Heat therapy is by no means a new treatment for muscle tension; people have been using heat to relax their muscles for centuries, and it is still one of the most effective ways to find relief. The idea behind heat therapy is that the heat works to loosen up the muscle fibers, and by doing so, relieves the tension from the muscles.
A person can enjoy heat therapy in a number of different ways. One option is dry heat, like an electric heating pad. Some people may prefer moist heat, which can be applied by making a heated compress. Taking a hot bath or shower is also a good method for relief.
Beyond just loosening up the muscles and relieving the tension, heat benefits the muscles by promoting circulation in the area. When heat is applied, the capillaries open, allowing more blood to flow to the area. If the muscles are injured, heat is a good way to stimulate a healing response.
When we talk about heat therapy, people often address the possibility of using cold compresses to alternate with the heat. However, when it comes to muscle tension, cold can make the issues worse since the body’s natural response to cold is to tense up. For many individuals, applying cold to a tense muscle may actually aggravate the situation.