Medical diathermy is the production of heat in the body tissues for therapeutic purposes by high frequency currents, insufficient in amount, however, to produce temperatures high enough to destroy the tissues or impair their vitality. These currents are applied locally by three methods: (1) with contact metal electrodes, (2) with a high frequency alternating electric field, or (3) with a high frequency electromagnetic field.
The first method is the one by which conventional diathermy is applied. The frequency of oscillations is usually from one-half million to two million cycles per second.
The second method for the local application of high frequency currents is the use of a high frequency electric field.1 The frequency of oscillations may be from ten million to one hundred million cycles per second. The local part to be treated is placed between two insulated electrodes. The electrodes are not in contact with the skin, as with
COULTER JS. MEDICAL DIATHERMY. JAMA. 1936;106(3):209–214. doi:10.1001/jama.1936.02770030004053
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