Heat therapy

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The heat treatment is one of the oldest medical procedures and is applied in a wide variety of medical systems, as in the conventional Western medicine, in the natural healing process and in Chinese medicine ( moxibustion ). The heat is said to have a healing effect, which is why one speaks colloquially of healing heat . This should be differentiated from medical therapeutic hyperthermia , in which the whole body is heated.

Medical heat therapy is used locally for diseases of the musculoskeletal system, in particular for neck pain, chronic low back pain and joint complaints, in sports medicine, for example, for overuse injuries such as muscle strains and joint distortions. It is part of medical therapy guidelines.

In medicine, the following effects are ascribed to heat: muscle relaxation, improvement of blood circulation, reduction of the viscosity of the synovial fluid, improvement of the elasticity of the collagenous connective tissue and pain relief.

Heat therapies should not be carried out in inflammatory processes, for example in inflammatory rheumatism (acute flare-up) and in acute illnesses that are associated with the body's own heat generation (local inflammation, reddening, overheating, fever).

Often certain carrier substances that have been heated beforehand (latent heat storage) are applied to the body. This includes mud therapy , the use of grain pillows or pillows with a temperature-storing gel, as well as natural moor pillows. In this way, a heat release of several minutes to several hours can be achieved. Medical healing heat can also be generated using heat cushions, the ingredients of which (iron, salts, activated carbon , vermiculite ) continuously release heat for over 24 hours via an accelerated oxidation process (hand warmers in sports or healing warmers in medicine). Furthermore, by stimulating specific skin receptors with a carrier substance containing capsaicin (plaster, ointment, Munari pack ), a subjective feeling of warmth can be generated. In the moxibustion of Chinese medicine, a short-term, selective application of heat is achieved by burning off mugwort .

Hot packs

Individual evidence

  1. Quality assurance working group of the Society of Medical Assistant Professions for Rheumatology: Guidelines for Physiotherapy. ( Memento from January 15, 2006 in the Internet Archive )
  2. Guidelines of the German Society for Orthopedics and Orthopedic Surgery (DGOOC) and the Professional Association of Doctors for Orthopedics (BVO) Rehabilitation for herniated discs with radicular symptoms and after disc surgery.
  3. ^ KL Schmidt, H. Drexel, KA Jochheim: Textbook of physical medicine and rehabilitation. 1994, p. 338.
  4. M. Zenz, I. Jurna: Textbook of pain therapy. Scientific publishing company, 2001.
  5. HC Diener, Ch. Maier: Das Schmerztherapiebuch 2008. Urban & Fischer, 2008, p. 393.
  6. Guidelines for the management of osteoarthritis in the finger joints in sight / recommendations of the European Rheumatism League. In: Doctors newspaper. June 23, 2006.