September 17

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Infrared Heating Pad pros and cons

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By William Chutney

Published: September 17, 2022


An infrared heating pad is one of the best ways to easily manage muscular pain at home. These heating pads offer a completely different experience and effect compared to regular heating pads – resulting in far deeper and more efficient heat penetration. Ultimately, this provides a more significant healing effect across the body.

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to choosing an infrared heating pad. These pads come in many different shapes and sizes, with various unique features. There are many different alternatives to infrared heating pads for treating muscular pain.

We’ll uncover everything you need to know about infrared heating pads and their alternatives in this guide.

What Is An Infrared Heating Pad?

An infrared heating pad, also known as a far infrared heating pad, is a type of device used to transfer infrared heat directly into the body. These pads supply deeply penetrating heat into the muscles, which can be an effective solution for muscle recovery and pain management.

Infrared heat pads use electricity and convert this into infrared light. The infrared light produces heat, which is transferred into the body. This is the same type of heat that is provided by sunlight.

Infrared heating pads can take various forms. They are commonly found in the form of a small portable heating pad that can be applied to specific areas of the body. However, you can also get full-length infrared heating mats for lying down on. These mats and pads generally have a bumpy or grooved surface. They are also usually quite rigid compared to other types of heating pads.

An infrared heating pad needs to have an electrical plug. These pads also have adjustable heat control settings.

Infrared Heating Pad Vs A Regular Heating Pad

If you’re searching for a heating pad, then there are two options available, an infrared heating pad and a regular electric heating pad. While each type of heating pad may look very similar at face value, they are each completely unique.

As the name suggests, infrared heating pads radiate infrared heat. Infrared heat does not heat the air. Instead, it directly penetrates and heats objects. Infrared heat waves travel to an object and release the same amount of heat energy into that object – regardless of how cold the air temperature is. This means that no heat disperses, which is a much more efficient heating process.

Regular heating pads do not heat objects directly. Instead, they transfer heat into the surrounding air, and then into the body. Much of this heat is lost between the air and the body, creating a more inefficient heating process.

Infrared heating pads penetrate heat far more deeply into the body. Heat penetration from infrared heat usually reaches about 2.36 inches below the skin, which means the heat can deeply warm up the muscle. Regular heating pads typically just warm up the skin area, so they don’t reach the actual source of pain in the body.

An infrared heating pad usually runs at a lower, but more consistent temperature than a regular heating pad. A regular heating pad might offer more intense heat, but this heat doesn’t penetrate deep enough to be very efficient. Infrared heat, on the other hand, is lower but it directly targets the source.

In terms of pain relief, using an infrared heating pad is far more effective than using a regular heating pad. Because the heat penetrates deeper into the muscle tissue infrared heat is longer-lasting and provides relief from more intense pain. Once the heat from a regular radiant heating pad has dispersed, the pain will probably return soon after.

Why Use An Infrared Heating Pad?

Infrared heating pads are used to help the body with muscular pain management and muscle recovery. The pads use deeply penetrating infrared heat to warm up muscles and increase blood flow. The increase in blood flow helps to bring more oxygen and more proteins to the muscular area, which speeds up healing. Infrared heat therapy is also an effective way to soothe muscular stiffness.

This process is referred to as Far Infrared Radiation (FIR) treatment. FIR treatment is commonly used to help with the following conditions:

  • Neck, low back, shoulder, knee, and hip pain
  • Muscular sprains and strains
  • Tendonitis and tendinosis
  • Sciatica
  • Herniated disc pain
  • RSD
  • Neuropathy
  • Bursitis
  • Plantar fasciitis

Infrared mat for low back pain

According to a study by Rothbart Pain Management Clinic published in 2006, IR therapy unit used was demonstrated to be effective in reducing chronic low back pain.

More reasons to use an infrared mat

\\Many people enjoy speeding up the muscle recovery process after a workout by using infrared heating pads too.

There are very few potential side effects of using infrared heating pads, and causing damage to your body with these heating pads is very rare. Because FIR treatment has been proven as a safe and effective way to treat many muscular conditions, it has been registered as an approved treatment technique by the FDA.

One of the best things about infrared heating pads is that they are very convenient for home use. These pads are easily portable, and simple to use. If you want to manage pain and muscular conditions yourself, then applying FIR treatment is a safe and accessible way to do this. Infrared heating pads are commonly used alongside other treatment methods and medications for muscular conditions.

Infrared Heating Pad Pros And Cons

If you are considering purchasing an infrared heating pad, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons. While there are downsides to infrared pads for heat management, the advantages typically far outweigh the downsides.

