When you think of hand warmer patches, images of skiers tucking them into gloves or athletes braving icy conditions may come to mind. While these handy little heat pads are incredibly popular for combating cold weather, they actually offer an array of unexpected benefits that make them useful all year round.

For many people dealing with chronic pain conditions, portable hand warmers can provide much-needed relief. Conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, and even carpal tunnel syndrome often cause stiffness, aching, and lack of mobility in the hands, fingers, and wrists. Applying a hand warmer patch can increase blood flow to these areas, relaxing tense muscles and easing inflammation. The soothing warmth helps improve range of motion too.

Some individuals with Raynaud’s disease – which causes the blood vessels to overreact to cold temperatures – find that hand warmer pads can ward off painful attacks and numb, tingling sensations in the fingers and toes. The steady, gentle heat helps improve circulation. Using hand warmers can make daily tasks far more comfortable for Raynaud’s sufferers.

Even if you don’t deal with a chronic condition, the heat from these ingenious little pads has therapeutic benefits. Place them on tight neck and shoulder muscles for a soothing massage effect. Apply to lower back areas to relieve tension and stiffness. The penetrating warmth can even be useful for menstrual cramps by increasing blood flow.

Athletes often pop hand warmer patches into shoes, boots, or pockets during training or competition. This boosts endurance by keeping the body’s core temperature regulated. Some even use them for pre-workout warm-ups to prepare muscles before activity.

Beyond physical benefits, there’s something psychologically comforting about having a toasty hand warmer close by too. The soothing heat can reduce stress and promote an overall feeling of well-being, whether you’re outside battling the elements or just feeling a bit chilly at home or work.

So while hand warmer patches certainly have their place during wintertime fun, don’t put them away once spring arrives. Stock up on these multitasking little packs and you’ll find a myriad of clever uses for their warming abilities year-round. From easing aches and pains to boosting athletic performance, they’re an affordable, portable source of comfortable heat that no household should be without.