Heat therapy also known as thermotherapy has been used in the management of pain and as a self-help mechanism for centuries. In fact, the ancient Greeks and Egyptians used heat therapy more than two and a half thousand years ago, making extensive use of thermal baths. East Asians used hot stones, and Native Americans also used heat to cure a range of ailments. Today there is a wide range of heat products on the market, but you need to know what to look for before you buy. That’s why we’ve put together some of the information you'll need to choose the best heating pad.
Heat therapy is an inexpensive and pharmaceutical free method of relieving muscle pain. Heat improves our tolerance to pain and helps us to relax and in so doing reduces the pain. It makes the muscles more pliable, reducing stiffness.
How Heat Works to Reduce Pain
When a heating pad is applied to an area, it induces an increase in blood flow deep into the muscle (1) by making the blood vessels dilate. Blood brings with it additional oxygen and nutrients. It also removes waste products such as lactose. Lactose results from over-exertion and is the cause of stiff and uncomfortable muscles. This is why heat reduces pain and muscle stiffness (2). It also aids healing. Heat has a comforting effect that soothes us and makes the pain more bearable.
Long-term consumption of pain medications can cause havoc with your digestive system, and that is why heat pads are ideal for the relief of chronic pain. Heat treatment should be applied every day, and each one should last between ten and thirty minutes depending on the extent of the problem.
What Kind of Injury Responds Well to Heat?
Never use heat on inflamed or injured skin. Bruising and swelling respond well to cold compresses and not to heat. You can use heat on any part of the body from knees, neck, back, shoulders, stomach, and elbows. Heating pads have proven to be highly effective in reducing pain in patients suffering from post-operative shoulder pain (3).
The type of pain that responds well to heat include
Types of Heating Pads
Features to Look for in a Heating Pad
Match the features that you look for in a heating pad with your individual requirements and the location of the injury that you plan to treat.
Best Heating Pad Review
This heating pad is good for any large area such as the back or the legs as it measures 20”x24”, which is twice the size of regular heating pads. It is pliable so you can wrap it around your body and it is also good to lay on. It has six temperature settings controlled by an LED panel. The backlit screen is easy to read, and the light switches off automatically so as not to disturb your sleep.
It has a soft, plush micro-fiber cover which is machine washable. It heats up in seconds, and it has an automatic shut-off that will switch it off after two hours saving energy and ensuring that you do not burn yourself. You can override the auto-shut-off if you’d prefer to switch it off manually. The heat is uniform with no annoying hotter or colder patches.
This heating pad can be used dry or damp for deeper muscle penetration. Simply dampen one side with a fine spray mist or a sponge and use as you normally would. It has a nine-foot cable so you can use it anywhere in the room. Heat may be a subjective thing, however, and for some people, even at the highest setting, the heating pad may not be warm enough.
The product has a generous five-year warranty. It comes with a handy bag for storage and easy portability.
- Large size
- Six temperature settings
- Quick heating
- Use wet or dry
- Five-year warranty
- The comfortable cover is machine washable.
- Nine-foot cable
- It does not get as warm as some of the other products on offer
The versatile MOQY heating pad is suitable for both heating and cooling. It is filled with organic moor grain from the swamps of Germany. Moor has super temperature retention capabilities, retaining heat twice as long as gel, rice or grain. Moor has been used by Germans for years for the relief of pain. The thermal properties of moor ensure that the heat or cold is slowly and evenly transferred to the affected area on the body. Its heating penetration capability allows the body to tolerate higher heat levels.
It takes more than a year to process leaves and roots into a product that has the necessary properties to retain the temperatures. To heat or cool you can pop it into the microwave or freezer and use it wherever you may be. You don't have to be tied down by a cable. Use the product on any part of the body that requires heat or cold therapy. To obtain the benefits of moist heat wrap the heating pad in a damp towel and use as you normally would.
The cover is 100% cotton flannel which is easy to wash. Expect a slight smell when first using this product. It is 100% safe and BPA free.
