HOT WATER BOTTLES: A NATURAL REMEDY
The humble hot water bottle is a natural remedy that has been used for generations to help relieve and sometimes cure aches and pains.
Caution: Never use a hot water bottle on swollen or inflamed areas. If you are unsure about using your hot water bottle to help relieve symptoms listed below, please seek medical advice first.
Hot water bottles are a great aid to relaxation and can help you beat stress. Why not try lying on your back with a hot water bottle under your neck as this will help to relax any aching and tense shoulder and neck muscles cause by stress.
Sleep can have an incredible impact on how you feel, so it is important to get a good nights sleep. Sleep researchers at the Sleep Laboratory in Basel found that a hot water bottle at the feet switches the body's sleep mechanism on. If your hands and feet are cold you are more likely to suffer from restlessness and insomnia. (1)
Earaches can have many causes but you can help ease the pain by holding a hot water bottle to your ear. (2)
Toothache can be relieved by applying a hot water bottle or "cold" water bottle to the cheek (See advice on Cold Therapy below). Place it on the cheek for about 15 minutes. Alternating between a hot water bottle and a "cold" water bottle may help, but be careful not to use extremes of tempuratures. (3)
Lower Back Pain
Applying a hot water bottle to the area of pain for a maxiimum of 15 minutes every hour can help to relieve pain. Hot and cold therapy can also help to relieve pain. (4)
Cramp is the "painful involuntary contraction of a muscle or muscles, typically caused by fatigue or strain". The muscles at the site of the cramp become tight and painful therefore a hot water bottle can help to relax the muscle and ease the pain.
Hot water bottles provide good heat therapy for muscular soreness and pain in conjunction with a cold therapy treatment.
Hot water bottles can be used for cold therapy. Fill your hot water bottle to 1/3 and place in the freezer to create a cold compress. Never freeze the bottle completely.
A hot water bottle can help to ease painful and swollen joints caused by arthrtis. When using a hot water bottle it is important that you use moist heat, so use a hot water bottle wrapped in a damp towel before placing it on the site of the pain (5). A hot water bottle can also be used as part of hot and cold therapy to reduce pain caused by arthritis however, before comencing this therapy seek medical advice to find out if there are any reasons why you should not use either hot -- or cold -- applications, such as: you should not apply heat to an inflamed joint. (6)
Holding a hot water bottle on you tummy for an 20 - 30 minutes after eating has been shown to increase hydrochloric acid production which in turn helps digestion (7). This is particularly good after a heavy meal or one that is rich.
Constipation can be caused for any number of reasons, regardless of age. Regular exercise and a balanced diet is important, however whilst this maybe the case, every one can suffer from constipation once in a while. A hot water bottle placed on the tummy area for 20 -30 minutes each evening can help sooth the area and relieve constipation. (8)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Whilst symptoms of IBS can vary, abdominal pain is the most common symptom of the condition. The pain which can feel like a like a dull stabbing or twisting sensation low down in the abdomen can be alleviated by placing a hot water bottle on the site of the pain. The heat will help to relax any muscle cramps. If you suffer from IBS it is important to take time for relaxation as reducing stress levels and improving your life style with help ease symptoms of IBS. You can do this by putting your feet up with a hot drink and a hot water bottle! (9)
(5) Dr Christopher's Herbal Legacy, www.herballegacy.com
(7) Care2, www.care2.com
(8) Cure By Nature, www.natural-help.co.uk
(9) Nutritionist Resource, http://www.nutritionist-resource.org.uk
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