According to recent studies, over 90% of women are affected by cellulite. Cellulite does not discriminate – it affects women of all ages, backgrounds, and races. Yet for some reason it is still considered embarrassing and ‘ugly’. This is why so many women turn to things like over the counter ‘miracle’ creams and salon treatments in hopes of getting rid of their embarrassing ‘cottage cheese’ legs. In fact, British women spend over £30m on slimming creams each year! Unfortunately, most of these are simply gimmicks and don’t actually reduce the appearance of cellulite. With that said, there is a new treatment on the market offering some hope to women around the globe – it is called Acoustic Wave Therapy.
What are Acoustic Waves?
Acoustic waves, sometimes referred to as pressure waves or shock waves, are delivered by machines known as lithotripters. These have been used in medicine for many years to treat conditions like kidney stones. They work by actually breaking down the stones. More recently, studies have revealed that such waves can actually work to stimulate metabolic processes and improve the elasticity of connective tissues.
How does it work?
When someone goes for an acoustic wave treatment a handheld device is used to create acoustic waves. These waves are passed over the affected areas and exert a certain amount of pressure that spreads throughout the different layers into the skin, creating heat and stimulating the breakdown of fat through a process known as ‘lipolysis’. At the same time, it generates a build-up of heat energy and destroys collagen strands and fat cells. The body, a natural healer, then begins to rebuild the strands of collagen leading to improved texture, firmness, and overall appearance of the skin.
Acoustic wave therapy may also work by improving circulation within the skin, thereby reducing the appearance of cellulite.
Such a treatment is delivered with a ‘lipotripsy’ device (‘lipo’ meaning ‘fat’ and ‘tripsy’ meaning ‘crushed’). It is non-invasive and non-surgical.
How long does a treatment take? And how many treatments are needed?
The length of treatments depends on the size of the affected area, but most can be completed within 30-60 minutes. For best results it is recommended that you have two treatments per week, for a period of up to 10 weeks. Results should begin to be visible within 3-4 weeks.
Who can get Acoustic Wave Therapy?
As long as you are in generally good health, you should be a good candidate for the acoustic wave treatment. You should not take this treatment without permission from your GP if:
- you who have any skin diseases or infections in the treatment area,
- you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- you have a current illness or infection
- you have a pace-maker
- you are being treated for cancer or blood clotting disorders.
What does the procedure entail?
A medical questionnaire will be taken by the technician administering the treatment. Benefits and risks associated with the procedure will be discussed.
The skin will be lightly cleansed in preparation for the treatment. The probe will be passed over the surface of the skin for the duration of the treatment.
Is it painful or dangerous?
Acoustic wave therapy treatments are not painful, and there are no known major side effects associated with it – it is considered to be completely safe. With that said, you may experience slight bruising and some discomfort afterwards (similar to having a massage).
What pre and post treatment measures need to be taken?
There are no pre or post treatment measures that need to be taken with this type of treatment. You can return to work immediately following a session.
Where can I get an acoustic wave treatment?
Acoustic wave therapy does not need to be administered by a medical professional. It is commonly performed by non-medical therapists in both clinics and salons. Some machines may also be marketed for home use.
Is acoustic wave therapy effective?
While extensive testing has yet to be done, 120 women participated in two studies by Dr. Christ in Switzerland. It is claimed that, of those women, the average inch loss after using acoustic wave therapy was 3 inches, cellulite saw a 50% reduction, and skin tightening (as measured on a pressure sensor monitor) was improved by up to 110%. While more studies need yet to be completed, the results are promising.