Two years ago, I provided my well-reasoned opinion on the Revitive Ultrasound Therapy companion: the Revitive Medic.
My dedicated article has been viewed over 100,000 times, with readers spending an average of over 8 minutes on the page. Based on this, I concluded that the article was rather helpful…
And here I am today, writing my review on the Revitive Ultrasound Therapy.
I feel even more qualified to do so as a physiotherapist, considering that ultrasound therapy is part of my therapeutic toolkit… in principle.
Once again, the device boasts significant promises of effectiveness: “Accelerates the healing of muscle injuries,” “Treats a variety of recent or old injuries,” “Combats muscle pain at its source”…
Let’s see if it lives up to those claims!
My objective is as follows:
- To address the main questions from internet users and my patients regarding ultrasound and the Revitive Ultrasound Machine.
- To provide my professional opinion as a physiotherapist, which is based on clinical studies regarding its effectiveness and side effects, in addition to my own professional experience.
- To enable you to make an informed decision regarding the purchase and/or use of the Revitive Ultrasound Therapy, based on your own assessment of the benefit-to-risk ratio in your specific case.
Enjoy reading! 🙂
Last update: August 2023
What is the Revitive Ultrasound Therapy?
Revitive Ultrasound Therapy is a device developed by the company Revitive. It comes in the form of a probe that can be applied to different parts of the body at home.
How does it work?
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use it:
- Turn on the device and make simple adjustments (low, medium, or high intensity and a duration of 5, 10, or 15 minutes).
- Apply a conductive gel to the head of the device.
- Place the probe on the area of the body you want to treat while continuously moving it (for example, making slow circular motions).
- The device emits ultrasonic waves that have both mechanical and thermal effects.
- The ultrasound waves penetrate the various tissues to different depths (depending on the frequency and intensity settings), theoretically causing a defibrillating, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory effect.
- After a few minutes, stop the device.
The manufacturer provides recommendations in the user manual regarding the settings based on the specific issue you are addressing.
What is the price of Revitive Ultrasound Device?
The price of this new device is around 166,99 $CA, regardless of where you purchase it.
It is not listed as a device covered by health insurance or private health plans, so you will not be reimbursed if you purchase it.
The device operates in the same way as ultrasound devices used by physiotherapists. The main difference is that the Revitive Ultrasound Therapy is portable and designed for individual use. Its frequency is also lower.
Physiotherapists have been using ultrasound therapy since the 1960s.
When to use it according to Revitive?
According to the brand Revitive, which manufactures and sells the Revitive Ultrasound Therapy, it can be used to treat and accelerate the healing of:
- Strains and sprains
- Sports injuries
- Tendon and ligament injuries
All of these are referred to as “muscle injuries” or “soft tissue injuries.”
It is also claimed to provide pain relief associated with these issues.That’s what the brand says, and these are already ambitious promises!
However, in the 14-page user manual, amidst lengthy texts, the following can be found:
So, in theory, according to the brand, you should apply the Revitive for 6 weeks, 1 to 2 times per day, to start experiencing its effectiveness!
Throughout this article, I will try to determine if this claim holds true: Are there studies that actually demonstrate that people are truly healed or at least relieved after using it? Are ultrasound therapies effective when evaluated reliably?
The Revitive company states that the device can accelerate the healing of muscle injuries while providing pain relief. It is important to verify the reliability of these ambitious claims!
Reviews of the Revitive Ultrasound Therapy
Before delving into studies on the benefits (or side effects) of ultrasound therapy, let’s review some commonly found reviews on the subject.
Why? Because most people rely on such reviews before deciding to purchase or use something.
It’s completely human: we want to see if something has worked for others in a similar situation before trying it ourselves!
However, relying solely on these reviews has its limitations. That’s what I will try to illustrate here.
Manufacturer’s Reviews on Revitive Ultrasound
As expected, the people who manufacture or market the Revitive Ultrasound Therapy present it in a highly positive manner. They provide extensive text, videos, and extremely positive customer reviews.
Here, for example, is a testimonial that can be found on the Revitive website:
The company will not shoot itself in the foot and, of course, presents a positive review.
However, it is somewhat vague: what do they mean by a “good result”?
- Are the pains relieved? Eliminated?
