Radio Frequency Benefits


RADIOFREQUENCY TREATMENTS

FOR ANTI-AGEING, SKIN TIGHTENING (FACE/BODY) AND CELLULITE REMOVAL

High intensity, deep tissue radiofrequency is widely accepted to be the strongest body skin tightening treatment known today and arguably the best facial skin tightening technology and cellulite reduction technology too. Radiofrequency is also an amazing anti-ageing treatment that not only firms the skin but also boosts circulation and is proven to stimulate collagen and elastin production, for firmer, more elastic skin and overall skin rejuvenation.

As our specialisation at the LipoTherapeia clinic is facial skin tightening and body skin tightening/cellulite, we have worked for more than 8 years with radiofrequency. In order to know exactly what I am talking about and to offer the best to my clients, I have also intensively studied the Physics of radiofrequency in detail, reviewed all the research and assessed/tried hands-on most important machines. Having studied Physics at university in the past was quite useful for that.

On this page I would like to share some of my knowledge with you, so in the next several weeks I will be adding more and more articles about radiofrequency, especially technical information to help you decide what is the best radiofrequency treatment for yourself as a client or for your clinic as a practitioner.

However, for legal and practical reasons and for the sake of neutrality, I will not be able to suggest / provide information about a specific machine, treatment or clinic, neither reply to emails with specific technical queries about radiofrequency. Such emails will not be answered.

WHAT IS RADIOFREQUENCY & HOW IT WORKS

WHAT IS RADIOFREQUENCY TREATMENT?

Radiofrequency treatments have been used for more than five decades in physiotherapy and for two decades in aesthetic treatments. Radiofrequency treatments refer to high frequency electrical currents, 300kHz-40MHz.

Applied on the body or face at a lower frequency, electrical currents may produce muscle contraction or other effects. At "radio" frequencies, electrical currents produce just heat.

Depending on the machine you have, the protocols you apply and even the skin products you use (cream, gel etc), heat can be very superficial (e.g. focusing on epidermis for acne treatment), very deep (e.g. focusing in joints or muscles for physiotherapy) or anywhere in between. For aesthetic treatments, radiofrequency is focused on epidermis (acne, superficial skin tightening, skin rejuvenation); dermis (medium depth skin tightening, lifting, skin rejuvenation); subdermis (deep skin tightening, lifting, cellulite); or subcutaneous tissue (spot fat reduction).

RADIOFREQUENCY DIATHERMY

When heat is deep we are talking about radiofrequency diathermy or true radiofrequency. As applying heat on the epidermis can be achieved by all sorts of other means, including infrared, laser, hot water and even a hot pack, there is not much point in providing superficial radiofrequency per se, except in the case of acne.

The idea of RF is to mainly affect the deep tissues (dermis, subdermis, subcutaneous fat), while largely bypassing the epidermis. Affecting mainly the epidermis, while leaving the deeper tissues largely unaffected, is pointless, because as a result such treatment will burn the epidermis before the dermis or subdermis experience any therapeutic levels of heat.

MOST RF TREATMENTS FOCUS SO MUCH ON THE EPIDERMIS, THEY ARE NOT TRUE RADIOFREQUENCY

Unfortunately, however, this is what many radiofrequency machines provide: very superficial heating - hence all these burning/scarring cases you see on places websites realself.com with radiofrequency. True radiofrequency should not cause superficial burning. If it does, it's pointless. If for whatever reason you want to burn/ablate your skin (e.g. for deep peeling) there are CO2 lasers for that. True radiofrequency should leave the epidermis alone and focus deep in the skin - that was the reason why it was first invented. I will discuss this issue in more detail in other parts of this guide.

WHERE DOES THE NAME DERIVE FROM? DOES RF HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH RADIATION, RADIOACTIVITY OR MICROWAVES?

As radio communications happen to be of the same frequencies as those used for these treatments, they have been named radiofrequency treatments. However, there is nothing else common between radio communications/radiation/radioactivity and radiofrequency treatments. Radio communications/radiation/microwaves/radioactivity refer to electromagnetic waves, while radiofrequency treatments involve high frequency electricity - and in some cases a high frequency electromagnetic field - and that's it. Definitely no radiation, microwaves or radioactivity at all.

HOW DOES RADIOFREQUENCY TREATMENT WORK

As we discussed above, radiofrequency is a smart way to provide deep heating to tissues, without burning or irritating the epidermis in the process. According to research, intense heating on deep tissues has quite a few benefits: it boosts collagen and elastin production and blood circulation, for increased tightening and elasticity and overall skin rejuvenation. When applied quite deeply, it also stimulates fat release from fat cells, leading to spot far reduction and cellulite removal. And when applied a bit more superficially it also helps tighten pores and inhibit the action of sebaceous glands, leading to a clearer complexion with less acne or enlarged pores.

THE EXACT MECHANISM

With radiofrequency treatment, electrical current enters the skin from one pole, which is charged positively, and then exits the skin from another, which is charged negatively. A split of a second later, the polarity changes and what used to be a plus pole becomes minus and vice versa. This happens hundreds of thousands or millions of times a second.

Now if the frequency of the current was much lower, for example 100Hz (one hundred such polarity alternations per second) then we would have muscular contraction. Indeed such low frequencies are used in TENS machines for pain relief and in other physiotherapy machines for muscle rehabilitation etc.

As I mentioned earlier, at higher frequencies we do not have muscular contractions, we just have heat. This is because the frequency is so high that so called "motor nerves" are not fast enough to sense the polarity alternation, so no muscular contraction occurs.

MOLECULAR MOVEMENT = HEAT

Now the question is: how is heat being produced with radiofrequency?

The answer is simple. if you remember from high school Physics, heat is random molecular movement. With RF currents, the alternation of the current is so fast that no charge or no molecules ever really move towards one pole or the other. As a result, molecules just vibrate around a central position or simply rotate. This random molecular movement (vibration or rotation) manifests macroscopically as heat.

In a nutshell, this is how radiofrequency works: it vibrates our molecules, producing heat.

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