I get more queries a week relating to Contraindication issues than any other topic

Part of this is because different texts, manufacturers guides and other publications do not present the same 'lists' - in other words, there is no universal agreement in all instances.

When we were working on the latest (2020) edition of the textbook (Watson, T. and Nussbaum, E. Electrophysical Agents: Evidence Based Practice. Elsevier) we took a long, hard look at these lists, the evidence and the 'historical beliefs and myths' and tried to come up with a list which was as accurate as possible and reflected practice in the 2020s and was based on the evidence so far as possible. The authors for each of the chapters, being subject experts, also double checked the material.

I can't reproduce the whole chapter here - partly, not enough room, and partly, it would constitute a breach of copyright I am sure - and the publisher would be furious! The chapter (Ch 22) in the book : Electrophysical Agents : General Guidelines, Contraindications and Precautions includes a rationale and cites evidence to support the lists. I appreciate that most people simply consult the 'grid'

What I have done below is to provide a simple tabulation for each modality based on the material in that chapter, If you want to know the why's and wherefores, you will need to consult the original

The table on the previous version of the website - which many of you will have downloaded - is superseded by the information on this page.

HOVER over the MODALITY box below and a specific CONTRAINDICATION LIST will appear

Ultrasound - Thermal


Shortwave Thermal

Laser (Photobiomodulation)

Ultra Violet

Ultrasound - Non Thermal


Shortwave Non Thermal


Electrical Stimulation Modalities


Med Freq

(incl Interferential)