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Heat Treatments: Top 5 Conditions
Few activities feel more relaxing than an interlude in a hot bath, hot tub or sauna. Since 1969, when backyard inventor Roy Jacuzzi of Walnut Creek, California, added air jets to an old grape press and created the first Jacuzzi hot tub, bathing has emerged from the privacy of the bathroom and returned to what it was in ancient Rome - a way to combine relaxation with socializing. But hot baths do more than help us de-stress. Studies show that heat treatments have many healing benefits.
1. Muscle Soreness
Muscle aches often develop from minor overexertion. That is because the muscles involved have not been sufficiently conditioned to tolerate the extra demand placed on them, and the unexpected load damages some muscle cells. The damage triggers stiffness and the dull, aching soreness that begins within a few hours of the activity and may last for a day or two. Heat can help relieve the discomfort in two ways. It opens superficial blood vessels, increasing circulation to stressed muscles. This extra blood carries oxygen and several components of the immune system's cellular repair kit that speed healing of injured cells. In addition, pain contributes to anxiety, which makes the pain worse. Heat's relaxing effect breaks this vicious cycle, soothing tensions and with them some of the discomfort. It is recommended hot tubs or hot baths to soothe aching muscles.
The relaxation resulting from a hot bath or sauna helps many people let go of their daily cares and ease into sleep. A hot bath within a few hours of bedtime definitely helps people fall asleep. Taking a hot bath in the morning or afternoon would have no sleep-inducing effect.
3. Premenstrual Syndrome
Hot baths help relieve the bloating and irritability of Premenstrual Syndrome. There may also be some other, as-yet-unsubstantiated benefits. Spending time in a hot tub increases metabolism slightly, for example. so it could conceivably help control weight. And at least one study suggests that heat's antimicrobial effect - similar to that produced by a fever - helps prevent colds. There are some people, however, who would do well to stay out of hot tubs - pregnant women and men trying to conceive a child. Hot tubs and saunas are not a good idea for pregnant women. In a study of 23,000 pregnant women, those who used hot tubs frequently during the first few months of pregnancy were almost three times more likely than nonusers to give birth to children with neural tube defects. Risk of neural tube defects was almost doubled for women who used saunas.
It is recommended to have sitz baths to treat hemorrhoids. A sitz bath consists of immersing just the lower body in warm water while elevating the legs.
It is recommended low-impact weight-bearing forms of exercise - among them, walking and gardening - to help control joint pain and inflammation. Another way to gain the same benefit is to exercise - walk, run in place or swim - in warm water. The water's buoyancy helps cushion the joints from harmful impacts, and the relaxing warmth helps the joints move through their full range of motion.
Raymond Lee Geok Seng is one of the foremost experts in the health and fitness industry and is a writer specializing in body health, muscle development and dieting. He has spent countless of time and efforts conducting research and share his insightful and powerful secrets to benefit men and women all over the world. He is currently the author of the latest edition of "Neck Exercises and Workouts." Visit http://www.bodyfixes.com for more information.
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