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Extracorporeal Shock Wave Technology (ESWT)


I never really liked that name but it’s technically correct from a scientific perspective. A bit misleading and ambiguous though, especially for an average layperson. But, like some wise philosopher probably once said, “There is more to it when you make sense of it.”

Let’s break it down.

In physics, a shock wave is defined as a high-energy pressure wave formed by the sudden compression of the medium through which the wave moves (in our case the medium is water or tissue). Extracorporeal simply means the waves are initially being created outside of the body and then delivered to produce some effect (in our case they are delivered through soft tissue to excite the body to heal).

It is technically acoustic or sound energy.

So the reference to Jack Nicholson being blasted into submission in “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest”?  That’s not what a shock wave is. That’s actually electro-shock therapy and we are certainly not administering that to man’s best friend!

It is interesting how some technologies sound ‘sexy’ or ‘cool’ and others sound scary based on the name alone.  ‘Stem cell therapy’ sounds really high tech and exciting – and if you add the controversy surrounding embryonic stem cells (nothing related to what is used in veterinary medicine, by the way), people can get really excited about it.  The fact is, though, that none of the stem cell products available have the proven clinical efficacy of true VersaTron shock wave.  Same thing with lasers: laser therapy sounds pretty cool, but once again, the efficacy is not proven at the same level as shock wave.

Shock wave technology was developed in Germany and Switzerland – places known for precision and factual accuracy.  The scientists there decided to call it ‘shock wave’ because that’s what it is – even though it makes people think of electro-shock therapy…  Sort of like the old story of the Chevy Nova being marketed differently in Spanish speaking countries, because ‘no va’ means ‘doesn’t go’ in English…  But we had initial success with the name ‘shock wave’ in the equine market, and now we’re kind of stuck with it (although we will forgive any practitioner for marketing it to their clients as ‘high energy sound wave’ or ‘impulse’ or ‘acoustic wave’ if they see their clients’ eyes widen at the term ‘shock wave’).

We have recently initiated some marketing programs aimed at horse and pet owners to help educate them about the true benefits of VersaTron high energy focused shock wave therapy for a wide variety of healing indications and dispel any myths or fears that the name may suggest.