Heating Pad Guide: Don’t Get the Wrong Heating Pad

Soothe your aches and pains away with a warm relaxing heating pad. Whether it's muscle aches or coming in from the cold, heating pads offer you warmth and healing through moist or dry heat that penetrates deep into the muscles. To get the best heating pad for your needs, consider where the heating pad is needed, different types of heating pads and whether you want a heating pad that produces dry heat or moist heat.

>> Determine what you need the heating pad for

Not all heating pads are a one fits all design. Heating pads can be made for specific areas of your body. By determining the area of your body that needs heat therapy the most, you can find the best heating pad to meet your needs. A rectangular, flat heating pad works best for placing across large areas such as your back or stomach for pain, relaxation and warmth.

If you are having pain in your shoulder, consider buying heating pads with a carved out neck for laying the heating pad over your shoulder as close to your neck as possible, or shoulder heat wraps designed specifically for your shoulders. The shoulder pads can also work well for your arms. Consider a wrapping heating pad or wrist heat wraps for joint pain in your ankles and wrist to ensure the heat encompasses the entire area. Wrapping pads work well for your arms and legs as well. Buy heating pads that look much like a neck pillow or heat therapy neck wraps for muscle strains in your neck.

Even if you do not have aches and pains, consider using a heating pad for warmth and relaxation on areas of your body that endure a lot of stress. If you do a lot of sitting at a desk, buy a heating pad for your neck and shoulders as they will endure more stress than the rest of your body. If you work on your feet all day, your legs and feet will endure more stress, whereas if you lift heavy boxes or do a lot of bending, your back will endure more stress. Buy heating pads according to your physical activity during the day to promote rest and healing to your muscles.

>> Consider different types of heating pads

When looking for the best heating pad, look at how it is constructed. Different types of heating pads are designed to heat the pad differently. Consider the following top rated heating pads:

• Electric: Electric heating pads are typically a rectangular design with electric coils inside a flexible, plastic mat. The electric coils connect to a cord that is plugged into an electrical outlet. You can then turn the heat on or off and adjust it low to high with a small dial on the cord or the pad. Some electric heating pads have a safety mechanism that automatically turns the heating pad off after a certain amount of time allowing you to rest safely.
• Microwaveable: Microwaveable heating pads are some of the best heating pads for relaxation. They can also be called reusable heat wraps. The flannel pack is filled with grains, beans or rice that generate heat after being placed in the microwave. Many microwavable heating pads can contain aroma therapies such as lavender, vanilla or chamomile for soothing and relaxing your body and mind. Or, you can add your own scents with scented oils.
• Chemical: Chemical heating pads do not need any heating source to produce heat. They are sometimes called disposable heat wraps. These disposable heat wraps are activated by oxygen. Made with charcoal, iron powder and salt, the oxygen stimulates the iron powder to produce heat while the charcoal and salt increase the speed of this reaction (a chemical reaction). Chemical heating pads can be brought anywhere and applied at any time to evenly distribute heat on any area needed.

>> Consider moist heat versus dry heat

Another factor to consider when looking for the best heating pad for soothing your body is whether the heating pack uses dry heat or moist heat. Moist heating pads are generally used by physical therapists to generate a deeper heat into the muscles after using them. The moisture penetrates the heat deeper into the muscles and increases blood circulation. Some heating pads come with both a dry heat and a moist heat option. For moist heat, the pad will come with a sponge that can be dampened and inserted into the heating pad. As the heating pad heats up, so does the sponge, creating moisture and a more penetrating experience. Consider moist heating pads after a workout, a run or a sports activity to give your muscles an intense rejuvenation.

Heating pads serve many purposes including soothing aches and pains, rejuvenating muscles and providing a relaxing experience. Choose a heating pad that offers you just the tranquility your muscles need.

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