Ultrasound machines (shown right) are a treatment modality used by physical therapists that utilize high or low frequency infra sound waves to promote healing, decrease inflammation, and loosen tight muscles. These sound waves are transmitted to and penetrate through the skin to the surrounding tissue and vasculature. They also penetrate the muscles to cause deep tissue/muscle warming.
Therapeutic ultrasound (infra sound) is a form of deep heat therapy created by sound waves. This promotes tissue relaxation and therefore is useful in treating muscle tightness and spasms.
The warming effect of the sound waves also cause vessel vasodilatation and increase circulation to the area that assists in healing. The physical therapist can also adjust the frequency on the machine to use waves that will decrease inflammation. When applied to soft tissues and joints, the sound waves are a form of micro-massage that help reduce swelling, increase blood flow, and decrease pain, stiffness, and spasms.
A major benefit of using the didgeridoo for ultra/infra sound therapy is that it is 100% natural and safe and can be used therapeutically and in ways that medical ultra sound machines cannot. With as didgeridoo it is possible to work with a massage therapist and follow their hands to areas of tension or trauma and play directly over it as the muscle is being worked on.
The didgeridoo is not producing a focused single frequency as in the case of ultra sound machines. This provides a major benefit in post operative work for people with metal implants. Medical ultra sound machines cannot be used on people that have received metal implants or replacements due to a potential interaction between the focused frequencies and the metal. This interaction has the potential to create micro wave frequency and could cause irreversible tissue damage. However, the didgeridoo is not producing a focused or single frequency so it is safe therapeutic alternative that allows people access to much needed post operative support. The one draw back is that it is not a focused single frequency and it does take a longer period of time to produce results comparable to ultra sound provided by machines.
Therapeutic ultrasound/infra sound in physical therapy is alternating compression and rarefaction of sound waves with a frequency of >20,000 cycles/second. Therapeutic ultrasound frequency used is 0.7 to 3.3.MHz.Maximum energy absorption in soft tissue is 2 to 5 cm. Intensity decreases as the waves penetrate deeper. They are absorbed primarily by connective tissue: ligaments, tendons, and fascia (and also by scar tissue).
Therapeutic ultrasound may have two types of benefit: Thermal effects and non thermal effects. Thermal effects are due to the absorption of the sound waves. Non thermal effects are from cavitation, micro streaming and acoustic streaming. Cavitational effects result from the vibration of the tissue causing microscopic air bubbles to form, which transmit the vibrations in a way that directly stimulates cell membranes. This physical stimulation appears to enhance the cell-repair effects of the inflammatory response.
Therapeutic ultrasound is sometimes recommended for muscle as well as joint pain.
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