People have been using gentle heat to soothe away aches and pains for centuries. In recent years, heat therapy has been credited not only with providing temporary relief from the symptoms of muscle and joint stiffness and soreness, but also with promoting and speeding the healing process itself.
How does heat help you?
Heat can be applied to help lessen pain, relieve muscle spasms, decrease joint stiffness, increase blood flow and accelerate the inflammatory process with impressive results.
Increased blood flow - When applied locally, heat dilates blood vessels, temporarily increasing blood circulation to the affected area – along with oxygen and nutrients – promoting the healing of musculoskeletal injuries and speeding the removal of toxins from the site.
Relaxation of muscles and tendons - Heat therapy helps to counteract muscle spasm by reducing the tension in muscle trigger points and increasing the ability of the muscle/tendon unit to relax and stretch. It can also reduce painful joint stiffness.
Increased range of motion - Put simply, heat relaxes muscles, easing stiffness and in turn improving joint mobility. Heat therapy also increases the extensibility of connective tissues, helping to extend a joint’s range of motion.
Reduced inflammation - Heat therapy can reduce inflammation – including inflammation in various types of arthritis – and from tissue congestion associated with sub-acute or chronic traumatic conditions of superficial joints and muscles.
Pain relief. Heat stimulates receptors in the skin, interfering with the transmission of pain signals to the brain and partially relieving discomfort. Heat therapy also stimulates production of the body’s own natural painkillers – endorphins.
Why wheat bags?
For a natural and drug free remedy to bring relief from muscle pain you will find that a wheat bag is the perfect answer. Wheat bags are filled with a blend of sterilised wheat, which, when heated in a microwave, will hold warmth for up to 45 minutes and provide a gentle heat to help you relax and to soothe away pain. Alternatively they can be popped into a fridge and then used as a cold compress for sports injuries, bruises or burns.
Problems such as period pain, stomach ache or bad circulation can benefit from the application of a wheat bag and because they are more pliable than a hot water bottle they mould easily to the problem area.
Wheat Bag Safety:
Wheat bags can be a wonderful tool, but be careful. They can become a fire hazard if used incorrectly. They have been linked to fires when placed under bedding and can catch fire in the microwave if heated for too long.
Do not use wheat bags in confined spaces that can trap heat, such as under blankets or on bedding.
Do minimise risks by buying wheat bags that come with clear heating instructions. Be cautious of wheat bags bought at markets and craft stalls; if they do not have heating instructions, do not buy them.
Do follow the heating instructions and be careful when re-heating the bag. When microwaving place a small container of water in with your pack to keep air moist and to prevent the wheat from overheating.
Do replace your wheat bag if it starts to smell burnt or charred. And if you notice this smell when heating it, let it cool down in the kitchen sink before disposal.