We all know the benefits of moist heat, but what is the best solution for delivering moist heat.
Traditionally your choices have been electric, microwaveable, or a steam pack stored in a hot pack tank known as an hydrocollator unit. Each method has its benefits and shortcomings as well. The electric is nice for the occasional use at home, but if you should happen to fall asleep or you don’t get the thin sponge wet enough, you could discover upon the completion of your treatment a nasty burn where the heating pad was. The microwaveable steam pack offers a nice home alternative, but you need a microwave to stimulate the beads to produce the moist heat. Although most homes have a microwave, not all do. Also they do not provide a consistent or reliable heat source since they immediately start to cool as soon as you take them out of the microwave. For clinical use the hydrocollator unit has been the staple in the industry. Walk into any physical therapy clinic or a chiropractic office and you will likely find an hydrocollator in use. This has been consistent in the industry for many years now, with little to no change in the heating unit or the packs that go into them.
There is change in the air! Richmar® has just released a newer version of the hydrocollator heating unit they call the Hydra-Therm™. The Hydra-Therm™ boast a no steal no rust tank with digital low water sensor, composite dividers, isolated heating element, and a pump drain for easy circulation and tank cleaning. The steam packs that go into the tank are also revolutionary. They are flexible and bacteria resistant and hold a consistent heat for up to 50 minutes. They work with you existing steam pack covers, and the best part is that they are double sealed, so no more messy tanks due to steam pack leakage. Time will tell if therapist and doctors are ready for this new way of delivering moist heat, but it does offer an alternative.