According to a published study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, the vibration from ultrasound speeds up the healing process by stimulating skin cells in wounds. Researchers from the University of Sheffield's department of biomedical science studied patients with chronic wounds, such as skin ulcers in diabetics and elderly. "Using ultrasound wakes up the cells and stimulates a normal healing process,” says lead author of the study Mark Bass, PhD. “Because it is just speeding up the normal processes, the treatment doesn't carry the risk of side effects that are often associated with drug treatments." Their pioneering research can help the more than 200,000 patients in the UK who suffer from chronic wounds, as well as the 11 million elderly, 3 million diabetics, and 10 million smokers who have difficulty healing. "Because ultrasound is relatively risk free, we could expect to see it in broad clinical use within three or four years."