selection of physical therapy and medical practice supplies at CeilBlue™ to find different types of moist heat products for pain relief.