Heat is a time honored measure in the treatment of peripheral circulatory disturbances of the extremities. It is one of the best known means of relieving pain and limiting the spread of gangrene and ulceration. Diathermy, as it is now known, was recommended in the treatment of articular and circulatory disturbances by Nagelschmidt in 1897, after he demonstrated that high frequency currents produced heat when passed through the tissues.1 It has been shown that it is possible to produce deeper heat with this agent than by any other means.2 Heat applied externally cannot penetrate deeply because of the skin resistance and because the circulating blood removes it rapidly. The heat of diathermy is produced within the tissues faster than the heat regulating mechanism can dissipate it. The immediate effect produced is a transitory stimulation of the nervi nervorum followed by a quickened arterial and capillary circulation, and by
PERLOW S. LOCAL DIATHERMY IN PERIPHERAL CIRCULATORY DISTURBANCES. JAMA. 1933;101(24):1869–1871. doi:10.1001/jama.1933.02740490029007
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