Radial Shock Wave Therapy Conquers Professional Sports in Japan


Sporting events across the globe have been suspended due to COVID-19 and the Olympic Games in Tokyo have been moved to next year. To shorten the waiting time a little, we report in this issue about two professional sports teams from the hosting country. Read on for an insight into the world of professional sports in Japan as seen through the eyes of three trainers: two from basketball team ALVARK TOKYO and one from football team Júbilo IWATA. All of them are licensed judo therapists, a qualification based on a special Japanese osteopathy tradition known as »hone-tsugi« (»bone-setter«).

 Sasaki Tatsuya treating achilles tendinitis with the MASTERPULS MP100 »ultra«.

Left: Interview with Sasaki Tatsuya / Right: Sasaki Tatsuya treating achilles tendinitis with the MASTERPULS® MP100 »ultra«.


Interview with Sasaki Tatsuya, chief athletic trainer of Júbilo IWATA

What brought radial shock wave therapy to Júbilo IWATA?
One of our Korean teammates mentioned that focused shock wave therapy (F-SW) is a very well-known form of treatment in his country and that it has a good reputation. We knew that some hospitals use F-SW devices here in Japan, mainly clinically. Moreover, some of our players have already been in touch with shock wave therapy. We got the opportunity to try the radial MASTERPULS® MP100 »ultra« device and did a comprehensive evaluation. Ultimately, we decided to make the purchase based on usability, effectiveness and the feedback from our players. The MASTERPULS® MP100 »ultra« is easy to operate and manage in our team.

Where do you use the MASTERPULS® MP100 »ultra«?
The medical room where the team doctor, physiotherapists and athletic trainers work is located in our clubhouse beside the team ground. We look after the football players there and provide them with treatment as necessary, mainly before and after training sessions. As the MASTERPULS® MP100 »ultra« is light enough to carry and easy to use, we can even take it with us when we go on trips or to our training camps.

How do you perform treatment with MASTERPULS® MP100 »ultra«?
The MASTERPULS® MP100 »ultra« is often used in treatments whose aim is to reduce pain, particularly when dealing with the types of tendinitis that are common in athletes, such as plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinitis and patellar tendinitis. In my opinion, the MASTERPULS® MP100 »ultra« is totally different from other physiotherapy devices in terms of pain relief. It is really useful for treating cases in which other devices do not deliver the results we need, and it has widened the range of our treatment options. We often use the PERI-ACTOR® transmitters to treat the iliotibial band, tensor fasciae latae muscle and gluteus medius. From my point of view I would say that the advantage of the PERI-ACTOR® and SPINE-ACTOR® transmitters is to loosen a muscle when stretching is not so effective.

Thank you for the interview.

Background information: Júbilo IWATA
Founded in 1972 as the company football team at Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., Júbilo IWATA is now one of the most successful teams in the Japanese Professional Football League and international club football (where it is represented in the AFC Champions League). Many of its players have also been called up to Japan's national team


ALVARK TOKYO players and Arao Hirofumi, head trainer, and Ikarashi Kiyoshi, trainer at ALVARK TOKYO

Left: ALVARK TOKYO players in action / Right: Arao Hirofumi, head trainer, and Ikarashi Kiyoshi, trainer at ALVARK TOKYO


Interview with Arao Hirofumi, head trainer, and Ikarashi Kiyoshi, trainer at ALVARK TOKYO

Where do you mainly use radial shock wave therapy at ALVARK TOKYO?
As we have many injury cases especially in lower extremity in basketball, the main subject was the tightness of leg muscles such as lower leg, thigh and plantar muscles. Moreover, it is good for myofascial low back pain. We are satisfied not only with its effect just after the treatment, but also with the duration of its effect. It seems as long as the effect of acupuncture or longer. No one in our team knew about radial shock wave therapy until the installation of the MASTERPULS® MP100 »ultra«. But now, especially the players with muscle contracture who prefer strong treatment have a tendency to request this treatment.

What options does the MASTERPULS® MP100 »ultra« offer compared to other physiotherapy devices?
We think MASTERPULS® MP100 »ultra« can be used for daily care to prevent our basketball players from injuries and for improving their performance, not to mention the treatment of tendinopathies. The huge difference from other therapies is that we can feel the improvement just after the treatment. Both, we as the practitioners and our players can feel the relaxation of muscles in the cases with muscle contracture as soon as applying radial shock wave. We can achieve homogenous results no matter if the practitioner changes. The radial handpiece allows us to control the treatment parameters such as energy level and frequency without taking eyes off the treatment area, which is a huge advantage. Combining MASTERPULS® MP100 »ultra« with other physiotherapy devices or manual therapies brings even better results by complementing each.

What protocol do you apply?
We have recently begun varying the protocol that we apply before and after training sessions, even when it comes to treating the same parts of the body. For example, we set the energy level lower before training just to relieve tension in the muscles, and then we raise the energy level after training. We also apply treatment with a lower energy level and fewer pulses as games are approaching.

Which transmitters do you use at ALVARK TOKYO?
We only used the R15 transmitter at first, but now we‘ve got to grips with a whole range – including one that offers deeper penetration when treating deep tissue in hamstrings, for example. For chronic back pain, we use both radial and SPINE-ACTOR® transmitters. We have seen improvements in the ROM (range of motion) of both forward and backward bending after treatment, and the players have been able to feel this too.

Thank you for the interview.

Background information: ALVARK TOKYO
Founded in 1948 as the Toyota company basketball club, the team currently plays in the B.League, the Japanese professional basketball league. Known for its powerful performances, the team has won two B.League titles in a row.

Ikarashi Kiyoshi treating an ALVARK TOKYO player

Ikarashi Kiyoshi treating an ALVARK TOKYO player with radial shock waves