What is Therapeutic Ultrasound?
Therapeutic Ultrasound is a method of stimulating tissue beneath the skin's surface using sound waves. It is a very high frequency massage that can penetrate up to 5" below the surface of your skin.
The sound waves are of a very high frequency, typically between 800,000Hz and 2,000,000Hz. The sound can not be heard by humans or animals. Humans can only hear sounds up to about 20,000Hz. These high frequency waves affect tissue on the cellular level, energizing the tissues causing them to vibrate. Furthermore, the nutrient absorbtion rate and blood flow in the area are greatly enhannced.
How ultrasound energy is transferred into the body is a function of many factors. The frequency of the ultrasound waves is actually opposite to how deep they will penetrate the body. A 1MHz ultrasound will penetrate about 4" below the skin whereas a 2MHz ultrasound unit will only penetrate about 2". While a low frequency means deeper penetration, using too low a frequency will mean that the waves are too wide to properly move the molecules. For therapeutic applications, 1MHz is the optimal frequency for both effect and penetration.
Power output is another significant factor. It is measured in watts per square centimeter. The higher the power, the more energy is transferred into the body. If too high a power output is used and an ultrasound unit is left sitting still on the body, it is possible to burn the tissue beneath the skin. While several professional ultrasound machines are capable of these high powers, your medical practitioner will typically use a low power setting below 1 watt / centimeter squared. More power is not necessarily better. Practitioners usually use higher powers to speed up treatments. It is actually more effective to use a lower power setting for a longer period of time.
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The power output rating is often broken down into two separate units, peak intensity and average intensity. Peak intensity can be thought of as how tall the waves are that are being sent into your body. The waves need to be large enough to affect the tissue and provide the desired massage effect. At the same time, your body tissue needs breaks between groups of waves to cool down. So, Ultrasound machines actually send the waves in groups giving your body a vibrate-rest-vibrate-rest effect. The average intensity is a measure of how much energy is transferred over a period vibrate-rest cycles.
Often Ultrasound machines provide a Total Power Output rating. High power units are typically used with large applicator heads to do larger parts of the body. The important measurement part of ultrasound is the watts per square centimeter mentioned above, not the total unit power. Again, it is more effective to treat the affected area more frequently and for longer periods with lower power.
When applied directly to the skin, an ultrasound head cannot effectively transfer the sound waves into the body. To make it work properly, a conductive medium is required - ultrasound gel. The gel simply makes it possible for the sound waves to travel from the unit head into your body. Ultrasound without gel is ineffective and can damage the ultrasound machine.
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What does it do?
The heating and massaging effects of Therapeutic Ultrasound have 2 primary benefits. First, it increases blood flow in the treated area which speeds the healing process. Second, it reduces swelling and edema which are the main sources of pain.
Ultrasound can also be used to administer therapeutic medicines into the body. In such a case there are 3 benefits to a treatment, the first two from the massaging effect of ultrasound discussed above, and the third from administering the medication. This is a process known as phonophoresis. Ultrasound with Phonophoresis is rapidly becoming more popular than Ultrasound Therapy alone.
For most injuries and ailments, a cycle of ultrasound therapy usually consists of 5-10 minute treatments 2-3 times per day for the duration of the healing period. This surprises many people who have gone for single treatments in clinics only 2 or 3 times each week. This has everything to do with the cost and convenience for the customer. A proper course of therapeutic ultrasound treatments consists of 3 to 10 minute treatments 2 to 4 times per day.
What can be Treated With Ultrasound?
An incredibly wide variety of ailments are treated using ultrasound. Essentially, anywhere there is a desire to promote blood circulation and reduce swelling and edema, ultrasound will help.
