Many people choose heating pads over painkillers. And why not? Unlike painkillers, they don’t have any side effects. The only catch here is to pick a perfect one to suit your needs. Then that heating pad will take care of you — literally!
Why should you use an electric heating pad?
A heating pad essentially provides heat therapy to reduce pain. Applying heat to the pain-affected area increases the blood flow and makes connective tissue more flexible. Hence reducing the pain and providing relief. You must have seen your mother use a hot compress on herself or a family member. The good-old hot compress works fine but it has certain drawbacks:
- You may injure yourself while pouring hot water into it
- It may get too hot initially and doesn’t stay warm long enough to match your needs; and
- When you are sick, you really don’t have the energy to boil, pour and compress
Because of the above reasons, we suggest you pick an electric heating pad. It is easy to use. Plug-in, set the heat level to your liking and use it on the affected area.
What features to look for in a heating pad?
If you Google heating pad, you will see tons of products with good reviews. Please note – what’s best for someone may not serve your needs. We suggest you pay attention to the following points to make an informed decision before investing your hard-earned money in a product that you will use for years.
- Dry or Moist
- Auto shut-off
- Temperature Control
- Cord Length
Heating pads come in many shapes. Decide the shape depending upon the target area. Which part of the body do you intend to use it? For back, legs, abdomen, and spine – a flat one would be perfect. For neck, shoulders, upper back, and knees – you would need a contoured shape for that specific body part.
On the one hand, a small heating pad fails to cover the body part. On the other hand, a bigger one is cumbersome and difficult to handle. Find the right size according to your height and requirements. Standard, small, medium, large and king size heating pads are available on the market.
Dry or Moist?
Moist heat therapy is definitely a better alternative for the elderly and people with dry skin. They provide deeper penetration. Hence are more effective for muscle relief. Remember – never add or sprinkle water on moist heating pads for safety reasons. Dry heating pads, on the other hand, draw out the moisture from the skin making it dehydrated.
Depending upon your skin type and location (some places are humid, some are extremely dry) make your decision. We suggest you buy a heating pad that has both dry and moist options.
We recommend the auto shut-off option for safety reasons. Generally, there is a 2-hour auto-shut option. Some brands have a half-an-hour auto shut-off feature. You can always turn this feature off in case you have to use your heating pad for more creative purposes like fermenting Kombucha.
It’s one of the basic features. Some brands offer low, medium and high heat settings. Some provide a range – going up from 1 to 8. Choose according to your needs. Also, check for fast heating. This is crucial because when you are in pain, you won’t have the patience to wait for the heating pad to warm up.
A good heating pad is an investment. Once you buy it, you will use it for years. Look for a longer warranty period. The industry standard is 1 year.
Cord length gives you the flexibility to use it anywhere – in the house or outside. The longer cord is better, of course! Pay attention to it while placing your order. You don’t want to be forced to be stuck in one corner of the room to use it.
Almost all heating pads come in machine-washable fabric. Normally the material used is soft flannel to give a warm and cozy feel. You can also buy a replacement cover when it wears off. While buying in a store, touch and put it on your body to get the actual feel of it. If you are buying online, read customer reviews.
Dos and don’ts to follow while using a heating pad
- Make sure the heating pad and part of the body where you intend to use it are dry
- Don’t apply oil, balm, and ointment on the pain-affected area
- Never sprinkle water, not even on the moist heating pad
- Never lie on it because your body weight can break the wiring inside the pad
- If you opt for a high heating level, don’t use it on bare skin
Whether you are buying a heating pad for pain relief or to help you relax at the end of a tiring day, always pick a quality product over cheap basement bargains. Spend some time before swiping your credit card.
Our staff member, Bev, who has been selling heating pads for over 11 years recommends the Thermophore Max Heating Pad. She says it’s the best in the category. RMTs prescribe it and our customers love it!