Pams- Whirlpoos

A whirlpool is a very versatile physical agent modality.   The use of a whirlpool can include cold therapy, heat therapy, contrast baths, and wound care.     The use of a whirlpool can increase circulation, reduce stress, calm agitation, decrease inflammation, and treat a larger area for the client.
A whirlpool   is a tank filled with water that is set to a specific temperature, either cold or hot.   This temperature is determined by the specific effect, and desired use of the therapy.   The tank is also fitted with a pump or jet that creates currents in the water. The movement of the water is used as a massaging agent, and helps to keep the desired temperature on the clients’ skin. The tank can also be fitted with a sling chair so that the client can be immersed as completely as the prescription allows.   The size of most tanks will allow for other types of seating depending on the requirements of the client.     Patients can use a whirlpool modality either as a precursor to treatment or post-treatment.
When using a whirlpool for cold therapy, the patient is able to receive cold treatment to a larger area of the body, than they would be able to using an ice pack.   When using a cold whirlpool the client can experience vasoconstriction, superficial anesthesia, decreased local metabolism, and decreased connective tissue elasticity (Prentice, 1999).   The therapeutic effects include a decrease or prevention of   swelling, decreased pain, decreased inflammation, and decreased secondary tissue damage (Prentice, 1999).   The use of a cold whirlpool is more of a post-treatment option.   Most practitioners would use cold whirlpool as a preventative measure after a stressful treatment.   When researching whirlpool use, it was hard to find an example of cold whirlpool use as applied to occupational therapy.   In most cases, cold whirlpool treatments would be used in an acute, or sub-acute setting.
For clients with cold intolerance or vascular repairs the use of cold therapy is...