Therapeutic healing pad

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

Many claims have been made regarding the healing potential of many types of therapeutic pads. Some of these pads come with magnets.

There is no good evidence from randomized controlled studies that magnetized pads work better than placebo. Unfortunately, the Internet is replete with sites hawking these “magnetized miracles.”

Some healing pads come with herbs or aroma therapy devices. These may be comforting and may help a patient to feel more relaxed.

One of the very few claims that can be substantiated with hard data is the use of therapeutic heat. Applying heat to the body has the effect of dilating the blood vessels, increasing the metabolic rate of the heated area, and relaxing the muscles.

The use of heat is an important therapeutic tool and often crucial to the massage experience.

Heat can deliver soothing comfort to the patient while enabling a deep state of relaxation. In addition to relaxing muscles, heat causes the brain to create endorphins, pain-relieving hormones.

Heating pads are referred to as “fomentation devices.” The definition of the word fomentation is "the use of a warm moist substance to promote healing or relieve pain." Therefore all therapeutic devices that deliver heat to the body are fomentation devices.

The list of fomentation devices is long: Heating pads, Thermophore® heating pads, heat lamps, hot water bottles, hot soaks, microwavable hot packs, paraffin baths, Hydrocollator® packs, and Fomentek™ bags to name a few. Each product has qualities that make it better for a particular type of use. For example, a heating pad offers the convenience of being able to simply plug it in, but you should not use it if there is a chance that you might fall asleep while using it.

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