In my review of the stats for visits to my web page, I noticed that there were some repeated searches with respect to shortened muscles and heat. The benefits are overwhelming in respect to the application of heat to muscles but are not to be applied in all circumstances.
The benefits of heat to shortened muscles are:
1)that it helps to bring in new blood (including oxygen) to the muscles. This is good as the oxygen passively removes CO2 (metabolic waste) from the muscle tissue, reducing the pain that comes as a result of metabolic waste being stored in muscle for too long.
2) Often during trauma, the muscles can be soaked in a fibrous material (almost like cement in a crack in the sidewalk) to secure an area, reducing movement during the time that the muscle tissue is repaired. This fixation will remain after the muscle tissue repair and may pathologically reduce the amount that the muscle tissue can move. Applying heat to the muscle during a gentle stretch will turn the fibrous material back to a liquid, reducing the muscle tissue fixation and allowing an effective stretch of the muscle back to it’s normal length.
3) Heat is a very valuable way to reduce the Nervous System Firing. This is very effective as it will reduce the amount that the Central Nervous System is keeping the muscle in spasm. Again, application of a gentle moist heat to an area can produce a more effective stretch as it reduces the “protective spasm” that can affect a stretch.
Some important side notes are some Contraindications to application of heat, and include:
1) Application of heat to an acute contusion/bruise/fracture or other form of inflammation as heat can make the inflammation worse (ie: pouring gas on a flame that you want to put out)
2) Application of heat to an acute muscle spasm
There are other Contraindications with varying degrees of importance but generally those are the big ones. There are many different situations and conditions to consider.
If you have any questions about what you are experiencing right now, you can always email me with any questions.