Thermotherapeutics™ [Thermotherapeutician™]

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Heat therapy, also called Thermotherapy, is the application of specific forms and frequencies of heat to the body for pain relief, detoxification, and health. It can take the form of a hot cloth fomentationis, hot water, ultrasound, heating pads, hydrocollator packs, whirlpool baths, long-wave infrared saunas, and many others. It can be beneficial to those with arthritis and stiff muscles and injuries to the deep tissues of the body. Heat may be an effective self-care treatment for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.

Heat therapy is most commonly used for rehabilitation purposes. The therapeutic effects of heat include increasing the extensibility of collagen tissues; decreasing joint stiffness; reducing pain; relieving muscle spasms; reducing inflammation, edema, and aids in the post acute phase of healing; and increasing blood flow. The increased blood flow to the affected area provides proteins, nutrients, and oxygen for better healing.

'Infrared' (IR) light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength between 0.7 and 300 micrometres, which equates to a frequency range between approximately 1 and 430 THz. IR wavelengths are longer than that of visible light, but shorter than that of terahertz radiation microwaves. Bright sunlight provides an irradiance of just over 1 kilowatt per square meter at sea level. Of this energy, 527 watts is infrared radiation, 445 watts is visible light, and 32 watts is ultraviolet radiation.

Infrared radiation is popularly known as "heat" or sometimes known as "heat radiation", since many people attribute all radiant heating to infrared light and/or all infrared radiation to heating. This is a widespread misconception, since light and electromagnetic waves of any frequency will heat surfaces that absorb them. Infrared light from the Sun (solar heat) only accounts for 49% of the heating of the Earth, with the rest being caused by visible light that is absorbed then re-radiated at longer wavelengths, aka terrestrial heat. Solar heat and terrestrial forms of heat (hot springs) have very different qualities, therapeutically, although similar properties. Both are forms of radiant energy, as our Course will explain. Visible light or ultraviolet-emitting lasers can char paper and incandescently hot objects like light bulbs emit visible radiation. It is true that objects at room temperature will emit radiation mostly concentrated in the 8 to 25 micrometer band, but this is not distinct from the emission of visible light by incandescent objects and ultraviolet by even hotter objects (e.g. black body and Wien's displacement law).

Heat is energy in transient form that flows due to temperature difference. Unlike heat transmitted by thermal conduction or thermal convection, radiation can propagate through a vacuum.

The concept of emissivity is important in understanding the infrared emissions of objects. This is a property of a surface which describes how its thermal emissions deviate from the ideal of a black body. To further explain, two objects at the same physical temperature will not 'appear' the same temperature in an infrared image if they have differing emissivities.

Moxibustion (Chinese: 灸; pinyin: jiǔ) is a traditional Chinese medicine therapy using moxa, or mugwort herb. It plays an important role in the traditional medical systems of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Tibet, and Mongolia. Suppliers usually age the mugwort and grind it up to a fluff; practitioners burn the fluff or process it further into a stick that resembles a (non-smokable) cigar. They can use it indirectly, with acupuncture needles, or sometimes burn it on a patient's skin. It is a unique and rich therapy having both thermal and chemical effects.
The Chinese character for moxibustion forms one half of the two making up the Chinese word that often gets translated as "acupuncture" zhēnjiǔ (針灸).

Heat has been used for therapeutic purposes for thousands of years. Many ancient civilizations worshipped figures of the sun, such as the Egyptians, who worshipped the sun god Ra. The Finnish sauna goes back thousands of years.

This course requires an enrolment key