Fall is my most favourite season. Sure, the air and the colours and pumpkin spice are awesome, but the thing that really gets me excited? My heating pad.
It's my go-to tool in a Massage and I use it all the time. Yes, my office space is a cool 65F (18C) all year so I can get away with it, but in Fall? Oh, you're asking for it in the Fall. The table heater, the heating pad, the fresh-from-the-dryer sheets. Glorious.
But it's not just about the feel-goods, heat is extremely therapeitic.
Moist heat, not the dry kind you usually get with an electric heating pad, I'm talking deep-heat steam/bath/hydroculator/thermophore is Amazing for your bod. Moist heat penetrates deeper into the layers of muscle easing tension. It relieves menstrual cramping and soreness. And my fave thing heat can do? Help relieve migraine and tension headaches.
When you apply heat, the blood vessels dialate, or open up, bringing major amounts of blood flow to the heated area. For example, if you're cold apply heat to surface blood vessels like the wrists to warm up faster as the blood circulates. So heat, then, can effect bloodflow. (just don't apply it to any inflammation, m'kay?)
What's that got to do with headaches? A lot.
Migraines in particular can be caused in part by blood flow to the head. Applying heat to the hands and feet changes the blood flow and encourages it away from the head. And voila! Relief. (not a guarantee based on your own physilogy, but it can help quite a bit).
And those tension headaches? Most of these are really caused by tight muscles in your neck and shoulders. Heat those, release the tension, and again relief!
It's like magic. Just like this adorable puppy with a hot water bottle. Isn't he cute?