Use of Electrotherapy for Disease Treatment (2022)

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The issue of the use of electrotherapy for blood electrification and disease treatment
By: Steve Haltiwanger, M.D., C.C.N.

I have been asked to write a synopsis of the scientific uses of electrotherapy devices. I am a medical doctor who was Board Certified in Neurology and Psychiatry in 1985. I have worked with and done research with a variety of electrotherapy devices for twenty years. I have lectured all over the world on the electrical properties of human cells and I have written a number of papers and authored chapters in books about electrotherapy. Please refer to my CV for further background information about my credentials.

It is my opinion that there is a scientific basis for the use of electrotherapy devices in the treatment of many illnesses. I have been asked to be brief, which limits the scope of my review. Since a full review of electrotherapy would fill many books, I have included in the appendix of this paper several key documents and a number of scientific abstracts that substantiate my opinion. I have also prepared a second document entitled “Electrotherapy in the treatment of cancer and viruses - examples of papers”.

This second document includes many US patents that describe how electronic devices can be used for the treatment of a variety of human diseases.

One of the issues in this case is the use of electrical devices (Black Box, Magnetic Pulse Generators) for the use of blood electrification with the claim that use of such devices can be used to treat infections such as viruses, bacteria and yeast and diseases such as cancer. There is a historical basis in the scientific literature for these claims.

In 1990, Lyman and colleagues reported that the passage of 50 to 100 microamperes of D.C. electrical current through Aids infected blood would inactivate the Aids virus and stop viral replication (Lyman et al., 1990). This research was presented at the First International Symposium on Combination Therapies (an AIDS conference) in Washington DC on March 14th, 1991.

SCIENCE NEWS briefly reported on this experiment on March 30, 1991 under the headline:
Shocking Treatment Proposed For AIDS

“Zapping the AIDS virus with low voltage electric current can nearly eliminate its ability to infect human white blood cells cultured in the laboratory, reports a research team at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. William D Lyman and his colleagues found that exposure to 50 to 100 microamperes of electricity - comparable to that produced by a cardiac pacemaker - reduced the infectivity of the AIDS virus (HIV) by 50 to 95 percent. Their experiments, described March 14 in Washington D.C., at the First International Symposium on Combination Therapies, showed that the shocked viruses lost the ability to make an enzyme crucial to their reproduction, and could no longer cause the white cells to clump together - two key signs of virus infection. The finding could lead to tests of implantable electrical devices or dialysis-like blood treatments in HIV-infected patients Lyman says. In addition, he suggests that blood banks might use electricity to zap HIV, and vaccine developers might use electrically incapacitated viruses as the basis for an AIDS vaccine (Science News March 30, 1991 pg. 207).”

In 1993, (Kaali and Schwolsky) were granted United States Patent 5,188,738


Device patents are only awarded by the US Patent Office after the inventor or inventors are able to prove to independent patent examiners that they have a reasonable scientific basis that they have a workable device.

Kaali and Schwolsky’s patent quickly became widely known by researchers in the field of bioelectromagnetic medicine. This patent clearly reviewed the scientific basis that electrification of biological fluids could inactivate infectious organisms without harming normal cells. For example, a brief quote from the patent will be reviewed.

“With the treatment system thus conditioned, the hypodermic needle is inserted into a vein in the donor’s/recipient’s arm and blood is withdrawn, given, or recycled through the tubing 11. As the blood passes through the electric fields produced within the electric conductive tubing 11 it will be subjected to and treated by biologically compatible electric current flow through the blood or other body fluid with a current density of from one microampere per square millimeter (1 A/mm ) of electrode cross sectional area exposed to the fluid to about two milliamperes per square millimeter (2 mA/mm ) dependent upon field strength of the electric field gradient existing between electrodes 16 and 16A, the space between the electrodes 16, 16A and the conductivity (resistivity) of the body fluid being treated. Recent experiments have proven that exposure to electric fields induced by supply voltages in the range produces electric current flow through blood of the order of 1 to 100 microamperes. Effectiveness is dependent upon length of time of treatment in conjunction with the magnitude of the biologically compatible current flow. For example, treatment of virus in media at 100 microamperes for 3 minutes has been observed to substantially attenuate (render ineffective) the AIDS virus. Similar treatment at other field strength values and lengths of time will have a similar attenuating effect on bacteria, virus, parasites and/or fungus which are present in blood or other body fluids being treated. By controlling the length of time and field strength values that blood is subjected to the electric field forces, undesirable contaminants such as virus, bacteria, fungus and/or parasites will be adequately attenuated to the point that they are rendered ineffective by the sustained action of the electric current flow as the blood travels from the hypodermic needle 12 to the storage bag 14, or vice versa, or in a recycling mode. The length of travel of the blood through the sustained electric field induced current flow also can be adjusted so that the blood is subjected to the electric field force for time periods of the order of from one to six minutes at least. At the current values noted above this is believed adequate to attenuate (render ineffective) bacteria, virus (including the AIDS virus), parasites and/or fungus entrained in blood or other body fluids, but does not render the fluids unfit for human use or impair their biological usefulness
(Kaali and Schwolsky, 1993).”

