Course Description

This 40-hour non-credit evening course at Kapi`olani Community College covers the production, physiological effects, indications, contraindications and clinical applications of thermal and electrical modalities.  Topics will be confined to the physical agents that would support OT practice as defined in the model Occupational Therapy Practice act.   Lab simulation and role playing of actual clinical situations allow the participants to use their present knowledge of diagnosis to problem solve, think analytically and modify parameters as it relates to observed responses and conditions presented.  The physiology of trauma, repair and pain modulation will be included.  All participants will be required to apply these modalities to themselves and each other.  Participants completing this course successfully will earn a KCC Certificate of Professional Development.

Faculty member in the KCC Physical Therapist Assistant program, Michelle Dela Cruz, PT, is the instructor.    She will use a blend of lecture, demonstration, ample participant practice, videos and reading assignments.

Course Outline

  • Physiology of trauma, tissue repair and pain
  • Physical principles and production of thermal and electromagnetic energy
  • Indications and contraindications of all presented physical agents
  • Physiological effects of applied physical agents on pain, healing, circulation, muscle and skin
  • Suitable physical agents for common diagnosis: Hot pack, fluidotherapy, paraffin, infrared, cold pack, ice massage, contrast baths, ultrasound, shortwave diathermy (SWD), and laser

Learner Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the stages of healing and how the application of appropriate PAMs enhances or slows each process.
  2. Identify the indications and contraindications of commonly seen PAMs.
  3. Demonstrate safe and effective applications of all presented PAMS.
  4. Recognize the range of patient responses and understand appropriate Rx. adjustments in response to abnormal responses and the conditions presented.
  5. Understand the physiology of pain modulation with the use of presented physical agents.
  6. Document accurately with approved terminology the parameters that apply to each form of physical agent.


This course is desgined for occupational therapists and coccupational therapy assistants.

The course fee includes the textbook, "Physical Agents in Rehabilitation: An Evidenced Based Approach to Practice" (5th Edition) by Michelle H. Cameron.

Questions regarding this course should be directed to Martin Chong, Health Education Non-Credit Coordinator, at 734-9540, or through email at martincs@hawaii.edu

If you are a student with a documented disability and have not voluntarily disclosed the nature of your disability so that we may coordinate the accommodations you need, you are invited to contact the Disability Support Services Office (DSSO) in ‘Ilima 107, ph.734-9552, or email kapdss@hawaii.edu for assistance. For students whose primary disability is Deaf or hard of hearing, contact the KCC Deaf Center at ph. 734-9210 (V), 447-1379 (videophone), or email kapdeaf1@hawaii.edu.

Please note: you will need to contact Kapi’olani CC’s DSSO or Deaf Center to request accommodations in a Kapi’olani CC course even if you’ve already registered or are receiving services at another UH campus’s disability support program.


Kapi‘olani Community College Refund/Drop Policy:

100% refund: Notification to Non-Credit Registration made 10 business days or more prior to start date of course.

50% refund: Notification to Non-Credit Registration made 5-9 business days prior to start date of course.

0% refund: Notification to Non-Credit Registration made less than 5 business days prior to start date of course.

Thank you for your interest in this course. Unfortunately, the course you have selected is currently not open for enrollment. Please complete a Course Inquiry so that we may promptly notify you when enrollment opens.
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