Use of Whirlpool Bath in Physiotherapuy

Water Applications combined with mechanical stimulation

~Usage of Water for Therapuetic Purpose

~Use of whirlpool bath has become increasingly valuable means of  physiotherapurtic treatment.

*Priciples of Application:-

~The prniciple of whirlpool therapy is to combine the effect of  tempreture with the mechanical effects of water.

~warm whirlpool contains water at tempreture ranges between the 36-45 degree celecius  and a jet of water or air stream allowed to produce turbulence in water.

~this turbulence is produced by a electrical motor incorporated in the apparatus.

~depending upon the apparatus, whirlpool bath can be used for the treatment of the limbs or whole body.

*How is a Whirlpool Used in Physical Therapy?

~The whirlpool is a large tub that is filled with water. The body part that is to be treated is then placed in the tub of water, and a small motor agitates the water. While in the water, you can move your body part to help improve the motion around the injured area.

~Most whirlpools that you will encounter in a physical therapy clinic are small, and only your arm or leg will be able to be placed in it. There are some whirlpools that are larger, and your entire body can be placed inside.

~The temperature of the water in the whirlpool can be warm or cold, depending on the desired goal. Warm whirlpools can increase circulation, as the heat helps to open up small arteries in the body. Increased circulation can bring fresh blood, oxygen, and cells to the injured area, which can promote healing.

~The typical temperature of a warm whirlpool is 98-110 degrees Fahrenheit. Care should be taken to avoid burns. Be sure to talk with your physical therapist about your specific comfort level.

~Cold whirlpools cause the arteries in the body to close, which can help to decrease circulation to the body part being treated. This is used to help manage inflammation and swelling in the injured body part. The temperature of a cold whirlpool is usually between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

A contrast bath treatment involves using both warm whirlpool and cold whirlpool on the same body part during treatment. Your injured body part is repeatedly moved from the warm to cold water. You typically spend about one to three minutes in each bath, and a typical treatment lasts for 15 to 20 minutes. The theory of contrast bath use is to create a rapid opening and closing of the arteries around the body part being treated. This creates a pumping effect in the body part, which helps to decrease swelling around the injured site.

~A typical whirlpool treatment lasts for 10 to 15 minutes. Your physical therapist may have you perform certain exercises while your body part is in the whirlpool to help improve the range of motion in the part being treated.

*Common Conditions That May be Treated with Whirlpool Therapy:-

Common injuries and conditions that may be treated with whirlpool therapy include:

*Types of Whirlpool bath:-

~Low boy tank

~high boy tank

~hubbard tank

~extrimity tank

*Low boy tank:-

~the low boy tank can be used to used to allowed an adult to sit in the tank and can range in capacity from 75 to 105 galloons.

*High boy tank:-

~sometimes reffered to as a hip or leg tank, can allow  immersion of both lower extremities.

~capacity can range from 60 to 105 gallons.

*Hubbard tank:-

~the hubbard tank has a greater potential for exercise during treatment due to its size and can accomodate  a full body treatment

~capacity can range anywhere range from  200 gallons ,more than 400 gallons.

~figure 8 pattern

~the pattern can allow  easy acess to the patient .note that the larger tanks also have more than one turbine for agitation.

~butterfyly shape

~underwater exercises

~8 feet long, 6 feet wide,4 feet deep

~425 gallons of water


~chances of contamination

~expensive secondary to amount of water , time to clean

*extrimity tank:-

~the extrimity tank is usully used for the upper or lower extremities and has a capacity of 10 to 45 gallons of water.

Diffrent Tempreture

*Tecnique of application:-

~the whirlpool tank is filled with water.

~the water tempreture is checked by hand and thermometer.

~adjust the patient position accordance to the treated body part and considering both comfort and security.

~explain the procedure and reassure the patient.

~place the body part in water.

~encourage the patioent to move while  keeping the body part underwater during the treatment in case of  joint  involvement .

~after the completion of treatment, dry the body part and wrap it keeping it warm.

*Therapurtic effects:-

~the whirlpool bath combines the values of conductive  heat and gentle ,massage.

~a sedative action.

~a relief of pain by stimuli  which act through the pain gait mechanism.

~a relaxation of muscle spasms.


~producing vasodilatation

~improving local arterial and lympahtic cicrculation.

~softening of scar tissue.

~breaking down old adhesions  after fractures of sprains.

~cleaning and stimulation of wounds.

~mechanically removing dirt,dead tissue and puss.

~causing regression of the inflammatory process.

~demenution of edema and effusion.

~the part to bevtreated is immersed into the water and jet of stream is allowed to produce turbulence in the hot water.

~treatment is usually given for 15-20 minutes.

Position of the patient

~whirlpool bath is used in rheumatic disorders,post traumatic stiffness and joint pain.

~it is effectively used in sports medicine for  relaxation after practice or competition.

Whirlpool bath


~Burns if no agitation is used.

~open wounds for debridement purposes.

~post operative orthopedics condition where the water will add a bouyancy element to eliminate the weight of extremity for movement.

~as a resistance force for exercises.

*Beware of:-

~any adverse condition that may appear

~skin pallor



~rapid,weak pulse



~decrease in ROM




~poor circulation

~chronic edema

~separate dead tissue

~pain relief in amputation

~after removal of plaste cast(fractures)

~stiff joints

~infected wounds-with added antiseptic agent

~arthritis with stiff and swollen joints

~polimyelitis and paraplegia to improve circulation

~traumatic and chronic inflammatory conditions

~weak and painful feet

~as preparation to massage,passive stretching and exercises


~fevarish patient

~recent skin grafts

~circulatory impairment

~open wounds


~skin allergy

~active bleeding

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About vastralphysiotherapyclinic

Physiotherapist , Samarpan Physiotherapy Clinic, Vastral, Nirant Cross Road, Ahmedabad Home Visit Treatment Also Available in Bapunagar Vastral Rabari Colony Char Rasta, CTM, Maninagar , Viratnagar , Nikol And NearBy Area Of Ahmedabad.

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