Skip to main content
Intellect

Got pain? Get rust for relief, says BYU professor

If you're in pain, you might have cause to be thankful for ordinary rust, according to recent research conducted by a Brigham Young University physical education professor.

David Draper's study compared pain-relieving heat-producing wraps, such as ThermaCare made by Procter and Gamble, which utilizes the rusting process to produce heat raising the muscle temperature three to four degrees for as long as eight hours.

The secret of products like ThermaCare is a series of small discs housed in a paper wrapping placed in a plastic container. The discs contain iron, salt and charcoal that rust when exposed to oxygen, producing heat that can penetrate the muscle up to an inch.

Draper compared five heat-producing products for their effectiveness in relieving muscle pain. By inserting a needle with a sensor attached several inches deep in a subject's muscle, he was able to measure temperature increase and depth in the muscle.

Products using plant derivatives raise muscle temperature only a half-degree, and menthol-based products actually dropped muscle temperature overall, thrusting the rust process to the top of the pain-relief heap.

Heat alleviates pain by reducing pressure on nerve endings and by bringing blood to the area, which washes away pain-causing chemicals and brings nutrients to facilitate quick healing.

"Heat is an effective source of pain relief for all kinds of muscle aches, from acute trauma to general fatigue," says Draper.

While some professional and collegiate sports teams already use heat-producing wraps to relieve pain, it has not yet been widely adopted in the consumer world.

"Heat wraps are convenient, effective and portable enough that I think we'll see much wider usage of them in the future," says Draper.

Draper, of the College of Health and Human Performance, has studied heat modalities for more than 14 years. He has discussed his latest research on "Good Things Utah" and "Good Morning Utah" on KTVX-TV, and will also be interviewed by KSL-TV.

The recipient of many grants, both private and governmental, Draper plans to continue his research on heat modalities.

Writer: Craig Kartchner

Related Articles

data-content-type="article"

Forum: It is a dangerous business, going into the laboratory

May 24, 2022
Dr. Paul B. Savage, the recipient of the 2021 Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award and professor of chemistry and biochemistry, delivered the forum to campus on Tuesday. He discussed some of the adventures and experiences he has had as a professor and researcher, and the concept that Heavenly Father has a great academic adventure planned for all of us.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"

Going cashless to prevent COVID-19 was useless, new BYU microbiology study finds

May 12, 2022
A new study published in PLOS ONE from BYU scientists finds that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is almost immediately nonviable if deposited on a cash banknote. The virus actually shows greater stability on plastic money cards, with the live virus still being detected 48 hours after initial deposition, but no viable virus was detected on either cash or card that was randomly sampled in the study.


overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"

BYU student’s research solves an icy dwarf planet mystery

May 09, 2022
The dwarf planet Haumea has befuddled modern scientists for years. New BYU research details the planet's creation and solves one of astronomy's puzzles.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText=