Every time 47-year-old Poonam Goyal has a body ache, she invariably reaches out for her heating pad. It’s so soothing that she has dozed off with the heating pad strung across her back umpteen number of times. Like Poonam, most people are unaware that nodding off with an electric heating pad attached to your body can lead to irreversible consequences.

There’s no doubt that heat is a great way to relieve pain and soreness in any body part. Applying heat to a sore body part soothes the strained nerves and muscles and provides instant comfort and relief. This is because heat relaxes the fatigued muscles, improves blood circulation to the area, and enhances overall flexibility. 

A heating pad is the most popular method of applying heat therapy to overexerted body parts. Heating pads may be electric, microwavable or chemical.

While electric heating pads require DC voltage to work and therefore require to be plugged into an electric source while in use, chemical heating pads use a chemical formulation to provide heat instantly. They are easy to carry and great for those always on the move; however, on the flipside, they are able to provide heat only for a short duration.

A microwavable heating pad uses an anti-flammable fabric that is filled with some grain, gels, or other material capable of retaining heat. All you need to do before using it, is heat it in a microwave, and it’s ready for use.

While chemical and microwavable heating pads are preferred by those always on the move because of their portability, electric heating pads are favoured for the more sustained and lasting heat they provide.

Safety concerns

Electric heating pads are made of an anti-inflammable material that wraps around a metal coil, which is heated with the help of electric current to provide heat.

Though extremely popular, a major concern with electric heating pads are the safety risks associated with them. Many heating pads available in the market are of substandard quality and have poorly designed safety components. It’s therefore important to know about some of the hazards associated with electric heating pads.

1. Burns: Skin burns are common when it comes to electric heating pads. The comfort acquired through a heating pad is so great that many are tempted to sleep through the night with the pad on. However, this practice presents a major peril. There is a chance that the heating coil could overheat, and result in a thermal burn to the skin. Prolonged use of an electric heating pad can lead to inflammation of the skin tissues. This is especially true for a diabetic patient who may not even feel the temperature owing to damaged nerves unless it’s too late. While supreme quality heating pads do have an auto-off function, such as the SandPuppy Fitbelt, the inferior ones lack the built-in overheating protection.

2. Fire: Electric heating pads require meticulous maintenance, especially if you’ve been using them for some time now. You have to routinely check the heating pad for sparking and the wear and tear of wires, holes in the cloth that cover the metal coils inside, or a poorly functioning switch off button. If any of these problems exist, it could lead to a fire, right there on the bed, while you are sleeping.

3. Electromagnetic field: A serious concern with electric heating pads is the electromagnetic field (EMFs) or the radiation they generate. Electromagnetic fields are generated by most home appliances; however, the radiation emitted by an inferior electric heating pad is higher because it requires high voltage current to quickly heat up the pad. EMFs penetrate deep into your tissue and have been linked to leukaemia, lymphomas, cancers of the nervous system, and lowered immunity.

Therefore, a good quality electric heating pad must be safety-certified, and have a temperature control system in place, as well as an auto shut-off feature.

Why pick rechargeable heating pads?

Rechargeable or wireless heating pads, on the other hand, are a great option if you’re looking for a product that is extremely safe, as well as convenient.

Not only do they use low voltage current, but also, most rechargeable pads are equipped with the auto function feature which ensures that the heater is turned off after it reaches a particular temperature, say 60 degrees Celsius.

While earlier, chemical and microwavable heating pads were the only portable options, cordless heating pads are the rage now because of their portability, in addition to being lightweight and offering targeted, calming heat.

A great option in this regard is the SandPuppy Fitbelt, a portable back pain relief device that is steadily gaining popularity, especially among busy professionals or overworked homemakers who want to relax their muscles on the go. It works on a rechargeable battery, where a single recharge lasts 90 minutes and takes as much time to charge. For optimum safety, the product should not be used while charging. 

Why is it popular?

1. Its wireless heating ensures you don’t have to worry about frayed wires, overheating or exposure to electromagnetic waves.

2. With the SandPuppy Fitbelt, you can obtain three levels of heat by pressing a single switch. The heating pad can attain a maximum temperature of 68 degrees Celsius on full charge. It has a sleek and lightweight design, and it’s easy to fold and carry around. The belt can be adjusted to different levels for your body and can be wrapped around the lower back, upper back, and shoulde

3. SandPuppy Fitbet Plus is an advanced version that comes with a free mobile app and allows you to change the heat and vibration levels on the belt. An interesting feature of the belt is that it uses heating fabric and not metal filaments to produce heat. This provides a much broader heating surface area and unlike conventional heaters, it emits infrared heat that not only warms the top layer of the body but can also penetrate up to 5cm deep into the body making it far superior to other heating solutions. A major benefit of choosing an infrared product is that it can enter deep into your muscles without applying too much heat to your skin.

Rechargeable heating pads are a great option if you have a hectic lifestyle. All you need to do for a personalised soothing experience is wrap, switch on, adjust, and move.