Heating up: Dry Heat VS Moist Heat

But… its a dry heat

There are two primary sources of heat you can utilize for your pain or muscular tightness: dry heat and moist heat.

We’ll explore the difference between the two and when and why to use them?

To start, both options provide heat to tissue and can be beneficial for muscular tightness or muscular-related pain, there are just a few differences to be discussed.

TL/TR – watch a short video instead.

Dry Heat

  • Dry heat typically comes from sources like electric heating pads, bean, and rice bags.
  • Benefits
    • They typically last longer than a moist heating pad
    • May be easier to apply or easier to use
    • Less of a mess
    • Heat up quickly
  • Negatives
    • Can dehydrate tissue
    • Cause dry skin
    • Doesn’t heat as deep

Moist Heat

  • Moist heat is something that will typically be used more in the clinic and comes from moist hot packs, steam towels, hot bath, and gel packs.
  • Benefits
    • Provides deeper heat penetration into the muscular tissue than dry heat
    • May offer greater relief of symptoms
    • Increases circulation to increased blood flow to painful tissue to promote healing
  • Negatives
    • Takes longer to heat up
    • Heat doesn’t last as long

So, what should I use?

  • In the end, it will come down to personal preference and what you are more comfortable with. Moist heat will likely be more effective, but if you like dry heat, then stick with dry heat.
  • Try and keep the temperature at a controlled rate and utilize for 15-20 minutes, always making sure that the source is not too hot to cause any burning!

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