So you’ve heard it before, heat promotes healing but wait I thought ice helped with healing and injuries? Well, you would be right, ice does help with new injuries but heat can help as well!!
So you got hurt, you’re using the RICE (rest, ice, compress and elevate) but what do you do after the icing period. My pain has gone away, well has it really? Chances are the ice has masked the pain by numbing the area and reducing the inflammation but you are far from healed. Most injuries can take from 2-3 weeks to fully recover, even if it feels ok via ice or a rub chances are it’s not really ready for full use yet. This is where heat comes into play, like massage, heat increases circulation and blood flow helping with the healing process.
Now you may or may not have noticed but most massage establishments have a heating pad on their table. This is not only to make you more comfortable to get your muscles warmed up for your massage. You may or may not know but the more relaxed your muscles are (heating pad) the deeper and easier the therapist can work. By promoting good circulation the muscle has an advantage in the healing process. Athletes know that stretching/flexibility is the key to them being able to perform at their top-level. Massage can also improve their chances of fewer injuries and faster healing.
But I’m not an athlete why do I need to use a heating pad? Well, the simple answer is yes. Most of us have jobs that are either sitting or standing all day so our back and hips are susceptible to tightening and/or stress. The heating pad is the perfect method to everyday stresses like these to help improve circulation and loosen tight muscles.
I can’t tell you how many times after a long day of massages, I have turned on my heated seats in my car on the way home to find out the next day, I’m pain-free. All because I was proactive and used heat to improve the circulation in my tired/sore back and hips.
So what have we learned, well that while ice is great for pain and injuries, it’s not the best form maintenance. We must be proactive with our health and to do that the body needs good circulation to be at its maximum potential and by adding a little heat after a long day we can stay pain-free while staying loosened-up.