The Power of Heat
What is Deep Heat Therapy?
There are several different methods of providing heat therapy, but none of them is as effective as deep tissue heat with diathermy. Diathermy is the most efficient way to provide heat therapy to deep tissue and large muscle areas. Unlike hot packs, heating pads, and paraffin wax, which primarily increase superficial temperature, diathermy works to emanate heat at the site of the injured muscle. This deep, extensive heat is the best option for treating large areas of deep tissue after injury. It also is extremely effective for people who want to improve the range of motion of their joints or muscles.
The goal for therapeutic heating is to raise the temperature in the targeted deep tissue by 1°C to 4°C (1.8°F to 7.2°F) above baseline, to safely optimize its benefits to the body. In the past, diathermy has been used mostly by physical therapists and other medical professionals to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and increase the flexibility of joints and muscles. Applying deep heat before stretching can help loosen and elongate tissues and reduce the risk of injury.
Deep Heat Therapy
- Provides longer-lasting relief and deeper, more effective treatment than other methods of applying heat, such as heating pads or patches.
- Uses high-frequency electrical currents
- Provides therapeutic heat up to 4 cm below the skin’s surface
- Stimulates circulation
- Decreases pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms
Who Can It Help?
Long-term care providers can use diathermy with their patients to treat arthritis, flexion contractures, osteoarthritis or pain with movement. With more effective pain management, providers can work with patients to sustain or increase flexibility, mobility, and strength.
For athletes, diathermy can help accelerate the recovery process, relieve pain associated with soft-tissue injuries and chronic conditions, and improve muscle function. It does not have to be worn during exercise.
For physical therapists, diathermy’s deep heat provides a way to quickly increase tissue extensibility, which makes joint mobilization more effective. Diathermy is also effective in treating pain from muscle spasms and nerve entrapment.
Athletic trainers can use diathermy to provide heat treatments to multiple people at one time in a busy setting. Diathermy keeps tissue temperatures elevated three times longer than other heat modalities.
Patients can use diathermy to relax muscle spasms and relieve pain caused by chronic conditions or injury. A small, easy-to-use diathermy wearable device is currently under development by ReGear, with plans to sell it directly to consumers.