Injuries to the tendons, ligaments, muscles and cartilage are treated primarily with ultrasound. Ultrasound helps to reduce swelling and edema which in turn greatly reduces the pain from the injury. The stimulated tissue and increased blood flow speed the healing process. Typically, these types of injuries are very slow to heal and because people continue to try to use the injured body part, the injury is repeatedly stressed. Regular applications of ultrasound over the duration of the healing period will significantly reduce pain and the time to heal.
Most professional athletes use ultrasound as a preventative modality to protect against injury. Using ultrasound before and after very strenuous activities aids in the warm-up warm-down process. Athletes with chronic ailments from previous injuries will use ultrasound to promote circulation to the injured area and to reduce swelling and pain which may impact their performance. Because they use them daily, most professional athletes have purchased personal ultrasound units.
People who suffer from chronic ailments associated with swelling and pain also gain great benefit from ultrasound. Those who suffer from Arthritis, Bursitis, Carpal and Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, and swollen disks use ultrasound to reduce the swelling and pain associated with their ailment. Ailments which are not chronic such as Bursitis and Tunnel Syndromes can be treated and eliminated with ultrasound. For conditions such as arthritis, ultrasound cannot cure the disease but it can reduce the pain and swelling significantly which allows people to resume normal lives. When used for treating painful conditions such as these, ultrasound is typically applied using a medicated gel to gain the phonophoretic benefit as well.
As a therapeutic massage device, ultrasound is very effective at reducing muscle tension. People who suffer muscle tension headaches and migraines use ultrasound on the back of the neck. This is a very common procedure used by massage therapists and chiropractors for headache sufferers. People receiving treatments often describe the sensation as 'the machine seems to suck the tension and pain right out of my head through my neck'. In reality what is happening is the ultrasound is releasing the trigger points which are the source of the pain.
Massage therapists are increasingly offering ultrasound treatments in conjunction with regular massage as a pain free method of releasing trigger points and knots in all the muscles. Using ultrasound on the trigger points of injured muscles helps to relax the muscle from the trauma of the injury. When relaxed the muscle can heal from its injury much more quickly and more effectively with less scar tissue. While full body ultrasound treatments are not practical, ultrasound treatments on localized trouble areas are very effective.
Where can I get Therapeutic Ultrasound?
Traditional Ultrasound Therapy treatments can be obtained from most Doctors, Physio Therapists, and Chiropractors. Some Massage Therapists also provide Ultrasound treatments.
Phonophoretic Ultrasound Therapy is also available at many Doctor's offices, Chiropractors, and Physical Therapy Clinics. The vast majority of these use our Ultrasound Gel. Some clinics will rent out Ultrasound Kits to patients for use at home after an initial consultation. Typical pricing is $75 - $100 per week for take home units. In-clinic treatment pricing may vary depending on your ailment. Call your healthcare professional and book an appointment today!
MendMeShop Ultrasound Kits are also available for purchase from most medical practitioners who offer ultrasound treatments, or you can order online from MendMeShop.
MendMeShop Home Therapy Ultrasound Kits
It is designed for people who require or desire regular ultrasound treatments. Compact, light weight, safe, portable and very easy to use it provides people with a means to give themselves convenient regular ultrasound treatments.
The units come with our naturally medicated ultrasound gel that, through the process of phonophoresis, delivers anti-inflammatory and pain relieving ingredients deep into the body. Together, the combination of phonophoretically delivered medications and regular ultrasound therapy provide incredible pain relief and speed the healing process.
In addition to the ultrasound unit and medicated gel, MendMeShop kits also come with an illustrated treatment manual and a colorful trigger point chart to guide you through treating almost every part of your body.
Home Ultrasound Kits are radically changing lives and the professional therapeutic community. A low cost, safe, easy to use unit allows professionals to provide their patients with units to take home and use for the duration of the healing process. This means you can get your treatments 3 times per day, every day, instead of just a couple times per week. That's 10 times as often - 10 times the benefit - meaning a much less painful and more speedy recovery.
Restrictions on the Use of Ultrasound
Warnings for use:
Ultrasound is NOT recommended: