Cellulite Reduction – acoustic waves vs. ultrasound waves

‘I hate my cellulite!’ If you are a woman, you’ve surely heard or said this before. Ninety percent of women suffer from cottage cheese syndrome. And of these ninety percent, 100% absolutely hate it. After all, cottage cheese isn’t the most attractive food product ever made, so why would you want your legs to look like it? This is why so many women are now turning to expensive treatments and cures. Two popular treatments that are relatively similar in form are acoustic wave therapy and ultrasound cavitation. Let’s take a look at how the two are similar, as well as how they are different, to determine which is the better option of the two.

What are they?

Ultrasound Cavitation

Ultrasound Cavitation sends high energy ultrasound waves into the body, creating micro-bubbles (found in fatty tissue and interstitial liquid) that are filled with vapour. This causes the interstitial liquid to expand and contract, and leads to the explosion of fat cells. This process releases the water and fat into the body where the liver then processes them out.

Acoustic Wave Therapy

During acoustic wave therapy, sound, pressure, or shock waves are directed into different layers of the skin, creating heat and breaking down the fat within. Through this process (known as lipolysis), collagen strands and fat cells are destroyed. The body then naturally works to rebuild the collagen, leading to improved firmness and appearance of the skin.

How many treatments are needed?

Ultrasound Cavitation

Results vary based on body type and concern, but best results can be seen within 6-10 treatments

Acoustic Wave Therapy

While results can be seen within 3-5 weeks, it is recommended that treatments continue for up to 10 weeks at a rate of 2 treatments per week.

Who is eligible for treatment?

Ultrasound Cavitation

Ultrasound cavitation comes with a long list of conditions that make treatment unfit for many people. These conditions may include, but are not limited to HIV, heart disease, liver disease, pancreatic concerns, high cholesterol, and haemophilia. Those pregnant or breastfeeding should also not undergo ultrasound treatment.

Acoustic Wave Therapy

Anyone in generally good health should be a suitable candidate for acoustic wave therapy. With that being said it should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, those with an illness or infection, those with pacemakers, or those being treated for cancer or clotting disorders.


In terms of pain and post-treatment concerns, both types of treatment are considered to be relatively safe and pose little threat in terms of risk. slight bruising may be a concern with acoustic wave therapy, and ultrasound cavitation may pose the risk of slight bruising or blistering, both of which should subside after a few days. While there are no post treatment instructions for those receiving acoustic wave therapy, those undergoing ultrasound cavitation may be asked to avoid rigorous exercise, as well as maintain a negative calorie intake and healthy diet in the days following treatment.

One of the biggest differences between acoustic wave therapy and ultrasound cavitation is who is allowed to administer it. Acoustic wave therapy does not need to be administered by a medical professional and can be found in many clinics and salons. Ultrasound cavitation, on the other hand, does require delivery by trained and qualified medical professionals. As such, it may be more difficult to find.

Most importantly – which is more effective? This remains up for debate, as both treatments have show promise in studies. In one study regarding acoustic wave therapy, women saw a 50% reduction in the appearance of cellulite and in skin tightening. Science has also found ultrasound cavitation to be effective in reducing cellulite appearance as well.

So, which is the better treatment? In terms of effectiveness, more studies would need to be conducted to determine which treatment has better results. But when it comes to speed, ultrasound cavitation seems to one-up acoustic wave therapy, showing best results within 6-10 treatments (as opposed to the recommended 20 acoustic wave treatments). Neither treatment is considered dangerous, but acoustic wave therapy is definitely easier to find because it doesn’t have to be administered by a medical professional.

So the ultimate decision between acoustic wave and ultrasound cavitation is a hard one. I guess it really comes down to how much time and money you have. If you don’t have a lot of time but have a lot of money, ultrasound cavitation can provide results in only 6-10 treatments (but they are also a lot more expensive than acoustic wave treatments). If you have more time and less money, acoustic wave is a great option too – and a 50% reduction in cellulite sounds pretty promising to me!

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