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How to Heat a Hydrocollator Steam Pack

By Dr. Robert Manning ; Updated July 27, 2017

Hydrocollator steam packs provide an easy and effective way of treating an area with moist heat therapy. Use steam packs to relieve minor muscle aches and pains and as an effective first-line treatment. Hydrocollator packs make excellent heat sources because they hold their heat for an extended period of time. They come in many different shapes and sizes and will conform to body parts during treatment. Follow a simple procedure to heat these packs to their optimum temperature.

Stove-Top Preparation

Soak the hydrocollator pack in water overnight to hydrate all the material cells. This will help the pack last longer and hold its heat longer.

Place the hydrocollator pack in a large stainless-steel or enameled pan.

Cover the hydrocollator pack with hot tap water and turn on the stove. Allow the water to come to a light boil.

Turn down the stove, and allow the hydrocollator pack to sit in the water for a minimum of 20 minutes—or until it cools to approximately 160 degrees Fahrenheit—before using.

Wrap the hot hydrocollator pack in a minimum of four layers of terry-cloth towel and apply to the area needing heat therapy.

Microwave Preparation

As with stove-top preparation, soak the hydrocollator pack overnight.

Place the hydrocollator pack in a microwave-safe container or bowl.

Cover the hydrocollator pack with hot tap water, and put the bowl in the microwave.

Set the microwave on high, and heat the water to a light boil.

As with stove-top preparation, allow the water to cool and wrap the pack in towels before using.

Warnings

To prevent burns, use towels between hot hydrocollator packs and skin, and use tongs to remove the hydrocollator pack from the hot water.

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