Tui or Parson Bird Prosthemadera Novae Zealandiae. From: 'A history of the birds of New Zealand' by Walter Lawry Buller | OUR Heritage

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Vitrine Two: Physiotherapy Electrical Equipment




October 2013


Equipment from the School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago




Electrotherapy came into vogue in physiotherapy from the 1920s and is now used for a variety of therapeutic purposes such as stimulating muscles, providing pain relief via various forms of heating and the selective stimulation of sensory nerves.
The large glass tube (triode valve), bottom left, is from a short-wave diathermy machine and is designed to produce high frequency electromagnetic waves. Short-wave diathermy was primarily used to produce heat in the tissues and its premise was based on the physiological effects resulting from the rise in temperature.
The Lewis Jones Induction Coil (top right) operates on two dry cells. The device is designed to produce an uneven induced (faradic current) current with impulses each lasting up to one millisecond at a rate of approximately 50 cycles per second. The resulting contraction has the closest resemblance to a voluntary contraction that can be produced by electrical stimulation.
The Smart-Bristow Faradic Coil (bottom right) was a highly popular form of physiotherapy treatment used to stimulate nerves supplying non-paralysed muscles in the polio era from the 1920s to 1960s. One of the special features of this device was the method of regulating the strength of the current for the comfort of the patient by varying the depth of insertion of the iron core on the side of the box.
The portable cold quartz lamp (top left) is designed to produce short ultraviolet rays for antibacterial effects with the various shaped glass rods used in the treatment of infection of the skin as well as of the mucous membranes.


___, “Vitrine Two: Physiotherapy Electrical Equipment,” | OUR Heritage, accessed August 7, 2020,

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