Three articles on PainSci cite Borrell 1980: 1. Heat for Pain and Rehab 2. Icing, Heating & Tissue Temperature 3. Does Massage Increase Circulation?
PainSci notes on Borrell 1980:
This was a trial of three kinds of superficial heating: immersion in hot wax, hot water, or a “dry whirlpool,” a novel method of dry heating called Fluidotherapy. Dry heat is more easily tolerated, so the hope was that it would be more effective, and it was: dry heat on the hands and feet raised tissue temperature at a half centimetre depth to 9˚ and 5˚ respectively, somewhat more than hot wax or water.
“Temperature rises of capsules in the hand and foot were consistently higher than temperature rises in muscle at the same depth and that the temperature rises in the foot were higher than those in the hand. The former is probably due to blood flow variations between muscle and capsule; the latter because foot skin temperatures are normally two or three degrees lower than hand temperatures.”
The authors make the case these methods are superior to the “penetrating” heat of microwaves or ultrasound because they can be easily applied to larger surface areas. And so “the data show that surface heating modalities are much more effective in producing elevated temperatures than is ultrasound therapy or diathermy at depths of up to 1.2 cm.”
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
The effectiveness of a new heat modality, Fluidotherapy, was compared with other superficial heat modalities by in vivo temperature measurements. The joint capsule and muscle temperatures in the hands and feet were measured in subjects treated with hydrotherapy, paraffin wax, and Fluidotherapy. Fluidotherapy is a dry heat modality consisting of finely divided solids suspended in an air stream. The dry heat modality, applied at 118 degrees F (47.78 degrees C), resulted in maximum joint capsule and muscle temperature rises of 16.2 degrees F (9 degrees C) and 9.5 degrees F (5.27 degrees C), respectively, compared to 13.5 degrees F (7.5 degrees C) and 8.1 degrees F (4.5 degrees C) for paraffin wax treatment and 10.8 degrees F (6.0 degrees C) and 7.7 degrees F (4.3 degrees C) for a 102 degrees F (38.89 degrees C) water bath, at a depth of about 0.5 cm beneath the skin. At depths down to 1.2 cm, superficial heat modalities are more effective than diathermy and much more effective than ultrasound in elevating temperature.
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- Photobiomodulation therapy is not better than placebo in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain: a randomised placebo-controlled trial. Guimarães 2021 Pain.
- No effect of creatine monohydrate supplementation on inflammatory and cartilage degradation biomarkers in individuals with knee osteoarthritis. Cornish 2018 Nutr Res.
- The CANBACK trial: a randomised, controlled clinical trial of oral cannabidiol for people presenting to the emergency department with acute low back pain. Bebee 2021 Med J Aust.
- Relationships Between Sleep Quality and Pain-Related Factors for People with Chronic Low Back Pain: Tests of Reciprocal and Time of Day Effects. Gerhart 2017 Ann Behav Med.
- Modulation in the elastic properties of gastrocnemius muscle heads in individuals with plantar fasciitis and its relationship with pain. Zhou 2020 Sci Rep.