The product comes with a thirty days 100% satisfaction guarantee and a two-year warranty
- Excellent heat retention
- No cable
- Can be used as a cold pack or a heating pad
- Can be used moist or dry
- Two-year warranty
- It has quite a strong smell initially
Designed for the neck and shoulder pain the heating pad can nonetheless use it for other parts of the body and either dry or moist heat. To moisten spray water onto one side of the pad and apply as you usually would.
The heating pad is 18x25 inches and has a machine washable flannel cover. It buttons up in the front so you can comfortably wear it around your shoulders like a small jacket, leaving your hands free. This is a unique design that offers real relief for those suffering from spinal problems in the neck and shoulders.
It has a generous ten-foot cord which leaves you free to sit anywhere in the room. The product has three temperature settings and two-hour automatic power off. It is ETL certified and is covered by a ninety-day return warranty. Some people may feel that this shoulder heating pad is not hot enough and there are some inconsistencies in heating across the shawl, but this shouldn’t be a deal breaker as this product is practical and affordable.
- Specially designed for neck and shoulders
- Ten-foot cord
- Automatic switch off
- Use moist or dry
- Three temperature settings
- Not warm enough for everyone
- Small inconsistencies in temperature
This tourmaline heating pad offers the deep penetrating benefits of infrared heating. This product has FDA approval and does not emit harmful electro-magnetism. The jade and tourmaline provide the benefits of negative ions and FAR infrared heating. The flexible mat can be used on any part of the body to relieve pain. It has a Velcro body strap to keep it comfortably in place while you enjoy the benefits of pain relief.
It has a programmable digital control. The memory function will retain your settings. The product has calibrated, and a timer that you can set for up to four hours at fifteen-minute intervals. With auto shut-off, it ensures no burns and saves energy. It is portable, and you can strap it onto your seat at home or in the office for all-day comfort. The pad is a sizeable 23.5x16 inch. It is made from a polyurethane leather that contains jade and tourmaline stones and a non-ferrous metal reflector. It has a ten-foot cable so you can comfortably move around the room with it. It comes with a bag for storage and portability. It has a one-year limited warranty. On the downside, it is heavy and won’t wrap around the neck.
- Infrared FAR technology for penetrating heat
- Programmable settings
- The strap keeps it in place
- Ten-foot cable
- Precision temperature settings
- Automatic switch off
- Can’t be used for the neck
The Nature Creation heating pad brings you flexibility by combining the ability to heat or chill while you enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy. Warm it in the microwave or chill it in the freezer and you can use it to reduce chronic pain or inflammation. There are ten aromatic herbs packed into the pad to soothe your tensions.
The 5x11 inch pad has three channels, so it is flexible for use on any body part that requires comfort. For moist heat therapy, lightly spray the pad with water before placing it in the microwave. To clean it wipe it with a damp cloth. The cover is washable. This eco-friendly product is 100% natural and made in the USA. If you're not in any pain, the heated pad can bring you aromatic warmth in the midst of winter. The product has a one-year limited warranty. The only negative we could find was that the scent might be too heavy for sensitive noses.
- 100% natural products
- No cable required
- Use dry or moist
- One-year warranty
- The scent is a bit heady
Our Choice of the Best Heating Pad
Of all the heating pads on review, the Pure Relief stands out as the best heating pad. With six temperature settings and a nine-foot cable, this heating pad is larger than most others and can be used for sore muscle relief of the back and legs. It is flexible enough to wrap around painful areas, and you can lay on it.
Below a comparison table to help you make up your mind.
Moist and dry
Excellent heat retention
Especially for neck and shoulders
5 / 5
4.5 / 5
4.5 / 5
5 / 5
4.5 / 5
Why Live With Muscle Stiffness and Pain?
We only live once so we should make the best of our lives and seek to make ourselves as comfortable as possible. There is a reason why ancient civilizations all over the world treated their ailments and painful muscles and joints with heat therapy. With one of the best heating pads, you can overcome pain and discomfort in the comfort of your own home.
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