- Is the “chronic tendonitis” cured?
- Can she resume weightlifting and sports to the extent she desires (as she is seen with a dumbbell)?
- Have these effects been sustained over time?
- Did she do other things concurrently that may contribute to these beneficial effects?
The problem is that this testimonial displayed by the brand contradicts what they state in their manual: “Positive effects should be observed after 6 weeks.”
Not after 3 sessions!
These contradictory elements greatly diminish the confidence I could potentially have in the brand.
Moreover, regardless of the testimonial being positive or negative, we can reasonably question all these points… That’s the limitation of testimonials.That’s why, personally, when it comes to health matters, I only partially rely on them to make decisions, and especially on those relayed by the brand!
User Reviews on Revitive Ultrasound
I imagine you’re like me and don’t simply rely on reviews provided solely by the brand. You ask around or visit other websites.
And you will find other positive testimonials. And negative ones, like this one on Amazon:
And generally, there are very few neutral testimonials. Often, people won’t take the time to leave a review if they were indifferent.These reviews already help form a somewhat more informed opinion. When on an “independent” website, you have access to a broader range of reviews.
However, as we’ve seen, testimonials still have their limitations.
How can you know if you’re more likely to be on the side of satisfied users rather than dissatisfied ones when using the device?
Some people then seek other opinions. Those from doctors, healthcare professionals, physiotherapists… in short, the “medical community.”
Medical Opinions on Revitive Ultrasound Therapy
One of the reasons I wrote this article is this: there are NO medical opinions on the Revitive Ultrasound Therapy. At least not at the time of writing and based on my research.
However, there are tons of medical opinions on ultrasound therapy in general. These are mostly published in the academic world, in scientific journals.
In the rest of this article, I will rely on these famous studies. And specifically, the more rigorous ones, to see if ultrasound therapy truly accelerates the healing of muscle injuries and provides pain relief!
You will find all the references at the end of the article.
What the studies say on the benefits of ultrasound therapy?
There are several hundred studies on the therapeutic use of ultrasound, which is our focus here. However, not all of them are specific to muscle injuries, as ultrasound is used in other medical fields such as kidney diseases.
There are still a sufficient number of studies on the effects of ultrasound for researchers to conduct what is called systematic reviews and meta-analyses. These studies allow for:
- Searching and gathering all the studies on a particular topic.
- Selecting the best and most reliable studies among them.
- Synthesizing the findings to determine the effectiveness of the treatment and in which cases it should be recommended.
These are the studies that I have focused on, specifically those examining the healing or relief of:
- Muscle pain
- Tendon problems (tendonitis) and ligament injuries (sprains)
These are the issues for which people have the most questions regarding the effect of the Revitive ultrasound.
An important point to note is that these studies focus on ultrasound therapy used by physiotherapists and not specifically on the Revitive ultrasound (which, to my knowledge, has not been the subject of specific studies). It is reasonable to assume that the Revitive ultrasound is generally less powerful/efficient than conventionally used devices.
You can refer to its technical specifications for power and intensity:
And if we compare it to one of the main ultrasound devices used by physiotherapists, the Chattanooga brand (Intellect Mobile 2 Ultrasound):
|Technical Specifications||Revitive Ultrasound||Chattanooga Intellect Mobile 2 Ultrasound|
|Power Supply||Input: 100-240V AC, 1.2A, 50/60Hz||100-240V AC, 1.0 to 0.42A, 50/60Hz|
|Output Power||0.5 to 1.2W/cm²||2 to 3W/cm²|
Is Revitive Ultrasound Effective for Tendinitis?
Tendinopathies (commonly referred to as “tendinitis”) are among the most frequent and bothersome tendon injuries. They mainly affect:
- The shoulder (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, rotator cuff)
- The elbow (tennis elbow, epicondylitis)
- The Achilles tendon (foot/leg) (example: Achilles tendon rupture)
- The knee: see my article on the duration of knee tendinitis (coming soon)
- The wrist
- The hip
There are dozens of treatments aimed at accelerating their healing or relieving the associated pain, and ultrasound therapy is one of them.
