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CPT Medical

Moist Heat Methods


Heat therapy is beneficial for a number of different therapies. It can be used at home to treat minor discomfort or it can be used post-operatively as a way to increase blood flow to a certain area to aid in healing. The most effective moist heat methods are those that can maintain an appropriate temperature on their own without burning the patient while still providing enough heat for effectiveness. Ultimately you want the temperature to be warm enough to be absorbed deep down into the muscular level and moisture can help with this process.

The Difference

Moist heat and dry heat are both used for heat therapy. Dry heat is usually administered by way of an electric heating pad, sauna, etc. This therapy is designed to draw moisture out of the body and some people find it more comfortable and helpful. Moist heat on the other hand, is applies through a moist heating pack, hot bath or hot water bottle. Moist heat tends to provide more relief on a deeper level and is a bit easier to provide consistent temperatures.

Moist Heat Methods

Moist heat can be included in custom trays and can be applied a number of ways. These methods include:

  • Hot water bottle (Filled with a certain temperature of water and then applied to the body).
  • Heated gel packs (microwaved or heated in water; will remain warm for up to thirty minutes at a time).
  • Moist heat wraps (Can be used right up against the skin and can be concealed by clothing. Several hours of relief can be found with this method).

A medical professional can always advise the best ways to utilize moist heat methods no matter what the need may be. The duration that the heat should be applied as well as the frequency varies with each injury and is based off the magnitude of the issue. Usually, fifteen to twenty minutes is the amount of time that moist heat methods are applied; every two to three hours. Custom trays in medical facilities can include moist heat packs for post operative use to keep patients comfortable and promote healing faster. There are instances when cold therapy is recommended as well. Sometimes medical professionals like to alternate these treatments. For outpatient therapy, many patients have a preference when it comes to heat therapy and sometimes it takes trial and error to find out what will work the best for long term relief.