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Hot water bottle: relaxes muscles to decrease pain

The hot water bottle is as simple as it is effective to relieve pain by taking advantage of the relaxing action of heat on the muscles. But have you ever wondered how it really works and what is its correct use to be truly effective?

Water bottle - what it is

The bottle or boule is the classic grandmother’s remedy. It is a plastic bag closed by a screw cap that can be filled with boiling water.

What is the use

The pain-relieving action of heat has been renowned since ancient times. Taking a good hot bath is still a good habit to dedicate yourself to self-care and treat yourself to moments of well-being.

In case of painful states, heat can represent a natural remedy at no cost to relieve discomfort.

The bag exploits the vasodilatory action caused by the heat that generates a flow of blood to the application area. This causes a reduction in muscle contractions and reduces pain. More specifically, the heat (it must be at least 40 °) seems to deactivate or block the pain messages sent to the brain for a certain period.

hot water bottle

How long to keep the hot water bottle

As for the traditional bag, this tends to slowly release the heat which dissipates completely over an hour or so .

Power exchanges, on the other hand, can last much longer. However, it is better to avoid using it for too long.

Benefits of Hot water bottle

Although it cannot be considered a substitute for the analgesic and analgesic action exerted by drugs, this natural remedy can bring interesting benefits to relieve painful states.


The analgesic action of heat is linked to the ability to release the muscles (myo-relaxing action).

In particular, this remedy is ideal especially in the case of pains related to contractures, cramps, menstrual pains, pains and cramps in the stomach and abdomen or colic . It is therefore recommended to soothe the classic  stomach and back pains and to combat joint pain. 

Alternative hot water bottle

In addition to the typical bag to be filled with hot water, electric and ready-to-use alternatives are now also available.

Electric hot water bottle

The power bag is a practical and convenient alternative to use this tool quickly when needed. Compared to traditional bags, they have the advantage of lasting longer, preserving heat for longer.

What it contains

This bag contains a special liquid that is able to heat up by charging at the home electrical outlet and to maintain heat for several hours.

Therefore, there is no need to worry about specifically heating the water to be poured inside.

Hot water bottle for the cycle

This simple remedy can come in handy before or during your menstrual cycle.

Place the heated boule on the abdomen to stimulate the menstrual cycle. It is also a valid strategy to counteract and relieve cramps and pains associated with the menstrual period, thanks to the analgesic effectiveness of the heat.

Hot water bottle for cystitis

Heat can also prove to be a valid ally to counteract the painful symptoms associated with an annoying ailment such as cystitis .

By wrapping the bag in a towel, it can be applied directly to the skin to relieve pain in the pelvic and lumbar area.

Bottle for cervical

The compress with the heat of the bag can represent a valid remedy even in case of inflamed cervical. In this case, a special bag for the neck can be used, to be placed on the dorsal muscle, the trapezius and the cervical, to release muscle tension.

Bottle for diarrhea

If diarrhea is accompanied by stomach ache, go ahead with the use of the bag to relieve cramps and pains.

Hot water bag for gastritis

Heat can also help promote the digestive process and limit gastritis -related ailments .

Hot water bottle for sciatica

In case of sciatica it is advisable to seek advice from a specialist. In these cases, the application of heat on the pain and inflammation of the sciatic nerve is not necessarily indicated and, on the contrary, could cause further worsening.

Hot water bag for children

In children it is advisable to carefully evaluate the use of this natural remedy. In case of colic in newborns, for example, it is a completely contraindicated strategy, since they are usually of gaseous origin and the heat risks worsening the situation.

In general, moreover, the use of heat in young children can be considered not recommended because it tends to spread over the whole body, not remaining localized only in the affected area.


Before using this remedy, it is good to be careful not to burn yourself due to direct contact between the epidermal surface and the heated bag.

To avoid this risk it will be sufficient to wrap the bag inside a cloth, or use the special wool or cotton bag covers, often sold together with the boule.

Here you will find some models:

In general, the use of heat for the treatment of painful states should be avoided when they are caused by traumatic events. In this case, ice could act more effectively, using the ice pack as a tool to limit or stop the development of the hematoma, accompanied by arnica ointments and devil’s claw to limit the pain.

Also read: How to get rid of cold naturally: A practical 2022 guide

Hot water bottle and pregnancy

During the period of pregnancy, the use of the bag with hot water does not present particular contraindications.

Where to buy it

The classic bags can be easily bought in the most well-stocked supermarkets.

Pharmacy hot water bottle

Both traditional and electric bags can also be purchased in pharmacies.

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