Comparison of thermal and hemodynamic responses in skin and muscles to heating with electric and magnetic field
Introduction: It has been shown that sufficient amount of energy provided by electromagnetic diathermy induces the increase of skin temperature and underlying tissues. However, scarce information is available on the differences in responses initiated by various techniques of diathermy. The goal of the present study was to compare thermal and hemodynamic responses of the skin and underlying muscles of the forearm to diathermy applied with electric (EF) or magnetic field (MF).
Methods: Eleven healthy volunteers participated in the study. On two separate occasions, they randomly received 20-minut diathermy with EF or with MF. Skin and tympanic temperature, and heart rate were measured. Further, kinetics of muscle oxyhemoglobin and deoxyhemoglobin kinetics were obtained. Thermal perception and thermal comfort were noted through the application of EF and MF.
Results: The skin temperature increased similarly during the administration of EF and MF, by ~ 8.0 ± 1.3°C on both occasions. The thermal perception was more intense during the application of EF. Accordingly, the thermal comfort during the application of EF was perceived as less comfortable as compared with MF. During MF the increase in minute muscle blood flow and oxygen consumption was for ~ 42 % higher compared to the heating with EF.
Conclusion: Although the increase in skin temperature was similar between EF and MF, the application of diathermy with MF was perceived more comfortable by the participants. Furthermore, the increase in minute muscle blood flow and oxygen consumption was higher in MF compared with EF. Thus, when muscle is the target tissue for physical therapy, a diathermy with magnetic field is the technique of choice.
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