We have a recent literature review on this subject, and here’s what it tells us:
“Ultrasound is a therapeutic modality that has been shown to non-invasively induce laboratory effects in tendons that could theoretically promote healing. However, the evidence for the effectiveness of ultrasound is mixed. The current evidence is insufficient to conclude which ultrasound modalities or parameters are the most effective.”Smallcomb 2022
In simpler terms (hopefully!):
- Studies on the subject are of low quality.
- Results are inconsistent, sometimes showing a small effect, sometimes no effect.
- While ultrasound therapy has a physiological effect on tendons in a laboratory setting, it is unclear whether this effect is sufficient to relieve pain or expedite the healing of tendon injuries in real-life situations.
Two other reviews focus on specific tendon issues and conclude:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome (Cochrane, 2013): “There is only poor-quality evidence from very limited data to suggest that therapeutic ultrasound may be more effective than placebo for short- or long-term symptom improvement in people with carpal tunnel syndrome. More methodologically rigorous studies are needed to determine the effectiveness and safety of therapeutic ultrasound in the treatment of this syndrome.”
- Rotator cuff tendinopathy (Desmeules, 2015): “Based on low to moderate-quality evidence, therapeutic ultrasound provides no benefit compared to placebo or advice, laser therapy, with or without exercise.”
Is Revitive Ultrasound Effective for Osteoarthritis?
Knee osteoarthritis is the most common form of osteoarthritis, and it is therefore logically the one on which the effectiveness of ultrasound therapy is most evaluated. There is a recent systematic review that compiles all the studies on this topic.
Here are its conclusions:
“Significant recommendations for clinical practice cannot be made due to the small number of studies and the low methodological quality of the studies deemed eligible for this review.”Dantas 2021
The authors selected only 4 studies, which were of the highest quality available. However, their quality was still very low.
In the field of healthcare, if we have a few low-quality studies that do not show a significant effect, it is more reasonable to assume that a treatment is no more effective than a placebo. Why?
Partly due to what is known as publication bias: there is a tendency to publish only studies that show a positive effect.
It is reasonable to extend these results to osteoarthritis in general, not just knee osteoarthritis.
Despite several decades of existence, ultrasound therapy has not proven its effectiveness against osteoarthritis. It is not effective in relieving pain, let alone slowing down or preventing the progression of cartilage damage.
Effective for Pain?
Ultrasound therapy has been primarily tested for pain relief in:
- Chronic low back pain
- Chronic neck pain
Here are the conclusions from research teams that have compiled studies on these topics.
Low Back Pain
“While there is evidence that therapeutic ultrasound may have a small effect on improving short-term lumbar function compared to placebo, the certainty of the evidence is very low. The actual effect is likely to be substantially different. There are few high-quality randomized trials, and the available trials were very small. Current evidence does not support the use of therapeutic ultrasound in the management of chronic low back pain.”Cochrane, 2020
Conclusion: Ultrasound therapy is not recommended for treating or relieving chronic back pain.
“Given the limited number of trials and conflicting results, we cannot recommend the use of ultrasound alone for chronic neck pain.”Noori, 2020
Another review is slightly more optimistic (Quing, 2021) and mentions an effect on pain despite the low quality of the studies, which it acknowledges. However, the pain reduction compared to placebo or other treatments is only 0.5 to 1 point on a scale of 10!
Taking into account all the studies and reviews published on the subject, as well as the typical biases in the publication system, it is reasonable to believe that ultrasound therapy does not provide better pain relief for neck pain compared to a placebo.
What about other types of pain?
There is a review specifically focused on the effects of ultrasound on chronic joint pain in general, particularly in the knee, hip, and shoulder.What does it say? I believe you’re starting to anticipate its response…
“When used alone, ultrasound treatment may not have a significant impact on functional improvement, but it may be a reasonable adjunct to consider with other common modalities. Further trials are needed to define the true effect of low-intensity ultrasound treatment on knee, shoulder, and hip pain.”Aiyer, 2020
To put it bluntly, despite the numerous studies conducted, the effectiveness of ultrasound therapy for pain relief or tendon healing is not established.
Effective for Sprained Ankles?
Unsurprisingly, ultrasound therapy does not bring the expected effects for ankle sprains.
Ultrasound therapy has shown little beneficial effects on overall improvement, pain, or weight-bearing capacity in acute ankle sprains. A follow-up of 2 to 4 weeks suggested that most participants would recover regardless of ultrasound usage.Verhagen 2013
These conclusions are similar to a 2011 Cochrane review on the same subject.
