Physical Agent Modalities

Wen Shiang Chen, Thiru M. Annaswamy, Weibin Yang, Tyng Guey Wang, Dong Rak Kwon, Li Wei Chou

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


The use of physical agent modalities dates back to the early days in the development of the field of physical and rehabilitation medicine. The term physiatrist is derived from the Greek words physis, pertaining to physical phenomena, and iatreia, referring to healer or physician. Thus a physiatrist is a physician who uses physical agents to relieve a patient's discomfort. Modalities are physical agents used to produce desired therapeutic effect. They include cold, heat, sound, electromagnetic waves, electricity, and mechanical forces. In this chapter, their physiologic effects, indications, techniques, and precautions are reviewed and discussed. Acupuncture and moxibustion, which use needling and heat to produce therapeutic effect, are also included. Physical agent modalities, although generally considered adjunctive rather than curative treatments, are widely used and important in the daily practices of most physiatrists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBraddom's Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
ISBN (Electronic)9780323625395
ISBN (Print)9780323625401
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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