Come on down to our student clinic for some Moist Heat Therapy followed by a therapeutic massage performed by one of our students. We teach our students how to use Hydrocollator Packs in their massage sessions. For centuries, the ability of heat to increase blood flow and ease the sensation of pain has had an important role in supporting the healing process. It’s a way to increase flexibility and range of motion, as well as to promote increased circulation and to prepare the tissues for rehabilitation.
Hydrocollator Packs are a combination of bentonite clay and other natural fillings. These bentonite clay packs applied externally are used to alleviate inflammatory pain, joint pain, arthritis, congestion, bruised tissue, and strains. They prepare tense areas for deep tissue, reduce muscle spasm, and are very therapeutic following muscle soreness from physical activity. Hydrocollator packs are more effective for treating pain than electrical pads because moist heat relaxes muscles and nerves without drawing up moisture from the skin, so the affected area stays hydrated – this is important for a faster healing process. Hydrocollator packs increase blood flow by enlarging blood vessels below the surface relaxing the tissue, decreasing pain, and stimulating the healing process. Increasing circulation and relaxing muscles are not only helpful before a massage, but it’s also very beneficial before chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy, and therapeutic exercises as well. Athletes with chronic pain or overuse injuries may use this heat therapy before exercise to increase the elasticity of joint connective tissues and to stimulate blood flow.
Because heat increases circulation and raises skin temperature, you should not apply it to acute injuries or injuries that show signs of inflammation. To be beneficial, heat should not be applied until the capillaries have had a chance to seal and stop leaking, usually 48 hours following an injury. In order to safely apply heat, first, wrap the pack in 3 towels before applying it to the body for 15-20 minutes at a time – this protects the body from overheating and from any irritation that can occur. As yummy as heat can be, be sure not to apply it after exercise or on an acute injury as it could worsen the symptoms. Heat therapy is an easy and inexpensive option to provide relief from many forms of pain – combined with massage it’s an absolute lifesaver!!