Heat as a Therapeutic Agent (Thermotherapy) and Unani Medicine

Mohammad Saad Ahmad Khan, B D Khan, MM H Siddiqui


Unani Medicine is one of the most widely used alternative systems of Medicine worldwide. Thermotherapy has long been recognized as an effective therapeutic intervention in this system of Medicine and a vast literature is available regarding it in the classical literature of Unani Medicine. It has been used on patients for essentially all complaints and conditions since recorded time. Heated sand, rocks, water, animal hides, and plant fibres have all been described in the ancient medical literature as valid treatments for various ailments. Such treatments were described as early as some of the Egyptian papyrus writings. The therapeutic effects of heat include increasing the extensibility of collagen tissues; decreasing joint stiffness; reducing pain; relieving muscle spasms; reducing inflammation, oedema, and aids in the post-acute phase of healing and increasing blood flow. The increased blood flow to the affected area provides proteins, nutrients, and oxygen for better healing. Palliative use of heat therapy has gradually become a staple of medical care throughout the years and now Hyperthermia (HT) is used as an adjuvant to radiation and chemotherapy in the treatment of recurrent chest wall breast cancer, melanoma, and oesophageal cancer.


Heat therapy, Thermotherapy, Unani medicine

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