Effects of a low-frequency sound wave therapy programme on functional capacity, blood circulation and bone metabolism in frail old men and women

Clin Rehabil. 2009 Oct;23(10):897-908. doi: 10.1177/0269215509337273. Epub 2009 Aug 28.


Objective: To evaluate the effects of a low-frequency sound wave therapy programme on functional capacity, blood circulation and bone metabolism of the frail elderly.

Design: Single-blind, randomized, controlled trial.

Setting: Two senior service centres.

Subjects: Forty-nine volunteers (14 males and 35 females) aged 62-93 years with up to 12 diagnosed diseases were allocated in either the intervention group (n = 30) or control group (n = 19).

Intervention: The intervention group underwent sound wave therapy, 3-5 times a week for 30 minutes per session over a period of 6 months. The control group received no intervention.

Main measurements: Blood pressure, functional capacity, mobility, bone density, biochemical markers, isometric muscle strength, balance, and skin surface temperature.

Results: Compared with the control group, the intervention group's mobility and the amount of self-reported kilometres walked per week increased by 3 km (P<0.05), while levels of cholesterol (4.97 (0.72) to 4.52 (0.65) mmol/L, P =0.019), low-density lipoprotein (2.82 (0.72) to 2.45 (0.61) mmol/L, P =0.022), bone markers of total osteocalcin (11.0 (6.5) to 10.3 (5.9) ng/mL, P =0.048)) and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase isoform 5b (2.50 (1.0) to 2.41 (1.1) IU/L, P =0.021)) decreased. The average skin surface temperature was significantly higher during active sessions at the end of the intervention than in the beginning (P = 0.004). No change was found during placebo sessions.

Conclusions: Low-frequency sound wave therapy may have the potential to promote well-being of frail elderly subjects via improved functional capacity, especially in subjects who are too frail to undertake exercise.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acid Phosphatase / blood
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Circulation
  • Bone Density*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Complementary Therapies*
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly*
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength
  • Osteocalcin / blood
  • Physical Endurance
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Tartrate-Resistant Acid Phosphatase
  • Vibration / therapeutic use*


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Isoenzymes
  • Osteocalcin
  • Acid Phosphatase
  • Tartrate-Resistant Acid Phosphatase