About Heat Therapy

Wheat Bags are so simple to use, Just Heat and Treat®

Heat therapy, or “Thermotherapy” is one of the most effective forms of treatment.  Heat therapy has been long associated with comfort and relaxation but it also goes a step further and can provide both pain relief and healing benefits for many types of muscle injuries.  Heat therapy is also a great method of providing immediate relief from sore, tight and stiff muscles and joints. 

How Does it Work

Heat helps the blood vessels dilate which in turn increases the flow of oxygen rich blood to the affected area.  This helps with better healing as well as quick regeneration of the damaged tissues.  In addition this increased flow of blood also provides lots of nutrients, oxygen and proteins to the area, all of which are imperative to better healing.  Heat acts as a pain reliever by successfully stimulating the specialized pain receptors within your skin.  This decreases the frequency of pain messages that are sent to the brain.

Heat therapy also helps when it comes to relaxing and loosening the tissue surrounding the area being treated.  The ligaments, tendons and muscles can then move more easily which further reduces the chances of injury.  This is why using a Wheat Bag is regarded as being very effective at helping to relieve stiffness and improving flexibility in arthritic cases.

When to use heat therapy

According to most physical therapists and physicians the first fifteen minutes in which heat is applied to the affected area is the most beneficial.  Experts also recommend that heat therapy be used before any activity such as exercising which may cause pain.  When heat is applied after an exercise session it can help prevent pain and future discomfort.

Unlike cold therapy also known as ice therapy the application is not restricted to only the initial 48 hours after an injury.  Heat can be used at almost any time there is stiffness, inflammation or pain.  Some people suffering from arthritis have found that applying a Wheat Bag in the morning before they do anything else helps them reduce pain to the point where getting through the day is easier.

Why are wheat bags so effective? 

Wheat Bags easily mould to the area being treated.  We have many styles and sizes that will cover all parts of the body.  Wheat has great insulation qualities due to its cellular structure, which means it can absorb heat or cold evenly.  It then distributes this stored heat or cold gradually and effectively.
Wheat Bags can also provide some relief from stiffness, inflammation and reduced flexibility.  You need to keep in mind that heat therapy works best in the initial fifteen minutes it is applied.  A Wheat Bag is a simple, handy and useful way to apply heat therapy to help relieve pain.  Conveniently warm a Wheat Bag in a microwave then apply to the area of pain and benefit from the soothing warmth.

Medications alone are not always enough to provide adequate relief; Wheat Bags can supplement conventional medical treatments to give patients a welcome reprieve from pain.

Wheat Bags also provide a soothing warm heat that provides many people with comfort and relaxation.  Children also love the soothing warmth our Wheat Bags supply.

Physiological responses to heat

Increased Blood Flow
Wheat Bags provides heat that works by adding energy locally, increasing the metabolism of all types of cells.  The application of a Wheat Bag temporarily increases blood circulation to the affected area.  The increased blood flow to the problematic or injured area promotes healing of your musculoskeletal wound or injury.  The application of a Wheat Bag helps dilate the blood vessels in the injured tissues, which promotes the increased flow of oxygen and nutrients to your injured muscle helping it to heal.

Increased blood flow also serves to speed the removal of toxins from the area. This improved blood flow to your injury area means that any harmful metabolic byproducts that have accumulated in the area are washed away.

Relaxation of Muscles and Tendons
Muscle spasms can generate sensations ranging from mild discomfort to marked pain but using a Wheat Bag helps relieve muscle spasm related pain and relax your tight tender muscles.  Heat reduces muscle spasm by reducing tension in muscle trigger points, increasing the ability of the muscle tendon unit to relax and stretch.

This occurs because the heat reduces the viscosity of the collagen in these muscles.  Collagen is the most common protein found in the body.  It is found in bone, cartilage, tendon, ligaments, skin and the sheath covering the muscle.  The application of a Wheat Bag lowers the viscosity of collagen, softening muscle and tendon enabling muscles to extend more easily.

If a Wheat Bag is applied over enough time, the muscle and tendons relax and stretch more readily.  This is the mechanism that occurs when heat is applied to muscle cramps and it can also reduce painful stiffness in joints.

Increased Range of Motion
Using a Wheat Bag relaxes muscles, which eases stiffness and improves joint mobility.  Heat therapy increases your circulation and the extensibility of your connective tissue, which in conjunction with appropriate stretching exercises, helps improve or optimise your flexibility and your joints’ range of motion. Using a Wheat Bag on your injured areas facilitates the stretching of your soft tissues, including your muscles, connective tissue and any adhesions or scar tissue that might be present.

Reduced Inflammation
Using a Wheat Bag can also reduce inflammation, including inflammation from various types of arthritis and from congestion in your tissues that is associated with sub-acute or chronic traumatic conditions of your superficial joints and muscles.

Reduced Sensation of Pain
Heat stimulates the sensory receptors in the skin, which means that using a Wheat Bag will decrease the transmission of pain signals to the brain and partially relieve the discomfort.  This means that you won’t experience as severe a pain as you once did.  The new sensation of heat blocks the discomfort by taking up some of the bandwidth available to the pain signals – this means the brain focuses more on the heat and less on the feeling of pain.  In more scientific language you are providing a “counter-irritant” to the painful area.
Additionally, the body has it’s own fabulous natural painkillers called endorphins; these can be released by the body and cause a reduction or inhibition in pain.  Using a Wheat Bag causes the release of endorphins.

Wheat Bags and Other Treatments
For many people, using a Wheat bag combined with other treatment modalities works best.  Medications such as anti-inflammatories, muscles relaxers and pain relievers can be used to maximise pain relief.  In addition, massage, physical therapy and exercise are used to condition and heal muscles.

Heat therapy can be used alone but is most effective when used in combination with other treatment modalities.

All of these actions work together to provide temporary relief of aches and pains, plus helping to promote healing.  Consequently, by using a Wheat Bag, there will be a decrease in stiffness as well as pain, with an increase in flexibility and overall feeling of comfort.

Other Benefits
There are several other significant benefits from using a Wheat Bag that make is so appealing.  Compared to most therapies, heat therapy is quite inexpensive.  Heat therapy is also easy to do – it can be done at home while relaxing or because it is a portable product it can be used anywhere there is a microwave.

Using a Wheat Bag is a non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical form of pain relief, which appeals to many people.

Heat and Cold Therapy
The application of either heat or ice is considered standard in the care of orthopedic problems.  Which one you use depends on whether the pain is new or recurring.

The general rule is ice for the first 48 hours after an injury then ice or heat thereafter.  In general a new injury will cause inflammation and possibly swelling.  Ice will decrease the blood flow to the injury, thereby decreasing inflammation and swelling.  Using a Wheat Bag can assist pain that recurs; this will bring blood to the area and promote healing.