TECAR therapy is a generic acronym, which has been derived from an early radiofrequency device made by INDIBA®. It is used to describe non-ablative and non-invasive radiofrequency electric current devices. The ‘History’ tab goes into more detail about where this acronym comes from.
TECAR is an energy-based device that works with currents in a range from 0.3MHz to 1 MHz, although some operate up to 10MHz or higher, these limits are not considered strict. The main purpose of the radiofrequency device is to increase local tissue temperature. The electrically induced heat is historically known as diathermy. Diathermy is purported to trigger a chain reaction in the body, which is responsible for many therapeutic effects, one of them is stimulating the body’s natural repair processes.
In radiofrequency the local temperature increase is called hyperthermia. The effects of hyperthermia will depend on the temperature reached, how long temperature is maintained, as well as the protocol of application.
Some examples of issues that can be treated by hyperthermia;
Whilst the common use of TECAR is the aforementioned hyperthermia; it has been discovered through scientific research that 448 kHz is the optimum frequency to deliver a sub-thermal treatment which will maximise the bodies natural response. Sub-thermal means that the energy applied is not enough to significantly increase the local tissue temperature. These effects have been established as;
Sub-thermal application allows the use of radiofrequency (RF) in acute procedures and acute inflammation, where other types of RF devices are contraindicated.
There are 3 main areas in which non-ablative radiofrequency application can be used.
In therapy, it is used by physiotherapists for the rehabilitation of musculoskeletal conditions. It is widely found in professional sport to prepare their athletes for competition, post-competition recovery and in the treatment of acute/chronic injuries.
Doctors are increasingly using it in aesthetic medicine as a complementary technique to enhance surgery, filler treatment effects and as a non-invasive treatment for skin tightening and body contouring.
In the veterinary field, it is still relatively new but early research supports its use. Both Equine and small animals are benefitting from the technology. Devices are manufactured with increased safety considerations for this specialist area.
Currents are applied by means of two types of electrodes and a neutral (return) plate to close the current circuit. The first devices of this type were called ‘Recuperador electrónico’ by INDIBA® and had a single type of electrode which was a capacitive electrode (metallic electrode coated by an insulating material) (Fig 1). In 1991 the resistive electrode (a metallic electrode without insulating coating) was developed and formed the basis of the acronym TECAR, better known as monopolar radiofrequency.