2010 Volume 73 Issue 4 Pages 248-254
Forearm bathing is considered beneficial for the hands of patients with spastic hemiplegia, but the effect has not been investigated comprehensively. This study investigated the effectiveness of forearm bathing for patients with hemiplegic hands.
Subjects and Methods
In total, nine hemiplegic patients participated in the study (mean±standard deviation age=56.9±16.6 years; mean±standard deviation period from onset=21.1±21.2 months). Participants sat in a relaxed position on a chair, and dipped the affected forearms into 40°C warm water for 15 mins. The Simple Test for Evaluating Hand Function (STEF) score was evaluated before and after forearm bathing as an indicator of hemiplegic hand function. The Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS) score for the biceps brachii muscle, and both the resistance power of elbow extension and the F/M ratio (F-wave amplitudes/ M wave amplitudes) for the abductor pollicis brevis muscle, were evaluated as indicators of hemiplegic hand spasticity. The device used to measure the resistance power of elbow extension comprised a motor, cuffs to fix the hemiplegic arm and forearm in place, and a control system. The axis of rotation of the device was positioned over the axis of rotation of the elbow joint. The device induced passive elbow flexion and extension movements at an angular velocity of 60°/sec or 90°/sec.
After forearm bathing, the STEF score increased significantly (p<0.05) from 42.9±28.0 to 47.8±28.4 (n=9), the resistance power of elbow extension at 90°/min decreased significantly (p<0.01) from 4.0±1.8 N to 3.0±1.9 N, and the MAS score and F/M ratio were unchanged (n=6).
Forearm bathing appeared to improve function and decrease spasticity in hemiplegic hands. This treatment might facilitate hand rehabilitation.