Stepping outside this Canada day long weekend in Orillia was like walking into the sun; it was an intense heat wave that warmed you right down to your bones, and to be honest, it was hard to handle. Such a deep and intense heat can be uncomfortable and even dangerous.
That being said, targeted heat can have a multitude of benefits on your body and can amplify the effects of massage treatment. One of the areas in which I specialize is that of Thermal Palms® treatment. This is a technique that was developed by Canadian Massage Therapist Huguette Long, who graduated from the Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy in 1987, just ten years before I graduated from the same institution. Thermal Palms® are warm, hand-held pouches filled with grains that help to deliver heat deep into targeted areas of the body.
Most people are familiar with hot stone therapy, which serves a very similar purpose to that of Thermal Palms®. However, there are a number of benefits to using warm, malleable pouches over using hot, hard stones. Firstly, the Palms mould and contour to the natural shape of your body. This can decrease discomfort that is often felt when using hot stones, especially when those stones are placed on sensitive and bony areas like the spine or shoulder blades. The Palms are moved around and used to massage the skin, rather than just placed in one area like the stones. Their malleable and soft nature allows them to provide a deep and effective massage, and the heat that they provide is less intense than those of hot stones, which is beneficial for those with more sensitive skin. Furthermore, Thermal Palms® maintain a more prolonged and consistent heat than hot stones, meaning contact is seldom broken between the Palms and the patient. Thus, the massage can go on relatively uninterrupted, and a deeper relaxation of the body and mind can be achieved.
So what health benefits do these tiny, hot bags of oatmeal really have on your body? The heat, combined with proper massage technique, helps to relieve chronic muscle tension in problem areas such as the legs, hip, back, neck, and arms. This massage technique helps those who are suffering from stress, anxiety, insomnia, fibromyalgia, and the physical manifestations of these ailments, as well as others. The heat from the palms is massaged deep into the tissue, muscles, joints and tendons of the body, and makes these areas more responsive to the massage treatment. Heat increases blood flow, and lymphatic drainage; this allows the areas to heal more quickly and drain out unwanted toxins and waste that might inhibit healing or increase muscle tenderness the next day.
As a Registered Massage Therapist, I place the utmost importance on providing the best care that I possibly can for my patients and addressing their needs in the most effective ways. My training in Thermal Palms® massage techniques has allowed me to do just that. If you are suffering from chronic pain, Thermal Palms® could provide the relief you’ve been looking for; it’s all that and a bag of oatmeal!