Shockwave Therapy

Latest update: July 14, 2024
Medically reviewed by: Jennifer Trent MD, FAAD


Acoustic wave therapy, also known as shockwave therapy, is a non-invasive treatment designed to smooth out cellulite dimples and firm the skin. The technology transmits two high-energy waves that move at different frequencies to the lower depths of the skin. The pressure waves heat the fibrous septa and cause them to break, which releases the skin. The heat increases collagen production to prevent the fat from protruding and creating dimples. The treatment is mainly used on the butt and thighs to help reduce the appearance of cellulite and provide long-term results.

The acoustic waves also boost the metabolism and eliminate fat cells. They improve blood circulation and promote lymphatic drainage.

Patients trying to reduce cellulite dimples may turn to cellulite creams, body brushing, or liposuction. These treatments are not adequate or efficient enough to target the underlying causes of cellulite as they only target the upper layers of the skin. Liposuction may even worsen the appearance of cellulite in the long run by creating deeper indentations in the skin.

Acoustic waves penetrate deep within the skin to resolve the problem with the fibrous septa that bind down the skin and result in the appearance of cellulite dimples. The treatment effectively improves cellulite after 4-5 sessions. It is pain-free with no downtime. It can also firm up the skin, reduce subcutaneous fat, and fade scars and stretch marks.  

A typical acoustic wave therapy session will last 20-30 minutes for two treatment areas. The procedure has been described as feeling like an intense massage, but when areas right above a bone are treated, there may be slight discomfort. In such cases, doctors will adjust the intensity. Patients will need to lie flat during the treatment. Oil is applied to the skin to allow more effective energy transference as the device is rolled over the body. The first planar waves that penetrate the skin help make the fat cells more permeable. The second radial wave will push the fat out of the cells and encourage blood flow and drainage.

After 2-3 weeks, patients will notice that the skin has improved elasticity. Over time, cellulite dimples will disappear.  For optimal results, doctors recommend two sessions per week for a total of 10 sessions.
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How Does Shockwave Therapy Help with Cellulite?

Nurse Practitioner Martyna Erskine talks about the use of Shockwave Therapy to help treat Cellulite. She explains the technology and talks about how the controlled trauma stimulates the tissue to grow more arteries and recover more effectively. She describes the various conditions that the device can be used to treat. She explains how many treatments are needed and how often they should be scheduled. Martyna performs the procedure on a patient’s upper thigh and buttock region.

Shockwave for Cellulite

Joan Johnson, of “Beauty over 50 on a budget” fame, shares her experience of using Shockwave to treat cellulite. She explains how cellulite forms and describes the way the device works. She describes how she felt about the treatment to start with and talks through what changed for her. She demonstrates the use of the device and shows before and after pictures. Will the results keep her motivated?