About Shortwave Diathermy

What is diathermy?

Diathermy, which literally means “to heat through”, is a technique in which a therapeutic response is produced by the application of high-frequency electrical current. In 1891 it was first noted by American engineer and inventor, Nikola Tesla, that medical benefits resulted from the irradiation of tissue with high-frequency alternating current. The term “diathermy” was first introduced in 1909 by K. F. Nagelschmidt, a Berlin Physician (Britannica). It took almost another century to revolutionize diathermy into what we know today.

Diathermy utilizes technology initially developed by the US Navy to warm SEAL team members and deep sea divers. The Therapeutic Heating System uses a compact, low-power, radio frequency (RF) ReGenerator and a family of anatomically designed therapy garments to deliver even and gentle therapeutic effects to injured tissues and facilitate the healing process.

Shortwave diathermy (SWD) is designed to apply energy through a unique longitudinal coil induction cable, covered by fabric (ReBound Therapy Garment). The induction cable inside the Therapy Garment creates an oscillating electromagnetic field (EMF). The high frequency electromagnetic energy passes through the patient’s body and is absorbed by the tissues. Since body tissue has a large number of ions, this energy causes the ions to move in various directions creating friction. The heating effects of the diathermy occur as a result of friction between the moving ions and the surrounding tissues.

The longitudinal coil design allows for a uniform and gradual delivery of SWD over an entire area. Induction SWD only heats tissues that are good electrical conductors, such as blood vessels and muscle. Adipose tissue (fat) receives little heating by induction fields because an electrical current is not actually going through the tissues. The unique ReBound™ technology that we use at Kiwi Physical Therapy optimizes the comfort, safety and effectiveness of diathermy.

For additional information click below to go to ReBound



Additional research:

Effects of Repetitive Shortwave Diathermy for Reducing Synovitis in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis an Ultrasonographic Study

Pulsed Shortwave Diathermy and Joint Mobilizations for Restoring Motion in a Patient with Adhesive Capsulitis

Open diathermy research in PDF format


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