What is Diathermy?
Diathermy is a medical and surgical technique involving the production of heat in a part of the body by high-frequency electric currents, to stimulate the circulation, relieve pain, destroy unhealthy tissue, or cause bleeding vessels to clot.
What are the types of Diathermy?
There are three main types of diathermy: shortwave, microwave, and ultrasound.
Shortwave diathermy uses high-frequency electromagnetic energy to generate heat. It may be applied in pulsed or continuous energy waves. It has been used to treat pain from kidney stones, and pelvic inflammatory disease. It’s commonly used for conditions that cause pain and muscle spasms such as:
Microwave diathermy uses microwaves to generate heat in the body. It can be used to evenly warm deep tissues without heating the skin. Since it can’t penetrate deep muscles, it’s best suited for areas that are closer to the skin, such as the shoulders.
Ultrasound diathermy uses sound waves to treat deep tissues. Heat is generated by the vibration of the tissue. This promotes blood flow into the area. Ultrasound diathermy is used for:
- musculoskeletal sprains
- muscle spasms
- joint contractures or adhesions
How does diathermy work?
Diathermy uses high-frequency electric current to produce heat deep inside a targeted tissue. It can reach areas as deep as two inches beneath the skin’s surface.
The diathermy machine does not apply heat directly to the body. Instead, the waves generated by the machine allow the body to generate heat from within the targeted tissue.
Diathermy is usually part of a complete physical therapy or rehabilitative regimen. Frequency and length of treatments vary.