Diathermy, all about this physiotherapy technique

It is likely that our physiotherapist has recommended several sessions of diathermy and we don’t even know what it is. It sounds like a rare disease, but the shots don’t go that way. It is a treatment that uses high-frequency currents and helps us relax, improve the health of damaged muscles, circulation and the nervous system. Throughout this text we will understand all the good that these diathermy sessions will bring us, as well as their uses and applications and possible contraindications.

Among the various advanced electrotherapy techniques that currently exist, there is diathermy, which is a painless treatment that has been shown to be effective in multiple injuries, and even for aesthetic purposes. Today we will learn everything about this deep and effective treatment that is gradually gaining the relevance it deserves, although it is not suitable for everyone, as we will see in the drawbacks.

According to experts and patients, it is a comfortable, painless and more or less quick treatment, since it depends on the severity of the injury. The bad thing is that not everyone can access this type of treatment. At the end of the text we will indicate the contraindications of this heat therapy with high intensity currents.

What is it and what is it for?

Diathermy has more than 30 years of experience behind it, only now the mechanisms are more modern and its uses and the objective of each treatment are better understood. In a few words, it is an electrode therapy based on the production of high-frequency waves that increase the temperature of the injured area in order to relax it, improve circulation, activate the nervous system, rehydrate, etc.

This therapy is used for injuries such as ankle sprains, fiber breakage, tendinopathies, contractures, and the like that we will see later. The objective of this particular therapy is to help speed up recovery from injuries, as it favors metabolism and the absorption of edema.

There are 2 types of diathermy modalities that can be applied to almost the entire body, depending on the type of injury and the area:

  • Capacitive: it is applied to the most superficial tissues, and is usually used in muscle recovery.
  • Resistive: it is more penetrating and helps to recover bones and ligaments.

Lesión en la muñeca

Uses and applications

Diathermy sessions usually last between 15 and 30 minutes , depending on the area, the injury and what the specialist indicates. We have already advanced some of the uses of this electrotherapy, and it is that it has many applications in daily injuries and damages ranging from ankle sprains, herniated discs, contractures, osteoarthritis, edema, low back pain, contusions, prostheses, diabetic ulcers, contractures, partial tears, strains, tendonitis, acne, stretch marks, allergic asthmatic bronchitis, vertigo, sinusitis, conical pelvic pain, hemorrhoids, fibromyalgia, broken bones, dislocations, osteoarthritis and arthritis, etc.

As we can see, it is not only used for physical health, such as a sprain, broken bone, strain or contracture, but it also has aesthetic applications that can help many patients get rid of scars, acne, eliminate wrinkles, reduce flaccidity of the neck, reaffirm skin on the arms, abdomen and legs, lift the breasts and buttocks, etc.

The uses and applications of this thermotherapy system are infinite and that is thanks to its main benefits, which are to promote internal hydration, microcirculation in the area , relax the muscles, promote lymphatic drainage, improve cell regeneration, activate the internal metabolism, stimulates the creation of collagen and elastin.

One of the most common applications in aesthetic centers is usually to reaffirm the facial oval to eliminate fat and sagging of the neck. Also the removal of wrinkles and pronounced expression lines, but experts agree that treatments are most effective before those marks and wrinkles are deep and visible.

Blurring spots and scars, especially from caesarean section, is usually another of the most requested applications for this focused heat treatment. Eliminating eye bags is usually one of the most requested actions in aesthetic medicine centers, and also in treatments against baldness.

There are usually many sessions, but there are cases that obtain better results than others, although the best applications are to prevent flaccidity, remove fat and speed up recovery from injuries such as those mentioned above.


Diathermy is a painless treatment and is suitable for men and women, but this has a small print, since not every man or woman can undergo a thermotherapy treatment. There are certain risks when we are subjected to high frequencies, especially if we are part of certain population groups.

For example, pregnant women are prohibited, no matter what stage of pregnancy they are in, they should not undergo this electrode treatment. And if a physical therapist encourages us to do it, we better change professionals.

It is also not recommended for people who have a pacemaker , as certain complications could arise and put the patient’s life at risk. Nor those people who take anticoagulant medications or are hemophiliacs. Apart from those with thermal hypersensitivity or patients with peripheral arterial disease.

Those people who suffer from tumors should not be exposed to this type of physiotherapy techniques either, no matter how effective they are, no matter how much they offer it to us, our desire to try it is very great, if we have any type of tumor, this option is ruled out immediately, since It is useless in cancer treatment.

If at the time we are going to undergo a diathermy session we are going through an infectious process, we must notify the professional and postpone the appointment for later. But later means when we are 100% healed.

This therapy is also not recommended for babies or young children, so other alternatives will have to be sought to accelerate the healing of their injuries, or alleviate the pain of their illness, such as allergic asthmatic bronchitis.