Before we get into the benefits of using heat packs, let’s first understand what heat is.

The heat of an object is determined by how active the molecules and atoms inside it are. The more excited these molecules are, the more heat will be generated. When applied to the body, heat causes vasodilation in blood vessels. Vasodilation means that the vessels dilate and get bigger and therefore improves fluidity. This allows good things like hormones and oxygen flow around the body quicker and bad things like toxins and carbon dioxide drain away quicker.

The benefits of using Heat Packs -

The benefits of Heat Packs

Heat has been used for many years as a modality to relieve pain and enhance the recovery process.

By putting heat on the most outside layer of a mammal the increased blood flow stimulates an:

    • Increase in cellular metabolism – this means that the body brings in oxygen and nutrients faster and thus helps restore muscles to their normal state of health.
    • Increase in muscle spindle activity.
    • Increase in muscle contractibility.
    • Increases in extensibility of collagen. 
    • Increase in nerve conduction velocity.

Because of these tremendous benefits, I have found that heat is an effective modality that should never be excluded except in conditions that are acute! (See below.)

Conditions that are relieved by application of Heat Packs:

    • muscle spasm 
    • tightness or stiffness 
    • swelling

The benefits of using Heat Packs -
The benefits of using Heat Packs -

When use of a Heat Pack is NOT advised

Do not use heat in very acute conditions, for example within the first 3 days of injury.

For acute conditions I advise cold water for ultimate relief. The inflammatory stage lasts for 7 days from the beginning of injury. It is my opinion that one should rather encourage vaso-constriction which is a reduction of blood flow to an area that is acutely hurt in the first 3 days of injury.

In the next four days it is my opinion that one should then alternate between heat and cold. 2- 5 minutes at a time, alternating the modalities.  

 If you are using heat or cold packs on your horse, it is my advice that you consult with either a vet or a physiotherapist to advise you on the best course of treatment to follow for quick pain relief and recovery.

At all times keep your hand under any form of hotpack so that you can ensure that it isn’t burning your horse. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your horse.

DO NOT ever use Ice directly against your horses skin. Ice can burn as bad as heat does.

 

The benefits of using Heat Packs -

Grab My Stretching Do's & Don't's Downloadable PDF

Proper stretching practices correct a horse’s balance and reduces tension across it’s muscles and joints.This guide will teach you how to properly prepare yourself and your horse for implementing an effective and safe habit of daily stretching. Apply what you learn and enjoy a lifetime of joy and performance with your active, healthy & happy horse.

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