The many benefits of passive heat treatment
First, what exactly is passive heat treatment? Simply put, passive heat treatment includes:
The most notable types of heat therapy used are saunas, steam rooms, and hot baths. While they may be based off of similar concepts, the functions and benefits of both are somewhat different. So first, let’s cover what they are and why they’re so great.
Hydrotherapy is something that’s been practiced for centuries. Whether hot or cold, bathing offers many significant benefits. But here, we’re going to focus on heat as a method of treating various ailments.
Besides sitting in the comfort of a warm tub, hot baths are actually great for the body. Here are a few reasons why :
Steam rooms are pretty much as they sound — a room, usually made from tiles, that produces steam to 90-100% humidity. Since heat rises, sitting at a higher level in a steam room will provide greater benefits than sitting at a lower level. Like hot baths, steam rooms offer several of the same benefits:
Now that you’ve learned about a couple other forms of passive heat treatment, we can get to one of my new favorites — saunas. Touted for their wide range of health benefits, saunas have recently become a common thing to incorporate into a daily routine. If you’ve ever been to a Scandinavian country, you’ll see that saunas are extremely popular — and for good reason!
Saunas are essentially a wood lined room that emits either dry heat or wet heat. Perhaps the most well known is the Finnish sauna — a room heated with a sauna stove and filled with stones that are heated by either electricity or fire.
While being popular within northern Europe countries initially, saunas are a regular practice throughout the world. If you’re wondering why they’re so highly prized, here are some reasons:
But why heat therapy?
Thermotherapy is a great option to help heal non-inflammatory body pain. This is because heat is great for inducing relaxation of muscles and dilating blood vessels through raising nitric oxide levels, a potent vasodilator, to promote greater blood circulation.
Conditions that a sauna might be beneficial for include:
It’s crucial to remember that heat is not good for certain conditions and may make them worse. This includes things like severe injuries or infections and acute inflammation as in the case of an arthritis flare up. For conditions involving inflammation, it’s best to use ice. If you’re using a sauna to help release tension in muscles, it’s also imperative to know the different between muscle strains and ‘knots’. Strains indicate an actual injury to the muscle (a small tear) that a sauna will not fix, while knots are small patches of tender tissue usually caused my micro-spasms that often need pressure to be released.
Passive heat treatment is an excellent way to help relieve and treat several conditions. While hot baths are the cheapest and likely most convenient method, a sauna, whether it be infrared, Finnish, or electrically heated, offers numerous health benefits both externally and internally. So next time you visit a gym or spa that offers a sauna, be sure to strip down and hop in!
BY COURTNEY LANDIN
POSTED: JANUARY 29, 2019