Harness the super-sonic power. Ultrasound has been used for medical diagnosis (and exciting pics of babies-to-be) for years, but there are dozens more uses for it than taking snapshots of your insides. In recent years, the technology has been adapted for pain relief, improving lymphatic drainage, boosting circulation and cosmetic uses including scar reduction, skin rejuvenation, improving skin elasticity and speeding up the post-op healing process.
How does it work?
Ultrasound machines emit a noise way out of our hearing range (higher-frequency than even dogs can hear). The sound waves have a few different effects on the body, which is why the treatment has so many different uses. In the simplest terms, though, the sound waves vibrate your cells. Giving your cells a good jiggle has a few different effects:
- Warming – the vibration of the sound waves creates heat deep within your tissues. This is good for softening hardened materials like hardened breast implants or the hardened collagen in scar tissue or cellulite.
- Improving absorption and drainage – the heat created also dilates your blood vessels, improving your circulation and lymphatic drainage. This makes it easier for your body to nourish the cells in that area. By piping the waste away faster, it’s also particularly good for reducing inflammation.
- Cavitation – by vibrating your cells, ultrasound can produce millions of bubbles of oxygen which can help to rejuvenate your skin and muscle tissue.
- Massage – the sound waves act like a massage on a microscopic level, which is great for pain relief and muscle relaxation.
- Product absorption – if you’re using a cream or product of some sort, the ultrasound can help to infuse it into your skin, deeper and more quickly.
The treatment itself uses a hand-held wand, which does all the Fairy-Godmother-style magic work. It’s not quite as simple as a spell and a flick of the wrist, though; the wand works gradually and is stroked over the skin’s surface in gentle circular movements. It’s often used in combination with creams or gels that help to rejuvenate your skin and amplify the effect of the waves.
As you might expect from such a flexible therapy, the treatment times can vary – usually from about 15 minutes to an hour at a time. For larger areas, like post-pregnancy stretch marks, the treatment can take up to 90 minutes. Although the circulation boost means you can often see immediate improvements in the texture of your skin, for long-term improvement you will need to stick it out for a course of treatments over a period of weeks.
Is it for me?
- Scarring and stretch marks
- Post-op tissue damage
- Inflammation and swelling
- Hardened tissue or implants
- Muscle spasms, pain or stiffness