Hot Applications

When using heat to increase circulation to an area of the body, moist heat is more beneficial than dry. Moist heat application can be accomplished by a warm bath / shower, hot moist towel or moist heating pad. If you have a dry heating pad, either wrap the pad securely in a plastic baggy, and cover the baggy with a small damp towel or apply a hot moist towel to the skin, followed by a layer of plastic and finally the heating pad on top. Turn the heating pad on and this will produce moist heat.

Heat relaxes the muscles, but can cause or aggravate inflammation. Ice reduces the inflammation, but can cause muscles to tighten; therefore, the process of alternating moist heat and ice is sometimes beneficial.

If increasing circulation to the area in question is the primary goal than hot packs should be used intermittently, and cold applications avoided unless being applied by a trained hydrotherapist.


Hot Applications can help with the following



Apply warm, moist compresses to the site to increase the blood supply to the tissues. Elevate the infected area, usually higher than the heart, to reduce swelling and rest until symptoms improve.


Colds and Influenza

Another way of enhancing the immune system is by using different forms of heat. A common way of avoiding colds is to take a good hot soak periodically during cold weather followed by a quick cooling rinse. Another method is to take a sauna followed by a cold shower. This sauna-cold cycle is usually repeated at least twice and works best if done at the very first indication of a viral infection.



Pediatrics, November 6, 2006 – University of Utah biologists invented a chemical-free, hairdryer-like device – the LouseBuster – and conducted a study showing it eradicates head lice infestations on children by exterminating the eggs or “nits” and killing enough lice to prevent them from reproducing.

The study “shows our invention has considerable promise for curing head lice,” says Dale Clayton, a University of Utah biology professor who led the research and co-invented the machine.

“It is particularly effective because it kills louse eggs, which chemical treatments have never done very well,” he says. “It also kills hatched lice well enough to eliminate entire infestations. It works in one 30-minute treatment. The chemical treatments require multiple applications one to two weeks apart.”

The LouseBuster now is in early stages of commercial development by a University of Utah spinoff company, Larada Sciences, for which Clayton is chief scientific officer. Patents are pending on the LouseBuster technology, which Clayton hopes will be on the market within two years for use in schools and clinics.

“Each year, millions of children are infested with head lice, a condition known as pediculosis, which is responsible for tens of millions of lost school days,” the study’s authors write. “Head lice have evolved resistance to many of the currently used pediculicides [insecticide shampoos]. Hot air is an effective, safe treatment and one to which lice are unlikely to evolve resistance.”



Using a hot water bottle at your feet can hasten the onset of sleep. See the link between Insomnia and Clothing Habits.



Ice packs or heating pads – whichever technique helps to decrease the pain – may help you to better manage the pain of costochondritis.


Dupuytren's Contracture

Soak hands and wrists in hot water four times a day for 20 minutes each time, for two months. After the hands become warm, the fingers should be manipulated and stretched by firm massage with pulling or pushing motions.

Organ Health  

Stye / Chalazion

In many cases, applying hot compresses to the eyelid on a frequent basis for several days will make the lump disappear. The more often you apply the compresses, the better the chance of reducing the lump without further treatment.


Low Back Pain / Problems

A warm bath with Epsom salts and/or heating pad two to three times per day for 20 to 30 minutes or longer, can help. In sciatica, for moderate pain along the sciatic nerve, heat and/or ice packs may be helpful. It is usually recommended to use ice in the acute phase of pain, and later heat and ice may be alternated as symptoms begin to subside.


Boils, Abscesses, Carbuncles

Apply warm, moist compresses for 20 minutes 4 times a day to encourage circulation and resolution. This will sometimes promote spontaneous drainage of the abscess which is important since the primary treatment of abscesses is to drain them. Take showers instead of baths (baths can spread infection) and keep the boil covered with a clean bandage.


Sebaceous Hyperplasia

Apply warm, wet washcloths to the lump for 20 to 30 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day. If you prefer, you can also use a hot water bottle or heating pad over a damp towel. The heat and moisture can soothe the lump, increase blood circulation to the area, and speed healing. It can also bring a lump caused by infection to a head (but it may take 5 to 7 days). Be careful not to burn your skin. Do not use water that is warmer than bath water.


Vulvodynia / Vestibulitis

Soothing relief may be obtained by applying warm soaked tea bags to the area. This can be done by placing the tea bags on menstrual pads to hold them in place or you can take a sitz bath in which tea bags have been soaked.


Male Infertility (Low Sperm Count)

Urologist Herbert Sperling has warned that heated car seats, which are increasingly popular among those who live in cold climates, may cause male infertility. Reduced sperm growth, slow sperm and misshapen sperm were all more common among drivers who spend long periods on the heated seats.

The seats raise the temperature of the testicles to 38 degrees Celsius, which is 3 degrees more than normal. Sperm is extremely sensitive to changes in temperature. [The Raw Story September 5, 2006]


May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended
Reasonably likely to cause problems

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