The authors of the patent describe how they could insert a needle into blood vessel and circulate blood through tubing while subjecting the externally circulating blood to an electric field. Subsequent exposure to an electric field that was able to create a current flow through blood of “100 microamperes for 3 minutes has been observed to substantially attenuate (render ineffective) the AIDS virus. Similar treatment at other field strength values and lengths of time will have a similar attenuating effect on bacteria, virus, parasites and/or fungus which are present in blood or other body fluids being treated.”

The application of electricity to treat a wide variety of illnesses has been known for hundreds of years. However researchers, clinicians and inventors worldwide escalated their experimentation of applying electricity to the human body after 1993 because of Lyman, Hatch, Kaali and Schwolsky’s work. Most of these electronic devices employ AC or DC current with surface electrodes or use magnetic induction to apply electricity into the body. Dr. Robert J. Thiel is another researcher who documented in a 1998 study that bioelectric devices that deliver pulsed electrical frequency signals through the skin can be useful in the treatment of a variety of infections (Thiel, 1998).

In the mid 1990’s Dr Robert C. Beck was one of these researchers who decided to duplicate the therapy outlined by Kaali and Schwolsky in their 1993 patent. Beck designed a device that used a circuit that varied the voltage with an alternating current (AC) at a very low frequency. Beck’s circuit used a bi-phasic square wave that not only allowed the current to reverse direction each half cycle, but his wave form would also generate a large number of harmonics. Dr. Robert Beck’s use of harmonics to generate resonant frequencies to inactivate infectious diseases was built upon prior historical scientific experimentation. Nikola Tesla, Georges Lakhovsky and Royal Rife had all recognized that every organ, cell, bacteria, virus, parasite, and fungus in the body has its own resonant frequency. In addition the application of the correct frequency, waveform and current could lead to inactivation of harmful pathogen without damaging normal tissues, which had different resonant frequencies. Beck subsequently placed his circuit of the internet so that other researchers could create their own devices.

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The “Black Box” is one such microcurrent device.

Beck designed his microcurrent blood electrifier device to create a 50-100 micro ampere current into the bloodstream when electrodes were applied to the skin directly over arteries that were close to the skin surface, such as the wrists or ankles. The application of a bi-phasic AC square wave through surface electrodes creates an electrical current in the bloodstream by the process of electromagnetic induction. The use of electromagnetic induction permits the electronic therapy to be applied externally, without the need for implanting electrodes into the arteries. Dr. Beck's Magnetic Pulse Generator is another device that was designed to induce electrical current into the bloodstream at a distance without using surface electrodes.

It takes no great stretch of the imagination to understand that a scientist like Dr. Bob Beck, who was a physicist, holding a Ph.D in physics from the University of Southern California,

a former consultant to the Sandia Corp, a Senior Staff Scientist at Eyring Research Institute, and a former consultant to the US Navy could design devices that electrified blood, while the blood remained in the internal tubing of the blood vessels. Moving the blood outside of the body in plastic external tubes to electrify the blood confers no special properties that could not also be achieved by a competent scientist who could devise electronic equipment capable of creating the proper electrical field strength within the blood vessels of the body. It is erroneous to believe that circulating blood through plastic tubing to electrify the blood is superior to electrifying blood in the blood vessels of the body. It is also erroneous to believe that the blood within the blood vessels can not be electrified by the use of electronic devices capable of generating the proper electric field strength.