After this overview of the main study syntheses on the effectiveness of ultrasound therapy, here are 3 key takeaways:
- Studies on the effectiveness of therapy ultrasound are of very low quality. However, it is relatively easy to technically set up an ultrasound placebo.
- The vast majority of reviews evaluating the effects of ultrasound conclude that there is no evidence of efficacy for pain relief, let alone accelerated healing. Or they suggest a small effect on pain, potentially explained by publication biases rather than real effectiveness of ultrasound.
- Ultrasound therapy is not part of the recommended treatment modalities in the international scientific literature, despite the indications suggested by Revitive!
What are contraindications and side effects of Revitive ultrasound
Ultrasound therapy has not clearly demonstrated its effectiveness. But are ultrasound waves harmful?
In response to this question, it seems reasonable to clearly answer no: properly used ultrasound waves are not dangerous.
This applies to the Revitive ultrasound as well, which has:
- in Europe: the CE marking and is registered as a Class 2a medical device with the National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety in France ;
- in United-States: Revitive Medic (Circulation booster) is FDA-approved, but but I couldn’t find any mention of Revitive Ultrasound.
Most literature reviews on ultrasound therapy report that no side effects have been reported. The only reported, albeit rare, side effects include:
- Skin reactions
- Gastrointestinal disturbances (although it’s difficult to establish a causal link with ultrasound therapy)
- The theoretical risk of burns
The website and user manual of the Revitive provide a list of precautions to take, as well as contraindications (of which there are many). These contraindications refer to health conditions that prevent the safe use of the Revitive ultrasound. Here are some of the main contraindications:
- Malignant tumor
- Skin over electronic implants such as pacemakers and defibrillators
- Infected or open skin wounds
- Skin with vascular abnormalities
- Lower back or abdomen of a pregnant woman
- Deep vein thrombosis
- And more
I have written a more comprehensive article on the contraindications and risks associated with ultrasound therapy.
What can be done instead of the Revitive ultrasound that actually works?
Ultrasound therapy is not among the internationally recommended treatments for promoting better recovery nowadays.
So, what can you do instead?It depends, of course, on the specific problem you are facing!On my website, you will find numerous articles on common conditions treated in physiotherapy. Here is a selection:
- Natural treatments for knee osteoarthritis (coming soon)
- Rehabilitation for plantar fasciitis
- Reducing swelling in an ankle sprain
These articles provide alternative treatment approaches that have been proven effective in managing these specific conditions.
Comparison: Where to find an ultrasound device at the best price
Despite the information I provide in this article (which is rather negative regarding the effectiveness of the Revitive ultrasound), do you still wish to acquire one?
They can be purchased from almost anywhere at roughly the same prices:
- Amazon, eBay, and Walmart
- A lot of online shops
- Medical supply stores
- Manufacturer’s website
- and second-hand for a lower price (Platforms like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or local classified websites often have listings for used medical equipment, including ultrasound devices).
The price is usually: 166,99 $CA / 159,00 $AU / 115 € / 114,94 £GB.
What is my review on the Mericle Ultrasonic?
I have noticed that many of you have come across my article on the Revitive Ultrasound while searching for reviews on the Mericle Ultrasonic.
This device is sold at a low price on websites like Amazon or Walmart.
It is marketed as a “portable lymphatic relief ultrasound tool for the neck.” There is very little information available about the technology behind it: are these ultrasound waves?
It is also promoted as a posture corrector in addition to pain relief.
- the lack of reliable information about the technology behind it,
- the contradictory information about its features on different websites,
- the negative reviews available (although you can always find positive ones as well),
- our knowledge of human biology (pain is not significantly relieved by a simple gadget beyond a placebo effect; the promise to “correct posture” is quite vague),
My opinion: The Mericle Ultrasonic is not a device that I recommend turning to.
Conclusion: My Opinion on the Revitive Ultrasound
When faced with pain, acute or chronic muscle or tendon injuries, we often search for a “miracle” treatment, or at least one that is minimally effective. And if possible, a treatment that doesn’t require a significant financial investment, time, or energy.
It’s entirely understandable to have this reaction!
