Hydrocollator Packs and Moist Heat Therapy in Physical Therapy

Categories: Medicine


Dr. Mennat Allah Mohammed Abdellatif

Lecturer of Physical Therapy at Basic Science Department Moist Heating

Moist heat:

In moist heat therapy equipment such as hot baths or moist heating packs can aid in the heat’s penetration into the muscles.


  1. Provides deeper heat penetration into the muscular tissue than dry heat
  2. May offer greater relief of symptoms
  3. Increases circulation to increased blood flow to painful tissue to promote healing


  1. Takes longer to heat up
  2. Heat doesn’t last as long

Dry Heating

Dry heat typically comes from sources like electric heating pads


  1. They typically last longer than a moist heating pad
  2. May be easier to apply or easier to use
  3. Less of a mess
  4. Heat up quickly


  1. Cause dry skin
  2. Doesn’t heat as deep


Commercially available hot packs are usually made of bentonite, a hydrophilic silicate gel, covered with canvas.

Bentonite is used for this application because it can hold a large quantity of water for efficient delivery of heat.

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Heavy duty nylon thread keeps them durable while 100% pure cotton keeps them soft and comfortable. clay, cotton canvas.

Hydrocollator Packs (cont.)

These types of hot packs are made in various sizes and shapes designed to fit different areas of the body. They are stored in hot water kept at approximately 75–80°C inside a purpose-designed, thermostatically controlled cabinet that always stays on. This type of hot pack initially takes 2 hours to heat and 30 minutes to reheat between uses.

Physiological Effects of Hydrocollator Packs

  1. Thermal effects:
  2. Circulatory effect:
  3. Metabolic effects:

N.B: When applying the hot packs over two or three areas in the same session, this may cause a temporary increase in sweating, dehydration, and a decrease in blood pressure. So, we can advise the patient to drink water during the session.

Sedative effects

Indication of Hydrocollator packs

  1. Pain and muscle spasm
  2. Chronic Inflammation
  3. Edema
  4. Adhesions

N.B: Hot packs can be used in conjunction with other physical means such as mobilization techniques to decrease joint stiffness and stretch adhesions.

Contraindications of Hydrocollator packs

  1. Impaired skin sensation.
  2. Some dermatological conditions such as eczema, and severe acne.
  3. Circulatory dysfunction: Patients with deep veins thrombosis.
  4. Analgesic drugs
  5. Infectious and open wounds.
  6. Cancer or tuberculosis.
  7. Gross edema.
  8. Recent Deep X-ray therapy.


  • Easy to use/Ease of preparation and application
  • Relatively inexpensive to purchase and replace (packs and towels) (assuming a tank is already owned)
  • Brief use of PT's time
  • Moist, comfortable heat
  • Low level of skill needed for application
  • Can be used to cover moderate to large areas
  • Variety of shapes and sizes available
  • Safe because packs start to cool on removal from the water cabinet


  • Hot pack must be moved to allow observation of the treatment area during treatment
  • Patient may not tolerate the weight of the hot pack
  • Pack may not be able to maintain good contact with small or contoured areas(Does not readily conform to all body parts-Sometimes awkward to secure in place on a patient)
  • Active motion is not practical during treatment/A passive intervention; patient exercise cannot be performed simultaneously
  • No method of temperature control once applied to patient
  • May leak and then must be discarded (hydrophilic or gel packs)

b. Hot Silica Gel pack


  1. Convenient to carry
  2. Easy to use
  3. Safe

2. Electric Dry Hot packs

An electric heating pad is one of the most used things in today's time. It is used in some parts of the body to provide pain relief, such as shoulders, legs, neck and back. Electric heating pads require electricity to work; hence it is kept on the switchboard for some time.


  1. It heats up very quickly.
  2. It can last longer time for heating
  3. portable, it is quite easy to carry


  1. Fire hazard (increase the risk of fire).
  2. burn your skin because dry heat draws moisture from the skin
  3. It is not safe due to cords and outlets

3. Rubber hot water pack


  1. Convenient to carry
  2. Easy to use


  1. It is easy to aging
  2. There are security risks
Updated: Aug 04, 2023
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Hydrocollator Packs and Moist Heat Therapy in Physical Therapy. (2023, Aug 04). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/hydrocollator-packs-and-moist-heat-therapy-in-physical-therapy-essay

Hydrocollator Packs and Moist Heat Therapy in Physical Therapy essay
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