Scientific explanations exist that explain how external electromagnetic devices that employ microcuurent technology like the “Black Box” and magnetic inducers like the “Magnetic Pulser” and the “Magnetic Multi-Pulser” can affect humans. In the next section I will briefly outline the electronic features of the body that make this possible.

Endogenous weak electric fields are naturally present within all living organisms and are apparently involved in pattern formation and regeneration (Nuccitelli, 1984).

The body uses electricity (biocurrents) as part of the body’s mechanism for controlling growth and repair (Borgens et al., 1989). Some of these biocurrents travel through the nerves while other biocurrents travel through the liquid crystal semiconducting proteins of the connective tissue (Ho, 1998; Oschman, 2000).

Tissues of the body that are injured have a higher electrical resistance than the surrounding tissue (Wing, 1989). The cell membranes of these tissues become less permeable to the flow of ions and more electrically insulated. This results in the endogenous bioelectric currents avoiding these areas of high resistance (Wing, 1989). The reduction in electrical flow through an injured area is one factor that interferes with healing. Wing, in his 1989 paper, is one of many researchers who have described how the use of microcurrent therapy with attached electrodes could accelerate healing of injured tissue.
Increasing the electrical resistance of a tissue by injury or disease will impede the flow of healing biocurrents through that tissue (Becker, 1985). A decrease in the flow of natural electrical currents through an injured area also results in a decrease of the electrical potential of the membranes of cells in the affected area. This electrical property of cell membrane charge is known as membrane capacitance.

Electrical properties of cells
The cell membrane is a dividing structure that maintains biochemically distinct compartments between the inside (intracellular) and outside (extracellular) spaces (Marieb 1998).
In order to maintain balance in intracellular fluid and electrolytes, water, sodium and potassium are in constant motion between the intracellular and extracellular compartments (Edwards 1998). The passage of electrically charged ions through a membrane will create a flow of electric currents through the membrane. These ions in turn will affect the metabolism of the cell and the potential of the cell membrane.

The lipid structure of a cell membrane makes it relatively impermeable to the passage of charged molecules. Therefore charged molecules must cross through ion channels. Ion channels are transmembrane protein molecules that contain aqueous pores connecting the inside of the cell to the extracellular space. These channels can open and shut in response to a variety of signals. The passage of charged molecules through ion channels in the cell membrane endows the membrane with an electrical conductive property allowing for inward and outward current flows (Aidley and Stanfield, 1996). This is one factor that establishes electric circuits in biological tissues.

So it would be expected that all living cells of the body would naturally have a weak, electric current flowing through them. In fact there are bioelectrical circuits continually circulating throughout the body (Stanish, 1985).

The buildup of different concentrations of mineral ions on either side of the membrane also helps create a membrane potential and endows cell membranes with the electrical property of capacitance.
Capacitors are well known electronic components that are composed of two conducting sheets or metal plates separated by a thin layer of insulating material. Cells contain several forms of biological capacitors, which consist of an insulating material (the membrane) covered on both sides by collections of charged dissolved minerals, which serve the same function as a conducting metal plate. Because the exterior cell membrane and the membranes of cell organelles like the mitochondria in animals and the chloroplasts in plants are biological capacitors they have the capacity to accumulate and store charge and hence energy to be given up when needed.

Energy is taken from a circuit to supply and store charge on the plates. Energy is returned to the circuit when the charge is removed. The area of the plates, the amount of plate separation and the type of dielectric material used all affect the capacitance. The dielectric characteristics of a material include both conductive and capacitive properties (Reilly, 1998). In cells the cell membrane is a leaky dielectric. This means that any condition, illness or change in dietary intake that affects the composition of the cell membranes and their associated minerals can affect and alter cellular capacitance.

A cell or human body is coupled to an electric field in proportion to its capacitance such that the greater the frequency of the electrical field the greater the current flow in the cell or body. For soft tissues low frequency natural or applied electrical fields create currents that are conducted primarily along the surface of cells (Adey 1993a). When high frequency fields are applied with external signal generators, such as microcurrent devices, magnetic pulsers or the plasma tubes of Rife devices, electrical charging of the cell membranes occurs causing an increase in cell membrane capacitance and increased conduction of current through the cell membranes (Haltiwanger, 2003). This means that devices that generate low frequency currents will have different biological effects than devices that generate high frequency currents. It can thus be seen that the frequency a device generates is an important factor in eliciting different biological effects.

