Short Wave Diathermy

Short Wave Diathermy

Diathermy is used in physical therapy and occupational therapy to deliver moderate heat directly to pathologic lesions in the deeper tissues of the body. Diathermy, whether achieved using short-wave radio frequency (range 1-100 MHz) or microwave energy (typically 915 MHz or 2.45 GHz), exerts physical effects and elicits a spectrum of physiological responses, the two methods differing mainly for their penetration capability.[ Surgically, the extreme heat that can be produced by diathermy may be used to destroy neoplasms, warts, and infected tissues, and to cauterize blood vessels to prevent excessive bleeding. The technique is particularly valuable in neurosurgery and surgery of the eye. The three forms of diathermy employed by physical and occupational therapists are ultrasound, short wave and microwave. The application of moderate heat by diathermy increases blood flow and speeds up metabolism and the rate of ion diffusion across cellular membranes. The fibrous tissues in tendons, joint capsules, and scars are more easily stretched when subjected to heat, thus facilitating the relief of stiffness of joints and promoting relaxation of the muscles and decrease of muscle spasms.

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