Acoustic Wave Therapy vs. Shockwave Therapy: What’s the Difference?

With the advancement of technology, the field of cellular medicine has been revolutionized. The introduction of pulse wave therapies, notably Acoustic Wave Therapy and Shockwave Therapy, has brought about a significant change in treating various health conditions and injuries. This article delves into a detailed comparison between Acoustic Wave Therapy and Shockwave Therapy, shedding light on their key differences, benefits, and potential drawbacks.

Introduction to Pulse Wave Therapies

Pulse wave therapies are non-invasive therapeutic procedures that utilize low-intensity acoustic waves to treat specific health issues that emerge from poor blood circulation. These therapies not only help in improving blood flow by eliminating plaque deposits but also stimulate the growth of new blood vessels, repair damaged tissues, and reduce scar tissue. The two primary forms of pulse wave therapy are Acoustic Wave Therapy and Shockwave Therapy.

Acoustic Wave Therapy: An Overview

Acoustic Wave Therapy is a form of pulse wave therapy that is primarily used to treat light and superficial injuries. This therapy uses a specialized device to direct low-intensity sound waves at the affected area, thereby promoting the body’s natural healing process.

  • Common Applications: It is frequently used for treating conditions such as tennis elbow, bursitis, and plantar fasciitis. It’s also gaining popularity for treating cosmetic issues like stretch marks.
  • How it Works: The technology works most effectively when the waves are closest to their source and skin surface. If they travel a long distance, they lose efficacy.
  • Safety and Results: Acoustic Wave Therapy is completely safe and carries no risk of side effects. 

Shockwave Therapy: An Overview

Shockwave Therapy, also known as extracorporeal shockwave therapy, is another form of pulse wave therapy that is predominantly used to treat more severe injuries. This FDA-approved treatment delivers shock waves to the injured areas of the body to promote healing and reduce pain.

  • Common Applications: Shockwave Therapy is especially useful for treating chronic conditions such as facial pain, back pain, tendinitis, and other injuries.
  • How it Works: Treatments rely on a special shockwave therapy machine that transmits energy to an applicator that generates shockwaves. The device is fully adjustable, and your technician can change the pressure and frequency of the waves as needed.
  • Safety and Results: Shockwave Therapy is particularly beneficial for treating lingering pain from a past injury. 

Acoustic Wave Therapy vs. Shockwave Therapy: Key Differences

While both Acoustic Wave Therapy and Shockwave Therapy fall under the umbrella of pulse wave therapies, there are some distinct differences between the two that are worth noting.

Depth of Treatment

One of the primary differences between Acoustic Wave Therapy and Shockwave Therapy lies in the depth of treatment. Acoustic Wave Therapy is generally used for more superficial injuries, with the sound waves having limited penetrative ability. On the contrary, Shockwave Therapy can reach deeper tissues, making it more suitable for treating significant injuries and chronic pain.

Energy Emission and Impulse Rate

Acoustic Wave Therapy employs a slower impulse rate with limited energy emission. This makes it ideal for treating larger areas underneath the skin. On the other hand, Shockwave Therapy uses a faster impulse rate and higher energy emission, which allows for precise targeting of specific areas.

Treatment Duration and Number of Sessions

While patients undergoing Acoustic Wave Therapy often start noticing results within a few days, Shockwave Therapy may require multiple sessions before noticeable improvements are seen.

Making the Right Choice: Acoustic Wave Therapy vs. Shockwave Therapy

Choosing between Acoustic Wave Therapy and Shockwave Therapy largely depends on the type of injury or condition, its severity, and the depth of treatment required. For superficial injuries and cosmetic issues, Acoustic Wave Therapy could be the preferable choice. However, for deep-seated chronic pain or significant injuries, Shockwave Therapy might be more beneficial.

Ultimately, it’s crucial to consult with a trusted medical professional or physiotherapist to determine the most suitable treatment option for your specific needs.


Both types of therapy are new treatments in the field of cellular medicine. However, understanding their differences is crucial for making an informed decision about the best treatment option.

At the end of the day, the choice between Acoustic Wave Therapy and Shockwave Therapy will depend on the specific condition or injury, its severity, and the individual patient’s needs. Consulting with a professional, knowledgeable, and empathetic medical practitioner can guide you towards the most beneficial and effective treatment.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Get on the path to comprehensive healing and long-term pain relief today.

Accessibility Toolbar

Request an Appointment
Scroll to Top