The Benefits Of A Moist Heating Pad
There are many different kinds of heating pads out there, with many to choose from with their different fillers.
But one of the biggest things to remember if a moist heat is going to do better for your recovery than a non-moist heat.
The moist heat conducts the heat better to the skin than dry heat, it increases blood flow to the area, and it helps to relief and pain to the given area.
Read on to find out more information about the benefits of moist heat.
Benefits of moist heat
Most people don't know that you can have a dry heat or a moist heat when dealing with your heating pads.
There are pros and cons to both options.
With the benefits for moist heat, there are a few different reasons:
- It provides a deeper heat penetration into the muscular tissue than you would get with dry heat
First off, you are typically using a heating pad because you want to take care of some soreness or some pain that you might be having over your body.
For me, I've used it when I am recovering from surgery and when I've just recently injured a part of my body while playing basketball or some other sport.
And we put the heating pad onto those parts of the body because it covers the muscles of that area from where you are hurting.
Having a regular heating pad can help you with these hurt muscles, but having a heating pad that has some moistness to it will give you even more recovery from hurt muscles.
So having a heating pad can be very helpful.
- Greater relief from symptoms
Because it gets deeper into the muscles and helps in recovery, it should help with greater relief of your symptoms.
The moist heat helps to release any tense muscles in the area where the heating pad is placed.
And releasing these tense muscles will also allow them to continue to heal on a deeper level.
You may continue to increase the benefit of the moist heat by stretching during or after the treatment with moist heat.
This in turn will work with the stretching to get your muscles worked out and ready for healing.
- Increases circulation
According to VerywellHealth.com:
"Put a hot pack on an injured or tight area of your back, and you'll likely increase circulation. Increased circulation speeds the delivery of blood, and therefore oxygen and nutrients. It also accelerates the removal of waste products.
Another way moist heat helps the healing process is by increasing enzyme activity. This raises your metabolic rate and helps release oxygen from the hemoglobin molecule into your tissues, where it helps with repair."
So moist heat helps with the repair or healing process by increasing your metabolic rate, which then releases more oxygen into your tissues.
This then helps with the healing process.
Negatives of moist heat
Now there are a lot of benefits to using moist heat to recovery from your injury or soreness, but there are just a few negatives to the moist heat.
- Takes longer to heat up
Because there is a little bit of water added to the heating pad to get it to a moist heat, it does take a little bit longer to heat up.
Now, in the long run, this might not be and pretty much isn't that big of a deal.
You might usually heat your heating pad up for 2 minutes to get it to the correct heat.
And in this case, you might have to heat it up to 2 and a half minutes or even 3 minutes to get it to the heat you want it to.
So as you can see, this isn't that big of a negative.
- Doesn't stay hot as long
Now this is probably a bigger deal than it taking longer to heat up.
People get pretty used to how long their heating pad stays warm and know how long they need to keep it on their body.
And in the case of a heating pad not staying hot as long because it is a moist heat, this might be a reason not to do moist heat.
You should keep a heating pad on for at least 20 minutes each time you use it or you might not be using it to its full potential.
And if a moist heating pad is not going to last the 20 minutes you should have the heating pad for, it might not be worth it for you.
Negatives of dry heat
Since we've now covered the benefits and negatives moist heat, let's cover the negatives of applying a dry heat to your aching and soreness.
- Can dehydrate and dry skin
When you apply a dry heat to your skin, it can dehydrate and dry the skin.
This means that you could end up getting some type of rash in the area where you are using the heating pad.
This could then in turn lead to irritation in the area and making you uncomfortable until you can resolve the dryness.
Resolving the dry area could mean applying lotion to the area until it is no longer irritated.
And hopefully you could resolve it without having to visit a doctor.
Because if you can't resolve it without a doctor, then the doctor might end up having to give you some type of steroid to get it resolved.
This dryness can also affect the amount of time you can actually apply the heat to your skin.
If it dries out your skin, you might only feel comfortable applying it to your skin 10 to 15 minutes less than the recommended amount of time.
And this means that you aren't recovering as well and as fast.
How to get moist heating pads
Now, most of the microwavable heating pads you will buy, you won't be able to make them moist heating pads right out of the box.
This is true for rice, wheat, corn, or any other fillers in the heating pads that might be food.
This is because once you've applied water to the heating pad, you will ruin the insides of the heating pad.
Because of this, you can't wash your heating pads fully, because that too will ruin the heating pad.
So avoid applying water to your microwavable heating pads because you don't want to ruin them.
Just a few other microwavable heating pads are moist just on their own.
People claim that any flax seed heating pads will give you a moist heat.
I haven't tried this out myself, but it is something worth looking into.
It is important to note that you can use your lava sand heating pad as either a moist heat or a dry heat, depending on what your preference is.
This would involve applying just a little bit of water to the heating pad before heating it up in the microwave.
Once you've applied the water, and heated it up, then you have the moist heat to apply to your body.
And don't worry about the water.
Once you've put the lava sand heating pad through the microwave a few times, you'll have to apply water again to the heating pad if you want the moist heat again.
And you don't have to worry about if the water is going to affect the lava sand.
Because the filler is lava sand, the lava sand won't get ruined by combining it with water.
So you can continue to apply water for as long as you want moist heat.
You will just have to monitor the lava sand heating pad and make sure it doesn't stay too wet for too long.
After a day or two of being wet, this could end up ruining the heating pad cover.
Since it is water and fabric, the fabric being left wet for too long could lead to mold or mildew on the cover.
And at that point, washing the cover might not get rid of all the mold of mildew.
So I would recommend that after a day, if the heating pad is still wet, put it in the microwave for a few minutes at a time until you get the heating pad completely dried out.
If you don't want to put it into the microwave over and over again, you could put in your oven.
This would involve setting your oven to 200 degrees and then leaving it in the oven for an hour or two.
We recommend the same thing when you've washed the heating pad.
When you've completely washed the whole heating pad (which you should be fine getting the whole heating pad soaking wet), then you leave it in the oven for 3 to 4 hours, until it is completely dry.
There are a few differences between a dry and a moist heat.
The biggest of those being that a moist heat is going to give you a deeper penetration into the skin and muscle you are applying the heat to.
But you will also run into the problem that the moist heat heating pad takes longer to heat up and doesn't stay hot as long as a dry heating pad.
The dry heating pad is going to give you some relief and it will stay hot longer than the moist heat.
But it will also dry out your skin.
Then you have other problems you have to worry about.
So overall, the moist heat seems like the best heat to go by and the lava sand heating pad is the perfect solution for this.
You can also some water to the heating pad before throwing it in the microwave.
Then when you go to apply it to your skin, it gives you a nice moist heat to apply.
And if you find you don't like the moist heat, then heat up the lava sand heating pad until all the water is gone.
Then you are back with the dry heating pad.
You won't get the ability of going back and forth between dry and moist heat with most over heating pads.