Diathermy: A physical therapy technique


It is a treatment option in which physical therapist  deep heat different parts of the body without using any heat source but some electrical sources such as sound and electricity

Another name for diathermy is deep heat because it provides heat below the skin in deeper sheets.

Why diathermy?

For the treatment of some diseases, diathermy is one of the most effective means. Treating the body with diathermy can increase heat production in the specific focused areas which lead to increased blood circulation. It extends the flexibility of connective tissue. It helps ameliorate chronic inflammation and also reduces the risk of edema and fluid retention.


Diathermy is divided into three main categories depending on the type of energy used

Short waves

It uses high-frequency electromagnetic energy to generate warmth. It is used for parts of the body that are covered by heavy layers of soft tissue such as your hips. Its beneficial physiological effects include

  • Fall in blood pressure
  • Increased metabolism
  • Increase blood supply
  • Reduce inflammation

it is used to treat

  • Degenerative joints
  • Sprain and strains
  • Hematoma
  • Muscle and tendon injuries
  • Capsule inflammation 

Microwave diathermy

As the name suggests it uses microwaves for treatment. It lies between short waves and infrared rays. It has a higher frequency but less penetration range as compared to a short wave. It has the same physiological benefits as short waves but are areas closer to skin

The adequate timing for treatment is 20 minutes.

Ultrasound diathermy

It is also termed therapeutic ultrasound. It uses sound waves to generate heat in the body. It can reduce inflammation and also be used to deliver drugs to the targeted tissue.


  • Metal implants
  • Pacemakers
  • Ischemic tissue
  • Cancerous mass
  • Around eyes and on sex organs
  • On wound or cuts
  • Pregnancy
  • Fever
  • Tumors


Some of the potential dangers of diathermy are not conducted appropriately are

  • Burns
  • Electric shock
  • Overdose

make sure your all electrical jewelry is removed and you wear a gown provided by doctors to you. Consult your therapist

Diathermy undoubtedly is one of the most effective treatments for various medical conditions related to the skeletal system. After this treatment, you feel more flexibility in the target organ and you can carry on your physical activities with peace. Make sure that you receive proper and safe diathermy from your physical therapist. If you feel any side effects immediately report them to your therapist so that you receive the best medical care. 

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