Warm water has been used in alternative therapies over time because it was proven to work for all kinds of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as back pain, tendinitis, fibromyalgia, and arthritis. Such conditions have varying causes which include age, occupation, activity level, lifestyle, and family history. It has been a usual and common practice for those with MSD to take over-the-counter pain relievers when in pain due to these conditions, however, the simplest and easiest alternative to relieve stiffness and pain is within your reach and it can be found at home which is warm water. Warm water stimulates blood flow to stiff muscles and frozen joints. However, to maximize its benefits, it is not enough that you just simply soak yourself in it. There are some tricks that would help you get through arthritis and the havoc that it sets upon you. In a 2010 study from Istanbul University in Turkey published in Rheumatology International wherein 30 men and women with osteoarthritis of the knee were able to take longer, faster strides after soaking in warm water for 20 minutes a day for two weeks. It may not be fast enough as compared to pain relievers but, if done regularly, it would totally alleviate stiffness due to arthritis, thus relieving the pain. Here are some tips that you can try with assurance of safety to alleviate pain and stiffness due to arthritis with the help of warm water:
1.Just the right temperature
Start with knowing and setting the right temperature for your hot water. Water temperature between 92 to 100 degrees is a healthy range. However, extreme heat may not be beneficial if you have a cardiovascular problems as it can cause stress on the heart. A founder of a beauty product line, Ellen Sackoff said that the use lukewarm to warm water (not overly hot) is also good for the skin, however, beyond that will prematurely dry it out. Generally, doing heat therapy will untighten your joints or muscles and normalize the circulation of blood in your veins, thus making it fit in fighting arthritis and other chronic pain, however, you have to put your overall wellness into consideration and take your other organs into account by using the right heat temperature. How? You actually have the ability to determine your own tolerance level to heat, like everybody else.
2.Add some salt
Magnesium can provide many health benefits such as increasing energy levels, calming the nerves, treating spasms, and most importantly, relieving muscle aches and aiding bone formation. According to the data collected by the National Academy of Sciences, it shows that most Americans don’t get enough magnesium, without realizing that supply of magnesium is readily available and inexpensive because it can only be bought in grocery and drug stores. This salt is the magnesium sulfate crystals or also known as Epsom salt. According to researchers at the University of Birmingham, using Epsom salt can boost magnesium levels as much as 35 percent. However, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) warns these salts should only be for occasional use. Directions for use:
- Put two cups of Epsom salt in your standard sized bath tub with a lukewarm to warm water temperature. If you have a smaller or a larger bath tub, you may want to adjust the amount.
- Soak in the mixture for 40 minutes to give your body time to detoxify.
- You can add essential oils such as lavender or tea tree oil to aid the detoxification process.
- First time users can start at twice a week usage, and increase in frequency as your body adjusts.
- After bath, you may want to use a body brush or loofah to rinse off the salt.
3.Massage and Exercise in warm water
Maximize the benefits of warm water by moving as you bathe in it. Warm water stimulates blood flow to stiff muscles and frozen joints, making a warm tub or pool an ideal place to do some gentle stretching. One of the exercises you can do if you have back arthritis includes trapping a tennis ball between the small of your back and the bottom or back of the tub, then lean into it and roll it against knotted muscles. The flexibility lasts even after you get out according to Ann Vincent, MD, medical director of the Mayo Clinic’s Fibromyalgia Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Patients, according to her, report that soaking in a warm bath and stretching seems to help.
4.Wash the dishes with warm water
You will not just do your housemates and family members a favor by making the dishes and other kitchen utensils extra clean but it is also good for your hand with arthritis. Since warm water is good for the joints and normalizes blood circulation, it will not only provide heat therapy to your hands but it will also serve as an exercise. Doing it regularly will surely improve the flexibility of your hand’s joints which will enable them to move freely and smoothly as you want them to, just like a newly oiled door hinge.