Physical Agent Modalities for the Rehab Professional - Green Track

This course has been approved by the New Jersey Occupational Therapy Advisory Council for 30 contact hours Pursuant to: N.J.A.C 13:44-5.4.

Physical Agent Modalities (PAMs) is designed to educate occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants in the use of electrophysical agents in the areas of electrical stimulation (pulsed, alternating, and direct current), and superficial and deep thermal agents (ultrasound, shortwave diathermy and laser). This course is also open to PT/PTAs and Athletic Trainers. The biophysical principles of each physical agent will be presented. The physiologic effects, indications, precautions and contraindications will be emphasized, along with the best current practices. The appropriate selection and application of physical agents, based on the existing pathology, impairments, and functional limitations will be discussed, demonstrated, and performed by participants. Safe and effective parameter selection, dosing of intensity, and documentation of treatment will be emphasized during the lecture and laboratory portions of the course. This course will prepare the participant in the theory of and clinical application of transcutaneus electrical stimulation (TENS), neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), functional electrical stimulation (FES), iontophoresis, phonophoresis, and continuous and pulsed therapeutic ultrasound. The course includes lectures, laboratory sessions and case studies.

Appropriate Disciplines: ATs, OT/COTAs, PT/PTAs
Course Level: Introductory
Instructional Methods: Lecture, Demonstration, Hands-On Labs, Case Studies, Problem Solving
Assessment Methods: Hands on Lab Observation, Quiz

Please bring lab attire that allows for access to the shoulder (e.g. loose fitting t-shirt, tank top etc.)
Equipment and electrodes are provided for hands-on labs. Each participant will receive a course manual at check-in

The course length and content has been designed to meet the Physical Agent Modalities didactic training requirements for Occupational Therapists in the following states: CA, FL, ID, IL, MA, MD, NH, NJ, NM, NY, ND, PA, SD, WI, WV

AOTA Classification Codes
Domain of OT: Performance Skills, Activity Demands
OT Process: Intervention

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, participants will be able to:

Course Instructor(s)

Joe Gallo


Dr. Joe Gallo earned his BS in Physical Education and Athletic Training and his Master’s in Physical Therapy. He also holds a Doctor of Science degree in Physical Therapy. He currently serves as Director and Professor in the Salem State University Athletic Training Program. He also held faculty appointments in various physical therapy and physical therapist assistant programs in his over 20 year career as an educator. Dr. Gallo is currently a Certified Instructor for the VitalStim® Therapy Specialty Program teaching NMES for the treatment of dysphagia. He has taught over 300 continuing education workshops to rehabilitation specialists across the United States. Joe’s research on electrophysical agents has been published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, and the Chinese journal of Sportsmedicine. In addition to his teaching and research, Joe has also maintained clinical practice in a variety of settings throughout his career.

Financial Disclosures: Dr. Gallo receives an honorarium for speaking/teaching live courses through CIAO Seminars. He also receives royalties for the purchase of his recorded courses and the purchase of his Ultrasound book.
Non-Financial Disclosures: Dr. Gallo uses modalities in his clinical practice.

Course Agenda

Day 1

07:00 - 07:15
Registration (snack/refreshments provided)
07:15 - 07:30
Review of electro-physical agents
07:30 - 09:45
Electrotherapy: History, types, concepts, waveforms
09:45 - 10:00
10:00 - 11:45
Electrotherapy: Indications
11:45 - 12:30
Lunch (on your own)
12:30 - 01:00
Electrotherapy continued: Indications
01:00 - 02:30
Electrotherapy: Procedures, Clinical Applications, Physiological Effects
02:30 - 02:45
02:45 - 04:30
Electrotherapy: Precautions, contraindications, patient education, examples, rationale, research
04:30 - 06:30
Electrotherapy Key Principles

