Ultrasound MachinesBeyond just our usual listing of the various types of EMS, NMES, Pulse Massagers, and TENS Units, we have also found multiple other types of portable units that are sold which claim to have multiple types of medical benefits. This category of machines are known as “Portable Therapeutic Ultrasound Machines”. They operate on the idea that when you send ultrasonic vibrations and waves, they can stimulate the nerve endings to block out pain signalling to the brain. Based on what is written on Wikipedia, it seems that frequency is actually around 200,000-2,000,000 Hertz. After checking these number with other sources, we feel that the writers made a mistake here, and should have reduced the cutoff frequency to be in fact 2*10^4, or 20,000 Hertz. The effect of the high frequency is that the external skin surface is not stimulated, but the layers of tissue that is underneath the skin are affected.

How do these products actually work in reducing pain, and heal soft tissue?

When we researched this very basic question, we found something interesting that was said on the FDA website, “Ultrasonic Therapy Product or Ultrasonic Diathermy“. They say that the type of devices that are sold usually have some type of rounded head. The high frequency stimulate the tissue underneath the skin by heating it up. That generated heat is supposed to help with pain, joint contractures, and muscle spasms. The wand is supposed to be applied to the skin with gentle, circular movements. When using these types of wand devices, you also want to use a type of hypo-allergenic gel aids. That would help transmit the waves more effectively and prevent the possibility that the head would overheat. The therapeutic temperature has been set to be around 40-45 Celsius, and the amount of time that is recommended to use one of these devices is from 5-10 minutes. If you keep the applicator head in one area too long, it might start to become uncomfortable.

US 1000 Portable Ultrasound Unit (by Current Solutions) – Price: $100

US 1000 Portable Ultrasound UnitDescription: Technically these portable ultrasounc unit devices are not exactly TENS Units, but the two different medical/health devices have the same overall functions. Whethere you are going to be using ultrasound or ultrasonic waves, or electrical current, the final objective is to manage pain and provide some form of pain relief. This particular models is called the US 1000 Portable Ultrasound Unit sold by Current Solutions. We have been very big fans of Current Solutions aka Roscoe Medical for a very long time. We love their series of TENS Units. This would be the first time we have actually ever taken a close look at the Ultrasound units that they sell – Read more

US Pro 2000 Professional Portable Ultrasound Unit – Price: $100

US Pro 2000 Professional Portable Ultrasound UnitDescription: The US Pro Professional Portabel Ultrasound Unit is found online only two online stores. You can either get it from the Overstock website which will have it listed for around $95 but you can also get it from the TENS Unit Store Online website which have it listed as the US Pro 2000 Home Ultrasound Unit. However on that speciality website it would be costing you around $165. In terms of price then you want to get it from the larger, more well known website. We did find it from smaller medical supply websites but we chose not to list those websites. As for the devices, it is a type of pain relief device that does not use intermittent pulsing electrical current stimuli like what we are so used to seeing – Read more

———————————————————————-

This is just a small list of the various types that we have found over the years. We are not medical professionals so we are not going to claim that they work or don’t work. We just provide all the available information, give our own short opinion, and make the interested buyer make a decision on what they want to do.

However, based on what we have found on scientifically backed research, we did find this study “A Review of Therapeutic Ultrasound: Effectiveness Studies“. The researchers concluded that the effects of using ultrasound for medical application like pain relief, muskoskeletal injuries, and soft tissue recovery show minimal effect.

To learn more about the effects of using ultrasound on soft tissue, refer to the 2001 paper “Therapeutic ultrasound in soft tissue lesions

The Science behind the Ultrasound Technology

Most people when they hear the word “Ultrasound” usually refer it to the type of imaging technique used by obstetricians and gynecologists to check the uterus of a potentially pregnant female to see if she is pregnant. When she is pregnant, and the baby is still a fetus, the ultrasound is used again to check on the development of the embryo, and then the fetus. That is just one of many type of applications that it is used for.

The term “Ultrasound” really means that the oscillating sound pressure wave just has a frequency at a least which the normal human ear can’t ear. The normal cutoff point in terms of hertz for human ability is at 20,000 Hertz. Any vibrations thatt vibrate at a higher rate will be indetectable by the human ear. A good example of an animal using ultrasound to communicate with each other are bats.

Our human ears can only pick up sounds that are within a certain frequency range. Blue whales are known for making sounds that have frequencies that are below the range at which humans can hear. This is known as “Infrasound”. Infrasound frequency range is from 0-20 Hertz.

Some other common types of applications of ultrasound is to detect objects and measure distances. Remember that submarines use ultrasound and echo location to figure out the territory that the submarine is swimming through. The technology is also used in Fisher Finder type units that are found attached to a person’s personal fishing boats, to figure out the depth, and overall structure of the ground below the water, as well as find any moving objects/fish.