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UsesAthletic trainers and physical therapists
ManufacturerChattanooga Pharmaceutical Company

The hydrocollator, first introduced in 1947 by the Chattanooga Pharmaceutical Company,[1] consists of a thermostatically controlled water bath for placing bentonite-filled cloth heating pads. When the pads are removed from the bath, they are placed in covers and placed on the patient. The device is primarily used by athletic trainers and physical therapists.


The evidence behind the use of the hydrocollator is primarily concerned with achieving rapid heating of the tissue due to the more efficient transfer of energy through water as compared to air.[2] There is some concern that hydrocollator treatment may be less effective with overweight or obese patients.[3]

Heating methods are used commonly in patients with acute pain. It is recommended that heating pads be used at home on acute injuries for short term pain relief.[4]


  1. ^ "HYDROCOLLATOR steam packs accepted". JAMA. 7. 145 (7): 487. Feb 17, 1951. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.02920250039010. PMID 14794475.
  2. ^ Petrofsky, J; Bains G; Prowse M; Gunda S; Berk L; Raju C; Ethiraju G; Vanarasa D; Madani P (2009). "Does skin moisture influence the blood flow response to local heat? A re-evaluation of the Pennes model". J Med Eng Technol. 33 (7): 532–7. doi:10.1080/03091900902952683. PMID 19484652.
  3. ^ Petrofsky, J; Bains G; Prowse M; Gunda S; Berk L; Raju C; Ethiraju G; Vanarasa D; Madani P. (2009). "Dry heat, moist heat and body fat: are heating modalities really effective in people who are overweight?". J Med Eng Technol. 33 (5): 361–9. doi:10.1080/03091900802355508. PMID 19499453.
  4. ^ Garra, Gregory (May 2010). "Heat or Cold Packs for Neck and Back Strain: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Efficacy". Academic Emergency Medicine (published May 1, 2010). 17 (5): 484–489. doi:10.1111/j.1553-2712.2010.00735.x. ISSN 1069-6563. PMID 20536800.