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Heat therapy

Heat therapy works as effective painkiller, researchers discover

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: heat therapy, health news, Natural News


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(NewsTarget) Heat has long been used as a way to reduce pain, but new research from University College London shows that heat actually deactivates pain on a molecular level.

The research was conducted to discover what makes heat an effective painkiller for internal pain such as colic and menstrual cramps. Researchers used DNA technology to monitor heat and pain receptors in cells, and observed that heat molecules can block the pain molecules, resulting in pain relief.

"The heat doesn't just provide comfort and have a placebo effect," says Dr. Brian King, the study's lead researcher. "It actually deactivates the pain at a molecular level in much the same way as pharmaceutical painkillers work."

Dr. Liz Bell of the Physiological Society says it was previously believed that heat simply offered pain sufferers some general comfort, or affected blood circulation to relieve pain. "But this research gives an insight into how heat actually works," Bell says. "It will be important in developing a better generation of effective pain-killing drugs."

Dr. King says his study's findings could lead to the development of safer pain medication in the future, but for now, he says people can choose heat over drugs for relief of short-term pain.

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