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What Is Acoustic Wave Therapy?

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  • Written By: Sandra Koehler
  • Edited By: Rachel Catherine Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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Acoustic Wave Therapy (AWT) is a type of treatment in which mechanical vibrations applied to the outside surface of the skin. These pulsations stimulate the area in a non-invasive manner, meaning they can penetrate through the surface of the skin without breaking it. Though acoustic wave therapy is a beneficial tool to aid in relieving pain issues and increase circulation, this treatment is mainly used to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Cellulite is produced when the connective tissue or flexible material directly under the skin, becomes tougher and inflexible pushing down on the internal structures. When the underlying fat cells expand, they often get trapped against the strained connective tissue. This causes the skin to take on pitted or dimpled appearance. By applying acoustic wave therapy to the affected area, the bumpy appearance can be reduced.

The machine-driven vibrations created through acoustic wave therapy stimulate the outside layer of skin and the layers directly under the skin. This can increase circulation to the area bringing in essential nutrients such as oxygen, and triggering the body’s natural healing process. The body’s healing process plays a key role in the development of new connective tissue, thus decreasing the waffling effect of fat cells pushing through toughened bands of cellulite.

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By running the hand-held sound head of the acoustic wave therapy unit across the skin, sound waves penetrate and stimulate the skin and the underlying layers of tissue. The use of different attachments changes the effects delivered to the body. The radial head, for example, uses pressure waves driven by air forced through a chamber. The planar head utilizes an electromagnet to create these pressure waves, or pulsating surges. This produces a beating or thumping sensation against the skin which can help loosen the tightened connective tissue and break up the pockets of protruding fat. Once these pouches relax, the appearance of cellulite can be diminished.

Acoustic wave therapy is virtually painless, with sensations of pressure, heat and vibrations. Occasionally, this form of therapy may result in skin irritation and redness. The treatment course of acoustic wave therapy usually takes around five minutes for each small section of cellulite. Though the effects of acoustic wave therapy are temporary in nature, the overall look of dimpled skin can be reduced with a course of treatment several weeks in duration. However, to maintain the look of smoother skin, maintenance treatments are recommended every few weeks.

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