Day 2

07:00 - 09:00
Choosing and Using Modalities - Electrotherapy (case studies and lab)
09:00 - 10:00
Electrotherapy/Superficial thermal agents (case studies and lab)
10:00 - 10:15
10:15 - 12:30
Advanced Decision Making - Electrotherapy (lab)
12:30 - 01:15
Lunch (on your own)
01:15 - 02:00
Choosing and Using Modalities - Iontophoresis (case studies and lab)
02:00 - 02:45
Short Wave Diathermy: History, fundamental concepts, physiologic effects, dosing
02:45 - 03:00
03:00 - 04:00
Short Wave Diathermy: precautions, contraindications, patient education, examples, rational
04:00 - 04:45
Key Principles: Superficial thermal agents/Short Wave Diathermy
04:45 - 05:45
Choosing and Using Modalities - Short Wave Diathermy (lab)
05:45 - 06:15
Advanced Decision Making - Short Wave Diathermy (lab)

Day 3

07:00 - 09:00
Ultrasound: history, effects, examples, recommendations, physiologic effects, thermal vs. non-thermal
09:00 - 10:00
Key Principles - Ultrasound
10:00 - 10:15
10:15 - 12:15
Choosing and Using Modalities: Ultrasound (Case Studies and Lab)
12:15 - 01:00
Lunch (on your own)
01:00 - 02:00
Advanced Decision Making - Ultrasound (lab)
02:00 - 02:45
Low Level Laser - history, fundamental concepts, biophysical effects, dosing
02:45 - 03:00
03:00 - 04:15
Low Level Laser: precautions, contraindications, patient education, examples, rational, research
04:15 - 04:45
Key Principles - Low Level Laser Therapy
04:45 - 05:45
Choosing and Using Modalities - Low Level Laser Therapy (case studies and lab)
05:45 - 06:15
Advanced Decision Making - Low Level Laser Therapy (lab)

Contact hours pre-approved for:

  • 30 hours
  • CIAO is an AOTA Approved Provider #4119 (3.0 AOTA CEUs)
  • CIAO is a BOC Approved Provider #P2881 (ATs)
  • This program is eligible for a maximum of 30 Category A hours/CEUs. ATs should claim only those hours actually spent in the educational program.
  • This course meets PDU requirements for NBCOT (37.5 PDUs Clinical Lab Assessment)
  • CIAO is recognized as an Approved Provider for PT/PTAs by the NYSE Dept State Board for PT
  • CIAO is an Illinois Approved Provider for PT/PTA Continuing Education
  • This activity is provided by the TX Board of PT Examiners Accredited Prov. #2502009#TX
  • This activity meets the continuing competence requirements for PT/PTA license renewal in TX
  • The assignment of Texas PT CCUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products or clinical procedures by TPTA or TBPTE
  • CIAO is a Rule Approved Provider for the Florida Board of Physical Therapy
  • CIAO is an Approved Provider for the Florida Board of Occupational Therapy
  • Approved for:
  • 30 Hrs. OT/COTAs in NJ (New Jersey Occupational Therapy Advisory Council N.J.A.C 13:44-5.4)
  • 30 Hrs. OT/COTAs in CA (#25-P8) Advanced practice area of Physical Agent Modalities
  • 30 Hrs. OT/COTAs and PT/PTAs in FL (CEBroker #20-468186)
  • 30 Hrs. PT/PTAs in IL, TX(APTA TX #2502009, 30 CCUs)
  • 36 Hrs. PT/PTAs in NY

Course meets requirements for:

  • PT/PTAs in AL, AK, AZ, AR, CO, CT, DC, DE, GA, HI, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, ME, MD, MA, MI, MO, MT,
  • PT/PTAs in NE, NH, NC, ND, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, UT, VT, VA, WA, WI, WY
  • OT/COTAs in AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, LA, KS, KY, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT,
  • OT/COTAs in NE, NV, NH, NJ, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY

  • The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA.

    CIAO is recognized on the NBCOT Provider Registry (meets PDU requirements for NBCOT)

    CIAO is approved by the Board of Certification, Inc. to offer continuing education for Certified Athletic Trainers.