“Heat reduces the pain associated with injuries and also acts as a catalyst in the healing process.”
Have you ever noticed how a heat pad can put you to sleep just like that. You lay your head back and you nod off like a little baby. Why is that? What is it about heat that causes the body to go into such a relaxed state? Well, there are a few reasons why this happens.
Heat Therapy – How it Works
Heat reduces the pain associated with injuries and also acts as a catalyst in the healing process. Many times, back pain is caused by over-exertion that creates tension on the muscles and soft tissues that surround the spine. Concentrated regions of strain restrict proper circulation, resulting in pain signals being sent to the brain. There are three ways heat helps in the repair and recovery process:
Circulation – Therapeutic heat massage dilates blood vessels in the muscles surrounding the lumbar spine (belt line). This increases blood flow. As you know, blood carries with it much needed oxygen and nutrients that help repair damaged tissue in the body.
Stimulation – A rise in temperature stimulates sensory receptors found in the skin. Instead of sending signals of pain to the body, these receptors are now happy! This alleviates discomfort and relaxes the muscles because your nervous system isn’t sending signals to your brain saying that you’re body is in pain. Bet you didn’t know your skin plays such a big role in aches and pains! [Learn why Massage Therapy is Good for Your Skin!]
Release of Tension – As you know, things contract in the cold and expand in heat. The same holds true for your body. When you apply heat to the body, everything stretches out a bit. Heat makes your body more flexible, reduces stiffness, and triggers what’s called the Analgesic Effect. Analgesia is a term that is defined as “the absence of the sense of pain while remaining conscious.” This is where your perception of pain is altered so your body doesn’t feel as much pain.
It’s funny how heat has the ability to make pain disappear almost instantly. I’ve experienced many different types of pain and heat just has an intoxicating effect that leaves your body filled with a positive sensation.
Chairs with Heat Massage
Massage chairs create heat in two ways; a special heating pad or friction from the rollers. Although the roller don’t provide as much heat as a dedicated heating pad, the massaging motion of the rollers will create friction against your body. Heat is a byproduct of this.
Some people wonder if the heating feature is necessary on a massage chair. To answer your question, yes and no. It really depends on your preference and the reason you have the chair. If you have issues with tension, then yes, a massage chair with heat therapy would be a worth the extra money.
When coupled together, the heat and the massaging motion from the rollers delivers a one two combo to your body. This post focuses on the heat element but you can learn How Massage Improves Circulation by reading this post.
Essentially, the heating element will increase blood flow faster than a chair without a heat feature. Instead of having to wait for the repetitive motion of the rollers to grow after a while. Many modern massage chairs come with some sort of heating element. This wasn’t the case 5 years ago. Nowadays there are different types of heat features that can be found around the belt line, lower back, legs, and even the bottom of your feet.
Sanyo has chairs with heaters in the feet to aid the reflexology massage that the chair offers. Reflexology is an alternative health and wellness technique. You can also compare different massage chairs to see which one has the features you want on our site.
About the Author
Jelani Burton is a sports enthusiast who enjoys working out and getting a good post workout massage. Nothing beats a good workout and some down time to repair!