Because cell membranes naturally have capacitance this makes the cell membrane frequency-dependent conductors. At high frequencies a greater percentage of current will flow into and out the cell as a circuit loop. Higher frequency fields can strongly affect cell membrane permeability, which in turn can affect nutrient entry into the cells and toxin release from the cells and the connective tissues of the body.

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In summary an increase in cellular membrane capacitance may: change membrane permeability, increase cellular nutrient and mineral entry in to the cell and facilitate release of impregnated toxins from the membrane and cell interior.

Scientific research has proven that cells are electromagnetic in nature
, they generate their own electromagnetic fields and they are also capable of harnessing external electromagnetic energy of the right wavelength and strength to communicate, control and drive metabolic reactions (Adey, 1988, 1993a, 1993b; Becker, 1990).

Normal cells possess the ability to communicate information inside themselves and between other cells. The coordination of information by the cells of the body is involved in the regulation and integration of cellular functions and cell growth. When tissues of the body are injured the cells in and around the injured area are sent extracellular signals that turn on repair processes. The stimulus for repair has conventionally been considered to be by chemical agents such as cytokines and growth factors; however over the last five decades through the work of Robert O. Becker and others it has become apparent that mechanical, electric and magnetic signals also have a regulatory influence (Becker, 1960, 1961, 1967, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1990).

Among the electrical properties that cells manifest are the ability to conduct electricity, create electrical fields and function as electrical generators and batteries. In electrical equipment the electrical charge carriers are electrons. In the body electricity is carried by a number of mobile charge carriers as well as electrons. Although many authorities would argue that electricity in the body is only carried by charged ions, Robert O. Becker and others have shown that electron semiconduction also takes place in biological polymers located in the connective tissues of the body (Becker and Selden, 1985; Becker, 1990).

Connective tissue is a strong composite tissue composed of liquid crystalline collagen fibers embedded in a gel-like ground substance (Oschman, 1984, 2000). “The connective tissue is a continuous fabric extending throughout the animal body, even into the innermost parts of each cell (Oschman, 2000).”

Intracellular and extracellular biological liquid crystal molecules inherently possess the property of resonance according to the laws of physics. Biological molecules, atoms and even electrons have special resonant frequencies that will only be excited by energies of very precise vibratory characteristics. When two oscillators are tuned to the same identical frequency the emission of one will cause the other to respond to the signal and begin to vibrate. Resonance occurs in biological molecules or even whole cells when acoustical or electric vibrations emitted from a generating source match the absorption frequency of the receiving structure producing an energy transference, which amplifies the natural vibrational frequency of the cell or the cell component (Beal, 1996a, 1996b).

All metabolic reactions of a cell are controlled by a complex interaction of regulatory processes. These regulatory processes are usually defined in biochemistry by their chemical properties, however according to Brugemann and others, the internal chemical regulatory forces are in turn controlled by electromagnetic oscillations, which are biophysically specific (Brugemann, 1993). This physical principle makes it possible to obtain very specific metabolic responses when very weak electrical fields are applied or created in the body, which exactly match the frequency codes of the chemicals involved in the metabolic process you want to affect. This is one reason that frequency specific equipment like the “Black Box”, magnetic inducers like the “Magnetic Pulser” and “Rife frequency generators” can exert biological effects on humans.

When an electromagnetic field that possesses the resonant frequency of a biological molecule is generated in the body, conducting molecules of that particular type will absorb energy from the field and undergo induced electron flow.

A fact that is not widely understood is that the cells of the body are exquisitely responsive to electrical frequencies of exactly the right frequency and amplitude (Adey, 1993a, 1993b). Researchers such as Ross Adey and others have discovered that the cells of the body have built in electromagnetic filters so they only respond to electromagnetic fields of particular frequencies and amplitudes (Adey, 1993a, 1993b).

Improving the electrical conductance in the connective tissues will improve healing and improve cell membrane charge. Correction of tissue inflammation and connective tissue toxicity can improve the electrical functions of the connective tissue. Therefore the composition and degree of toxicity of the connective tissue will affect the electrical field and the flow of biocurrents in the connective tissue. The electrical field and biocurrent conduction in the connective tissue in turn will affect: cell membrane capacitance, permeability of the cell membrane, signaling mechanisms of the cell membrane, intracellular mineral concentrations, nutrient flow into the cell and waste disposal (Wing, 1989; Oschman, 2000). There exists scientific justification that electronic devices like the “Black Box” and “Magnetic Pulsers” can help reestablish electrical current flow in diseased tissues and assist in both healing and the release of stored toxins.

