Home Health What is Diathermy and its Benefits

What is Diathermy and its Benefits

by Dustin Cortright

What is Diathermy and its Benefits

Diathermy is a therapeutic treatment through the application of shortwave or microwave electromagnetic energy normally prescribed for healing muscle and joint conditions. The process is also utilized for other physiological changes within tissues and musculoskeletal conditions which is beneficial in reducing the effects of radiation and chemotherapy for cancer patients.

Compared with the traditional heat therapy modalities, diathermy devices use a high-frequency electric current through a special induction coil that converts electromagnetic waves into energy which becomes heat via friction within the body tissue. In diathermy, the skin does not have to be heated excessively in order to transfer heat energy as heat is created in the muscle through molecular motion caused by the electromagnetic waves. In fact, this diathermy radiation can be worn while still being physically active as it can provide a continuous source of heat over the duration of the treatment.

Shortwave Diathermy

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Diathermy has three main types which include Shortwave Diathermy, Microwave Diathermy, and Ultrasound Diathermy. Each kind of diathermy has its own significant role in healing musculoskeletal conditions, particularly sports injuries.

Shortwave Diathermy

Shortwave Diathermy is an alternative application of ultrasound through the use of both thermal and nonthermal mechanisms for reducing muscle and/or joint conjectures, muscle spasm, and sprain. In this procedure, your physician will use electromagnetic radio waves in order to convert energy to deep heat. You physician normally targets the affected tissue or the area he/she wants to expose to heat by changing the characteristics of the shortwave applicator.

In medical practice, shortwave diathermy is most advised to be utilized in healing painful conditions and other pathological processes where the nidus are located in more superficial tissues.

Microwave Diathermy

Microwave Diathermy, on the other hand, warms affected tissues without actually heating the skin. This kind of diathermy uses electromagnetic radiation through microwaves in order to generate heat in the body. This type of modality has been utilized to lower any possible adverse effects of radiation treatment and cancer therapy.

Microwave diathermy utilizes electromagnetic radio waves with frequencies of 915 and 2456 MHz. Microwave diathermy has two unique properties which can be applied to clinical advantage. The first one is suited to treat pathological process that occurs in the muscles and adjacent fat. In this method, microwaves are selectively absorbed in tissues with high water content.

The second property is where microwaves are more easily focused compared with the short waves utilized in short-wave diathermy, prompting the decreased energy leakage and utilizing the heat more effectively.

Ultrasound Diathermy

Ultrasound Diathermy efficiently heals selected affected tissues through improving collagen elasticity and by controlling inflammation at the same time. This type of modality uses a quartz crystal which helps in the production of heat as a result of the conversion of electrical current into ultrasound energy and subsequently converted into heat.

Ultrasound diathermy is ideal in the treatment of chronic degenerative osteoarthritis, contractures, subacute trauma and decreased the range of motion. It is often used as a complementary treatment method with stretching exercises following any aggressive joint manipulation.

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Benefits of Diathermy

Diathermy, unlike any other methods, directly heats deep tissue in the muscle compared to moist hot packs which target superficial tissues through indirect contact and rapidly lose their heat capacity over time. Deep heating increases blood flow and helps lubricate joints the exchange of fluids and nutrients. Some of the reasons why heat packs are less effective that diathermy is there is not enough heat transfer on the former than the latter to execute the necessary task. There is very little impact when applying the former and when there is too much heat transfer, there’s a greater risk of skin damage such as blisters and burns.


Diathermy has proven its worth by healing injuries with the use of heat which can help minimize inflammation and make tissue more flexible. By increasing blood flow to the affected area of an injury, the heat released with the diathermy device can speed up the treatment. In order to make sure that the procedure will yield the best results, it is best to only use trusted brands or suppliers, such as medical equipment from Emech Medical, which offers only high-quality diathermy device which can certainly deliver an excellent medical outcome.

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