Ultrasound therapy is one of the treatments that we can consider, after weighing the pros and cons in each individual case.
Some people are fully aware of the results of the studies I mentioned here and still choose to use or recommend the Revitive ultrasound. Their reasons for doing so are likely personal and may vary greatly from person to person.
Personally, ultrasound therapy (whether using the Revitive or not) is not a treatment that I use, neither for myself nor for my patients, although some home physiotherapists do use the Revitive ultrasound.
My intention here is not to convince you to banish the Revitive from your life. I simply wanted to provide an overview of our current knowledge on the subject. It’s up to you to decide how to proceed!
Here’s what I wanted to tell you about this! I wish you a very good recovery! Do you have any comments or questions? Your comments are welcome 🙂 !
If you feel the need to learn more about the recovery period after a fracture, injury or surgery, I wrote this guide in eBook format:
You may also like:
Official website of the manufacturer: here
Manual Darty : here
Chattanooga : here
Smallcomb M, Khandare S, Vidt ME, Simon JC. Therapeutic Ultrasound and Shockwave Therapy for Tendinopathy: A Narrative Review. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2022 Aug 1;101(8):801-807. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001894. Epub 2021 Oct 4. PMID: 35859290; PMCID: PMC9304757.
Canal carpien : Page MJ, O’Connor D, Pitt V, Massy-Westropp N. Therapeutic ultrasound for carpal tunnel syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Mar 28;2013(3):CD009601. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009601.pub2. PMID: 23543580; PMCID: PMC7100871.
Tendinopathie de la coiffe : Desmeules F, Boudreault J, Roy JS, Dionne C, Frémont P, MacDermid JC. The efficacy of therapeutic ultrasound for rotator cuff tendinopathy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Phys Ther Sport. 2015 Aug;16(3):276-84. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2014.09.004. Epub 2014 Sep 23. PMID: 25824429.
Douleurs au dos chroniques. Ebadi S, Henschke N, Forogh B, Nakhostin Ansari N, van Tulder MW, Babaei-Ghazani A, Fallah E. Therapeutic ultrasound for chronic low back pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2020, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD009169.
Douleurs au cou. Qing W, Shi X, Zhang Q, Peng L, He C, Wei Q. Effect of Therapeutic Ultrasound for Neck Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2021 Nov;102(11):2219-2230. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2021.02.009. Epub 2021 Mar 17. PMID: 33722564.
Noori SA, Rasheed A, Aiyer R, Jung B, Bansal N, Chang KV, Ottestad E, Gulati A. Therapeutic Ultrasound for Pain Management in Chronic Low Back Pain and Chronic Neck Pain: A Systematic Review. Pain Med. 2020 Nov 7;21(7):1482-1493. doi: 10.1093/pm/pny287. PMID: 30649460.
Arthrose. Dantas LO, Osani MC, Bannuru RR. Therapeutic ultrasound for knee osteoarthritis: A systematic review and meta-analysis with grade quality assessment. Braz J Phys Ther. 2021 Nov-Dec;25(6):688-697. doi: 10.1016/j.bjpt.2021.07.003. Epub 2021 Sep 9. PMID: 34535411; PMCID: PMC8721076.
Douleurs articulaires chroniques. Aiyer R, Noori SA, Chang KV, Jung B, Rasheed A, Bansal N, Ottestad E, Gulati A. Therapeutic Ultrasound for Chronic Pain Management in Joints: A Systematic Review. Pain Med. 2020 Nov 7;21(7):1437-1448. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnz102. PMID: 31095336.
Entorse. Verhagen EA. What does therapeutic ultrasound add to recovery from acute ankle sprain? A review. Clin J Sport Med. 2013 Jan;23(1):84-5. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e31827e9f1d. PMID: 23269327.
van den Bekerom MP, van der Windt DA, Ter Riet G, van der Heijden GJ, Bouter LM. Therapeutic ultrasound for acute ankle sprains. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Jun 15;2011(6):CD001250. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001250.pub2. PMID: 21678332; PMCID: PMC7088449.
By Nelly Darbois
I love to write articles that are based on my experience as a physiotherapist and extensive research in the international scientific literature.
I live in the French Alps 🌞❄️ where I work as a physiotherapist and scientific editor for my own website, where you are.