Heat therapy in naturopathy

Heat therapy in naturopathy / Health News

Naturopathy: healing by heat

The use of heat therapy for pain or certain clinical pictures is one of the oldest medical methods and has a firm place in conventional medicine as well as in natural medicine. Because heat promotes blood circulation and thereby supports processes of metabolism, it is used wherever something needs to be strengthened or built up - e.g. in muscular tension, musculoskeletal disorders (e.g., neck pain, chronic low back pain) or in rheumatic diseases such as arthrosis (arthrosis of the wrist and finger joints, arthrosis of the knee joint, arthrosis of the hip joint) or before and after other measures such as. Physiotherapy or massages. Since heat is perceived by many people as relaxing and soothing, appropriate heat therapies are sometimes used in psychosomatic disorders as well as restlessness or nervousness and can also achieve a positive effect there. Another area of ​​application is chronic respiratory diseases: Here foot baths in warm water have been shown to be effective on several occasions, because in this way the movement of the cilia in the airways is stimulated.


  • Naturopathy: healing by heat
  • Applications of heat therapy
  • What happens in a heat therapy in the body?
  • When should not heat therapy not be used?

Applications of heat therapy

The treatment with heat can be done in very different ways, but the most common is the supply of heat via hot or hot water instead - by baths, casts, wraps or hot water bottles. For example, In an "overheat bath" - under constant medical control and monitoring - a bath gradually heats up to 40 degrees Celsius, while the patient's body stays in the water throughout the entire period. As a result, the pulse speeds up and the body temperature also rises to 40 degrees, with the result that the body starts to sweat, but can not cool off due to the warm water - through this method, the sweating remains constant and stored in the body pollutants be flushed out. In addition, such an overheating bath supports the body's own defenses and can be effective in chronic rheumatic diseases. It should be noted here that under no circumstances should an overheating bath be performed without medical supervision, as the patient's pulse and blood pressure must be constantly monitored and too fast an increase in the pulse rate will require immediate cooling down of the bath - hence a misapplication It should also be noted that after the bath a gentle cooling takes place and a long period of rest is observed.

Fango to regenerate the skin. (Image: Pixelshop / fotolia)

To intensify the effect of heat, so-called "peloids" are often used in heat therapy, i. Substances of terrestrial and / or plant origin such as e.g. Moor, healing earth, clay, mud or fango are used, which keep the heat longer and can adapt to the body optimally. For example, at "Fango" hot mud from volcanic minerals applied to the affected body regions. It stores the heat for a particularly long time, causing sweat production and improved blood circulation, and the body begins to absorb the minerals contained in the mud. Fango applications are used, for example, On the other hand, it is also very popular among many users for relaxing and improving their well-being.

Also suitable as "heat storage" are hot granules, potato wraps or a so-called "hay flower sack", in addition there are a number of other ways to add heat to the body, e.g. in the form of hot air, through saunas, heating pads, infrared lamps or radiant heaters. In addition, there are some special variants of heat therapy, such as high-frequency and ultrasound therapy, both of which work with targeted warming of body tissue. Since ultraviolet light and ultrasound waves can penetrate into deeper body regions, they are also of great importance for internal medicine. In general, they act - like any other form of heat therapy - to strengthen the immune system and promote the metabolism.

What happens in a heat therapy in the body?

If the body is given a long-lasting heat, the vessels expand and the circulation is increased. As a result, the muscles relax and the activity of the sweat glands is stimulated. The tissue becomes more elastic and the body can recover and regenerate. By supplying heat and the associated increase in body temperature, the pulse is increased and thus the metabolism is stimulated: oxygen and nutrients can thus be transported better and purification processes can be accelerated - therefore integral warming of the body, e.g. by sauna or sweat cures a popular method to strengthen the immune system or to support weight loss. Thus, the changing hot-cold stimuli during sauna or in a so-called "sweat lodge" can definitely have a prophylactic effect by the body hardening and circulation, muscles and autonomic nervous system are trained. Although sweating acts on the one hand to support the elutriation of metabolic waste products, on the other hand, these forms of heat supply also very much require the circulation and are therefore not recommended for all groups of people.

The anesthesiologist and fascial researcher at the University of Ulm, Dr. med. Werner Klingler, recently reported on the effect of heat on fascia in a Fascia Research Course at the University of Ulm. In his lecture "Temperature effects on fascia", it was about the fact that heat leads to relaxation in many tight fasciae with myofascial dysfunctions. For example, it has been shown that heat has a positive effect on low back pain (LBP).

When should not heat therapy not be used?

There are a number of diseases in which heat applications are strongly discouraged: These include all acute inflammatory diseases, fever, infections, bleeding, shortness of breath, acute injuries of all kinds and serious circulatory disorders, because the supply of heat may have symptom-enhancing and thus harmful effects to have. Also, patients with acute joint inflammation and general vein problems should avoid heat therapy and sauna treatments.

There are also heat contraindications in treatments based on the fascia history model. For example, distortions of the fascial tissue, so-called trigger bands that have formed adhesions, can be re-bonded by heat. Because the heat provides an increased activity in the treated tissue and may possibly promote the tissue cells (fibroblasts), which cause a bond. After releasing a trigger band with adhesions, cold is more likely.

Under certain circumstances, heat application can also be problematic for diabetics, since in some cases the sensation of heat is limited and therefore there is the risk of too high a dosage of warming stimuli, which in turn can cause reddening of the skin or even burns. In addition, patients with cardiac pacemakers or metal implants are advised against treatment with heat, and pregnant women should consult their doctor or alternative practitioner about any possible risks before initiating warmth therapy. (Sb)

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