The phenomenon of magnetic induction helps explain how Magnetic Pulsers work

The application of a varying magnetic flux to an area of the body will induce an electric field, along the perimeter of the area according to the basic laws of electromagnetism. In 1831 Michael Faraday, one of the first electrical pioneers, was the first person to describe the phenomenon of electromagnetic induction. He discovered that he could produce a measurable electrical current in a wire conductor simply by moving a magnet near the wire. This discovery became the basis for Faraday’s Law of Induction, which is a basic law of electromagnetism (Jones and Childers, 1990).

When varying magnetic fields are applied to human tissues that contain free (or mobile) charge carriers, these charge carriers will be accelerated by the electric field thereby generating eddy currents in the tissues. The induced electric field or the generated current depends upon the rate of change, dB/dt, of the magnetic field, with the electric field or current increasing with increasing rate of change. According to Edmonds, “When living cells are exposed to sinusoidal or otherwise time-varying magnetic fields it is likely that electric fields and thus currents will be induced within them (Edmonds, 2001).

The activation of biological processes in the human body takes place within a large range of electric fields. If the magnetic device induces too high an electrical field it will elicit the action potentials of excitable cells in the region. The elicitation of cellular action potentials is undesirable since it may lead to disturbing symptoms in the patient or give rise to undesirable physiological reactions. For example, the effects of large induced electrical fields can cause flexing of muscles due to activation of muscle cells or elicitation of nerve impulses due to activation of neural cells.

Bone contains proteins that have piezoelectric properties so mechanical stress will create endogenous electrical currents. Endogenous electrical current densities under physiologic conditions approximate 1 Hz and 0.1 - 1.0 microA/cm2 (MacGinitie et al., 1994).

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The endogenous current density in many organs and tissues lie in the range of 0.1-10 mA/m2 (Bernhardt, 1979). Current densities less than this in general are thought to produce few biological effects; however the work of Jerry Jacobson has shown that even weak picotesla magnetic fields do produce noticeable biological effects (Jacobson et al., 1995).

Time-varying magnetic fields that induce current densities greater than approximately 1-10 mA/m2 have been reported by many researchers to produce various alterations including cell growth acceleration, enzyme activation, and changes in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and nucleic acids (Tenforde, 1990).

The main goal in treating biological tissues i.e. bone healing, wound healing, nerve growth, and angiogenesis with a time- varying magnetic field is to induce tissue currents. These currents must have enough intensity and duration to be capable of activating cellular signaling processes and extracellular signals, thus initiating enzyme reactions, membrane transport, cell proliferation and differentiation and other biological processes without being so strong that they create undesirable physiological reactions.

The production of electrical currents and magnetic fields in the body

It is now well recognized in medicine that electrical currents and magnetic fields are continually being produced in the body at all times. For example, cardiologists measure the electrical currents produced by the beating heart and neurologists measure the electrical activity of the brain.
Electricity in the body comes from the food that we eat and the air that we breathe (Brown, 1999). Cells derive their energy from enzyme catalyzed chemical reactions, which involves the oxidation of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Cells can produce energy by oxygen-dependent aerobic enzyme pathways and by less efficient fermentation pathways.

The specialized proteins and enzymes involved in oxidative phosphorylation are located on the inner mitochondrial membrane and form a molecular respiratory chain or wire. This molecular wire (electron transport chain) conducts electrons donated by several important electron donors through a series of intermediate compounds to molecular oxygen, which becomes reduced to water. In the process ADP is converted into ATP.

The biological activities of cells, tissues and the bloodstream thus generate electrical currents in the body and electrical fields that can be detected on the skin surface; however the laws of physics require that the generation of an electrical current always results in the production of a corresponding magnetic field in the surrounding space. A current flowing through a volume conductor always gives rise to a magnetic field (Jackson, 1975).

Through the use of a piece of equipment called a SQUID (Superconducting Quantum Interference Device) magnetometer scientists have now objectively proven that there is a weak magnetic energy field around the human body. This biomagnetic field arises because of physiologic activities within the human body, which in electrical terms is a volume conductor.

