Your hot water bottle as a heat treatment

Hot water bottles can be great therapeutic tools

After being made redundant in the pandemic, Emma Watts was looking for her next big opportunity.

With a “heated igloo” craze apparently sweeping the country, Emma decided to make an affordable version and a new business was born.

One year later and the Hertfordshire-based endevour is proving to be extremely popular as customers dine outside in the warmth of a pod.

While the traditional icy surround of an igloo might be missing, there are plenty of items inside the pod to make it a comfortable experience. Cushion, blankets, a heater and, of course, the trusty hot water bottle.

Hot and cold treatments

If you get any bumps and bruises in Emma’s igloo you won’t be able to scrape off a handful of ice to press on the area! But should you be applying hot or cold pressure at all? Is it best to treat an ailment or injury with heat or ice?

Applying heat often feels like a quick fix pain reliver. Therefore, it’s normal for people to assume that it’s healed and the injury better. However, it’s only true with certain kinds of injuries – particularly chronic injuries.

How many times as a child did you bump or bruise your head and your parents reached for a cold compress? The bag of frozen peas went into a tea towel and a few minutes later all was well again.

Dealing with chronic injuries

Oddly enough, chronic injuries are more common than other kinds of injuries. They are usually the result of past injuries that did not properly heal.

Acute vs. Chronic Pain

They are also known as ‘overuse’ injuries. They develop slowly from repetitive activities such as running, cycling, and swimming but can last for a while.

Chronic injuries include the following:

  • Stress fractures
  • Hamstring strain
  • Groin pull
  • Tennis elbow
  • Shin splints
  • Runner’s knee
  • Heel inflammation
  • Ankle sprain

These injuries could bring you moderate to severe pain. The pain can be conservatively treated through heat therapies or thermotherapy treatments.

Using heat to treat these injuries has been highlighted as an extremely effective method. It widens blood vessels, increases extensibility of tissues, and improves blood circulation.

Heat therapy benefits can be achieved in several ways. Below are the most common heat therapy techniques:

#1 Taking a hot bath/sauna

Getting drenched in a hot tub or basking in a sauna has lots of benefits. Not only can it treat symptoms of chronic injuries and muscle spasms, but it can likewise prevent heart attacks and strokes as several studies indicate.

Dr. Adolph Hutter, who is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said that the temperatures in a sauna or hot tub widens blood vessels and causes blood pressure to go lower.

Hot baths can give you the same benefits you get from your daily workouts. Although, you won’t shed the calories as quickly!

Woman in Sauna
Sauna as heat therapy

#2 Filling a Hot Water bottle

Using a hot water bottle is a convenient technique for heat therapy. Hot water bottles are great companions when you are chilling on the couch.

We often fill one up while watching our favourite television shows. A hot water bottle usually maintains its highest temperature for approximately twenty to thirty minutes.

There are several hot water bottles available on the market. Extra long hot water bottles are slightly different from traditional hot water bottles.

Cuddly Comforts’ stylish 72cm bottles get to those hard-to-reach places. The 2 litre capacity holds more hot water as well.

#3 Applying Heat Wraps

Heat wraps are most appropriate for chronic lower back pain. A heat wrap is an effective and convenient pain relief medication.

They are especially useful when you have to work at a desk all day. Here, lower back pain can become an issue. Simply apply a heat wrap under your clothes for some discreet warmth.

Socks with coffee mug
Wrap up warm!

#4 Using gel packs

Heated gel packs are available on the market just like hot water bottles. They maintain their high temperature for approximately thirty minutes.

Some gel packs come with moist heat, which most people actually prefer.

#5 Have you tried an electric heating pad?

An electric heating pad is an effective method to manage pain. However, you have to be careful when using it. Start using it on the lowest level and then gradually increase the heat level.

Do not use it if the cord is broken or cracked. Moreover, it cannot be applied to damaged skin. It also comes in various sizes.

#6 Heated paraffin wax treatment

Sounds like a fancy option. It is, but also surprisingly effective. Paraffin wax is helpful at relieving pain associated with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other joint mobility issues. It provides lots of benefits to your joints.

When it comes to deep heat to ease pain and stiffness, it’s hard to beat warm paraffin wax. Spas offer paraffin to soothe and moisturize the skin. You can get all these benefits at home by buying a portable paraffin warmer.

Arthritis Health

You can enjoy this treatment at home by preparing the following materials:

  • 4 pounds of paraffin wax, food-grade
  • Double boiler
  • Measuring cup
  • Mineral oil
  • Greased plastic container
  • Thermometer
  • Olive oil
  • Plastic bag, sealable
  • Towel
  • Timer
  • Tissue
  • Moisturizer

You do not have to spend as much money on pain relief. It’s always nice to save a pound or two. Something as simple as a hot water bottle can ease that pain away.

If you need to take the edge off persistent pain, or simply require some relaxation, heat therapy would be a very comforting idea.

This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult a qualified practitioner if you are unsure.