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What are the types of heat therapy?

There are three types of heat therapy: local, regional, and whole-body treatments. Heat is applied from sterile probes to a small area in local therapy. A limb or organ is heated during regional therapy. Warm blankets, hot wax, or thermal chambers are applied in whole-body therapy.

The most common form of heat is usually a moist heat pack. Other forms of heat therapy include warm whirlpool baths, wraps (which are like patches that give off heat when bonded with the skin), paraffin (warm wax) baths, and therapeutic ultrasound (for deep heating). However, therapeutic ultrasound should only be performed by a certified healthcare provider.

(This answer provided for NATA by the Washington State University Athletic Training Education Program.)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.