Pros

Cons

Infrared heating pads penetrate heat deeper into the bodyThese heating pads usually take longer to warm up to the set temperature
Infrared heating pads can help increase blood flow to the heated areaInfrared heating pads are usually more expensive than regular heating pads
Infrared heating pads provide longer lasting pain managementInfrared heating pads are often not as flexible as regular heating pads. Many infrared pads are designed for lying down on, while regular heating pads can be easily molded to fit the shape of your body.
Infrared heating pads come with heat control settingsSome infrared heating pads can emit high EMF levels, which is not ideal for your body.
Infrared heat can be applied up to three times per day 
You can get a full body heat pad or a smaller heat pad to target a specific area 
Infrared heat pads are easily portable and very convenient to store 

Infrared Heating Pad Vs Massage Pistol

Another portable device commonly used for muscular pain management is a massage pistol. A massage pistol, or a massage gun, is a type of handheld device that is used to target and massage your muscles.

You hold the end of the device against the affected muscle area, and the massage pistol sends deep vibration and oscillation into the muscular area. This is used to massage and relax the muscular area.

Massage pistols are an effective way to target muscles and improve blood flow to the affected muscle area. This can help with muscle recovery after a workout, or to recover injured muscles. Massage pistols are also effective at helping reduce muscular pain. One of the main advantages of using these devices is that you can be very specific about which muscles you target.

Both infrared heating pads and massage pistols increase blood circulation around the affected muscular area to offer pain management benefits. However, each device does this in a very different way.

The main difference between infrared heating pads and massage pistols is that massage pistols use a process called percussive therapy, while the heating pads use a process called infrared heat therapy. While the two techniques can achieve positive results for the body, both are very different.

Let’s break down some of the key differences between each of these devices.

Infrared Heating PadMassage Pistol
Targets muscles with deeply penetrating infrared heatTargets muscles with vibration and deep percussive pressure
Warms a general area of the bodyYou can be more specific about which muscles you target
Takes a few minutes before the pad fully heats up and penetrates the muscleProvides instant vibration to the affected muscle
A more gentle way to target affected musclesA more active way to target affected muscles
Incredibly easy to use with no major side effects. Very easy to control and manage the heat supply.If used incorrectly, a massage pistol could bruise or damage muscle tissue. These devices are also more difficult to control.

Overall, using an infrared heating pad for muscle recovery and pain relief is a far easier and safer option. FIR treatment still provides deep heat penetration and muscular pain relief. However, there are very few possible side effects or issues to be concerned about when using heat therapy.

Precautions Before Using Infrared Heating Pads

The great thing about infrared heating pads is that they are so easily accessible and convenient to use. Anyone can purchase one of these heating pads and use them for pain relief. However, if you do suffer from serious chronic pain or muscular issues, it’s important to consult with a doctor first before opting for FIR treatment.

FIR heating pads are safe and effective ways of controlling muscular pain at home. You don’t have to worry about the risk of burns, or risks that are associated with many medications. However, infrared heating pads are usually just designed for pain management, and not for healing the cause of the issue.

If you suffer from a serious muscular issue, it’s important to explore all of the options available to treat your injury. Heat therapy is one of many ways to achieve this.

What To Consider When Buying An Infrared Heating Pad

There are many different options available when it comes to infrared heating pads. Understanding the different features and possibilities of each product is important if you want to manage pain and heal your body more effectively.

Here are some of the key features to keep in mind when purchasing an infrared heating pad.

Shape And Size

Infrared heating pads come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. These pads range from small pads that are used to target very specific parts of the body, to large full-body mats that you can lie down and stretch out on. You can even get infrared sauna blankets that cover the body entirely.

The shape and size of the heating pad you choose should depend on your condition and what you aim to achieve with the heating pad. Very small pads are more convenient to store and travel with. However, if you do require heating a larger area, such as your back, then these pads are not very efficient.

Full-sized heating pads are often too big for many users’ needs, who only want to target specific areas (like their knees). In most cases, a mid-sized heating pad is perfect, as they offer the best of both worlds.

Crystals

Some infrared heating pads include certain stones and crystals, like amethyst, tourmaline, and jade. These crystals are claimed to offer further restorative effects on the body. Many people are not concerned about crystals, but if you do believe in crystal healing properties then this is an important feature to consider.

Portability

Consider how easy the infrared healing pad is to pack up and carry around. Some pads come with bags and handles, specifically designed for traveling. If you plan to travel with your heating pad, then it’s best to choose one that is compact.

Infrared heating pads can vary in terms of how thick they are and how easy they are to pack away.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to manage muscular pain, then using an infrared heating pad is an efficient solution. These heating pads deeply penetrate the skin, provide lasting pain relief to muscles, and they’re safe and easy to use. You could use infrared heating pads for the entire body, or just for targeted muscular areas.

Investing in one of these pads is well worth it for anyone that struggles with muscle pain. The benefits of infrared heating pads are immense, and the experience is far superior to that of a regular heating pad.

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