Biomagnetic signals
are thought to arise from intra-cellular currents that are produced by muscular contraction or neural excitation of tissue cells (Rottier, 2000). The current produced in the cells flows out of the cells through cell membrane protein connections and cell ion channels into the extracellular matrix creating bioelectric current flows in the body. When this natural electrical current flows in the body a weak magnetic field is also produced outside of the body (Rottier, 2000). According to the physics principle of induction, the creation of an electric current in a material will always induce a corresponding magnetic field and the movement of conductive material in a magnetic field or the exposure of a conductive material to a fluctuating magnetic field will induce an electric current in the material. Thus the application to the body of an appropriate fluctuating magnetic field will produce electrical activity in the tissues and cells of the body.

Scientists and practitioners for centuries have used electronic equipment to measure bioelectrical fields that are present on the skin. [Field potentials that appear at the surface of the body are the basis of clinical electrocardiography (ECG), electromyography (EMG), electroencephalography (EEG), etc.] The detection of the magnetic component, however had to wait until 1963 when researchers at Syracuse University first measured the magnetic field produced by the heart, which is one-millionth the strength of the earth's magnetic field (Baule et al., 1963).

In 1971, equipment sensitive enough to measure the brain’s weak biomagnetic field, which is even 100 times weaker than the heart’s magnetic field, was developed (Cohen, 1972).

Uses of electromagnetic devices in medicine

Thousands of papers now exist on the use of electrotherapy devices in the treatment of human diseases. I have included a bibliography in this report that lists hundreds of studies. I have included a list of selected abstracts that gives more details of some of these medical papers. Because I was asked to only write a short synopsis on the uses of electrotherapy for this case I will only discuss several other examples such as bone healing, wound healing and nerve repair.

For example, both magnets as well as electromagnetic therapy devices have been reported to relieve physical symptoms such as pain and edema and facilitate the healing of broken bones (Barker, 1984). Electromagnetic devices are now widely used by orthopedists in the treatment of fractures. Although the underlying physiological mechanisms are still not completely understood, several medical studies have shown that pulsating electromagnetic fields can stimulate bone formation and bone graft incorporation (Cruess et al., 1983; Rubin et al., 1989). The United States Food and Drug Administration has already approved this form of therapy for the treatment of delayed and non-union fractures.

The use of pulsating electromagnetic fields has also been reported to be useful in promoting healing of bedsores (Ieran et al., 1990) and in neuronal regeneration (Kort et al., 1980). Many more examples can be seen in Appendix 5: ELECTROMEDICINE: The Textbook of the American Academy of Pain Management by Daniel L. Kirsch, Ph.D. and Fred N. Lerner, Ph.D.

I have referenced the key points of my argument to document that my opinion is backed by prior scientific research. In summary, it is my opinion that both published peer reviewed scientific papers and US patents substantiate many of the medical claims associated with electronic therapy devices.

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What is the use of electrotherapy? ›

Electrotherapy is used for relaxation of muscle spasms, prevention and retardation of disuse atrophy, increase of local blood circulation, muscle rehabilitation, and reeducation by electrical muscle stimulation, maintaining and increasing range of motion, management of chronic and intractable pain, posttraumatic acute ...

What are the 3 main reasons we use electrical stimulation? ›

Electrical stimulation is a type of physical therapy modality or treatment used to accomplish various tasks in physical therapy (PT). The idea is that applying an electrical current helps strengthen muscles, block pain signals, and improve blood circulation.

How long can you use electrotherapy? ›

You can safely use a TENS machine as often as you like. Usually for 30-60 minutes up to 4 times daily. TENS can provide relief for up to four hours.

What is an example of electrotherapy? ›

These are some of the most commonly used kinds of electrotherapy: Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) Percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (PENS) Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS)

When was electrotherapy first used? ›

ECT was invented in Italy in the late 1930s. Psychiatrists had already discovered that inducing seizures could relieve symptoms of mental illness.

What is electrostatic therapy? ›

Electrotherapy is the use of electrical energy as a medical treatment. In medicine, the term electrotherapy can apply to a variety of treatments, including the use of electrical devices such as deep brain stimulators for neurological disease.

