Background: Using physical restraints is a highly preferred practice in intensive care units. Most of the studies show that the main reason for restraining patients is to prevent dislodgement of medical equipments and nurses have positive attitudes about restraining practices.Methods: This research was conducted for the purpose of determining the use of physical restraints, ongoing practices and perceptions about physical restraints among intensive care unit nurses. This was a as a descriptive -cross sectional study done with 80 intensive care unit nurses in May 2005. Nurses who agreed to participate in the study filled out the questionnaires prepared by the researchers. The survey questionnaire was based on the current literature and the author’s observations on the restraining practice.Results: Prevalence of physical restraint use is high in all ICUs. Gauze is the mostly used but not a proper material for restraining patients in all intensive care units. Documentation of restraint application is not a part of restraining practice (93.7 %). Reasons for using restraints as described by nurses are to prevent equipment dislodgement and providing safe working environment for themselves.Conclusions: In this study, physical restraining practices of intensive care nurses and materials used for this practice are not appropriate for patient care. Perceptions and knowledge of nurses play an important role on the selection of the restraining method. For a better nursing care it is very important to develop a restraint policy and educate nurses to provide awareness about this highly used practice in health care settings.