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Dry Heat VS Moist Heat – Which is Better?

Heat therapy can be very beneficial if used correctly.

Ideal for a variety of problems ranging from chronic lower back pain to stiff muscles, heating therapy products are often preferred over more invasive types of treatment.

They are also used to supplement other types of pain treatments. However, if used incorrectly, the pain could actually worsen.

You’ve probably aware of many of the products out there, including heating pads, wraps, heating towels, electric heating pads , heat/ice ointments, etc. but which ones really work? Do any of them really offer pain relief?

There are two types of heat therapies: dry and moist. There is a difference between the two, and you need to understand that differences between the two.

Before analyzing the two, however, you should first be absolutely certain that you need heating therapy rather than cold therapy.

When NOT to Use Heat Therapy

  • On open wounds
  • On any type of swelling
  • If you have a medical condition such as diabetes
  • On bruising
  • On a freshly pulled muscle
  • Any part of the skin that is red and inflamed

See more here: Bremed Electrical Heat Pack Safety Precautions & Contraindications

Dry Heat Therapy

Dry heat sources draw moisture out of the skin.

The upside is that many people find it very easy and convenient to use. The downside is that it could potentially dehydrate skin. Many dry heat treatment products are electric.

There are also dry heat saunas. If you have a dry skin problem, it might be best to stick with moist heat, as you wouldn’t want to risk dehydrating your skin.

If you do find that you like the way dry heat feels on your skin, make sure you keep it at a moderate temperature. If it seems to dry your skin out, limit the frequency of use or switch to moist heat.

Using an electrical Heat Pack

Many people use electrical heat packs for dry heat therapy - in fact we have been using and prescribing it as a hand therapist since 2011/2012.

If you are going to use one, do not exceed medium temperature, as you will risk burning yourself (even if you like it hotter, I recommend you place an additional layer of towel for extra safety).

Never use a dry electrical heating pack on direct skin or for more than thirty minutes or so at a time.

Moist Heat Therapy

Moist heat is less likely to cause skin dehydration.

It comes in many forms, including steam towels, hot baths, moist heating packs, etc. It helps to increase tissue elasticity, making it ideal for patients with dry and/or aging skin.

Most experts recommend moist over dry heat.

Not only is there less of a concern for skin irritation, it is also able to penetrate more deeply into the skin.

Using a Moist Hot Pack

These hot packs are typically wrapped in several layers of towels in order to prevent burning. They can be applied onto the problem area for up to twenty minutes.

Any redness they may cause should go away within six hours.

Reusable electrical heat packs are the most ideal in my opinion, and will save you money in the long run.

It is not recommended to use a microwave to reheat a heating pad or wrap. It’s best to use hot water. Electrical heat packs are powered by electricity and hence the heat will be consistent and ongoing (need not be reheated).

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Phoenix Rehab Physio Services

Phoenix Rehab Group works with specialist physiotherapists and rehab therapists who are highly trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of expert care to our patients.


Patients who sustained injuries to their elbows, forearms, hands, wrists (sprains and fractures) and fingers, usually will benefit / require Hand Therapy to

  1. manage and decrease hand pains
  2. improve range of motion, strength and dexterity
  3. increase the function of their hand following injuries or post-operations

Commonly treated hand pain injuries includes


Clinical Pilates is a form of physical exercise that focuses on posture, core stability, balance, control, strength, flexibility and breathing.

It is a system of safe and effective exercises, which meet specific individual needs, to treat a wide range of injuries and conditions.

You may do Pilates as matwork or with the reformer or both, and every session will be customized 100% to your fitness, injury and tolerance.


  • Cupping TCM
  • Auricular Therapy TCM
  • Herbal TCM Medicine & Supplementation


Sports and deep tissue release massage helps to increase nutrient-rich blood flow to tired, tight and tense muscles to accelerate recovery and  shorten downtime / recovery period required.

It also prevents muscles from scar tissue micro-tears (and potential ruptures), and increases muscle performance. Having regular deep tissue and sports massage will keep your muscles healthy and fit with body/movement-confidence.

Read the benefits of regular deep tissue release therapy here.


All our allied health therapists and TCM physicians are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCMB).

See our entire team here with introductions and their specializations.

At the first session, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to help you recover as well as provide treatment in the same session.

Follow up sessions are inline to provide expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term solution.

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We appreciate you as our valued clients and want you to know that the # 1 way we grow as a clinic / brand is through word of mouth referrals from valued patients like yourself.

We prefer not to rely on advertising - instead, we prefer and appreciate the goodwill and positive reinforcement from patients. When you have the chance, please tell your family, friends and physicians about the positive results and experience you have had in our physio clinics.

book an appointment today
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