What are the benefits of electrical stimulation? ›

The Benefits of Electrical Stimulation
  • Stimulating muscular blood flow.
  • Increasing strength.
  • Reducing muscle pain.
  • Improving psychological recovery.

Does electrical stimulation work? ›

Generally speaking, e-stim is most effective at working weakened or atrophied muscles and healing muscles after an injury or surgery. As a pain reliever, e-stim (especially TENS therapy) can be effective in treating many conditions, though typically as part of a broader pain-management program.

How many times a day can you use electrotherapy? ›

You can begin with one 15-minute therapy session. Repeat for another 15 minutes if needed. Use up to three times per day at a maximum. During each therapy, rate your pain before and after the session, 1 (low) to 10 (high) in order to gauge the true reduction of pain.

Does electrical stimulation help nerve damage? ›

All experimental results indicated that electrical stimulation facilitates regeneration of injured nerve; direct stimulation caused better recovery than TENS with respect to functional and morphological parameters during the six weeks of the experiment.

Can I use EMS everyday? ›

Before you consider how many you need, it is important to understand that the maximum amount of times you can train using Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) technology is 1-2 times per week. This is to allow time for your muscles to repair and recoup before your next session.

What does electrotherapy feel like? ›

What Does Treatment Feel Like? As the intensity increases, the patient will feel a tingling sensation on the skin, or the sensation will be reminiscent of a deep massage if the device is being used to penetrate and treat the muscles.

How is electrotherapy performed? ›

How does it work? It involves passing a mild electrical current through the muscles and nerve fibres to alleviate pain in the area, through the use of a handheld battery-powered device. This means that it is one of the main treatments used in electrotherapy for muscles that are injured or are experiencing pain.

What is electrotherapy PDF? ›

Electrotherapy involves electric or magnetic stimulation of the human body in a range of therapeutic applications including pain alleviation.

What is the purpose of using electric current in medical rehabilitation? ›

Electrotherapy is used for relaxation of muscle spasms, prevention and retardation of disuse atrophy, increase of local blood circulation, muscle rehabilitation, and reeducation by electrical muscle stimulation, maintaining and increasing range of motion, management of chronic and intractable pain, posttraumatic acute ...

Is electrotherapy still used? ›

But electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is still being used -- more in Europe than the United States -- and it may be the most effective short-term treatment for some patients with depressive symptoms, a newly published review in the journal The Lancet suggests.

Is electrotherapy good for arthritis? ›

Electrotherapy treats and heals arthritis damage by rebuilding and repairing joint cartilage. It is used to strengthen the muscles that support weakened joints. Electrotherapy also uses techniques such as ultrasound and low-level laser therapy can help to increase the healing process and therefore reduce pain.

How does electrotherapy relieve pain? ›

Electrotherapy uses electrical signals to interfere with the transmission of neural pain signals into the brain. It effectively slows down or distracts the message from the nerve to the brain. In this technique, a small electrical device delivers electrical impulses across the skin.

Does electrotherapy burn fat? ›

Surprisingly, without modifying their exercise or diet, the EMS did indeed cause significant effects on decreasing waist circumference, abdominal obesity, subcutaneous fat mass, and body fat percentage, leading the researchers to conclude: “The use of the high-frequency current therapy may be beneficial for reducing ...

Is electrotherapy good for muscle pain? ›

Generally speaking, e-stim is most effective at working weakened or atrophied muscles and healing muscles after an injury or surgery. As a pain reliever, e-stim (especially TENS therapy) can be effective in treating many conditions, though typically as part of a broader pain-management program.

Can electrotherapy hurt you? ›

While typically not serious, side effects of electrotherapy can include skin irritation or rash. If you have broken skin or an infection, it is advised you avoid using electrotherapy on those areas of your body.


1. Local study uses electrotherapy to treat patients with mild forms of dementia
(Arirang News)
2. Electrotherapy in muscle atrophy (muscle strengthening) - STIWELL
(STIWELL® Neurorehabilitation)
3. How to Use a TENS Unit for Pain Relief - Ask Doctor Jo
4. ECT Electroconvulsive Therapy - WVU Medicine Health Report
(WVU Medicine)
5. The truth about electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) - Helen M. Farrell
6. New Technologies for the Treatment of Mental Health | Chip Fisher | TEDxBeaconStreet
(TEDx Talks)

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