What is Micro-current therapy?

Microcurrent therapy, commonly referred as MENS (Microcurrent Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulation), is extremely small pulsating currents of electricity. These currents are finely tuned to the level of the normal electrical exchanges which take place at body’s cellular level. These currents being more biologically compatible than any other electrical stimulation device, have the ability to penetrate the cell – as opposed to passing over the cell as other stimulation devices do. It works on ARNDT – SCHULTZ Law which states that : “Weak stimuli increases physiological activity and very strong stimuli inhibit or abolish activity.”

This subsensory current normalizes the ordinary activity taking place within the cell if it has been injured or otherwise compromised.

The external addition of microcurrent will increase the production of ATP, protein synthesis, oxygenation, ion exchange, absorption of nutrients, elimination of waste products, and neutralizes the oscillating polarity of deficient cells. Homeostasis is restored.

The biologically sensitive stimulation effect of microcurrent picks up where the body’s own electrical current fails, as the human body must adhere to the natural law of electricity which is : “ electricity must take path of least resistance.”. Therefore, its electrical current is destined to move around an injury or defect, rather than through it.

By normalizing cell activity, inflammation is reduced while collagen producing cells are  increased. Healthy cell metabolism creates a healthy, painfree internal environment.

DOUBLE – BLIND STUDIES LERNER AND KIRSCH, on chronic and acute back pain show the overwhelming effect of MENS over other modalities.

Internal exchanges within the body have been long understood by medical practitioners. Applying that knowledge has been slow in developing. Doctors and physical therapists all over the world have been using microcurrent to heal injured muscles, tendons, wounds and a myriad of injuries and ailments for the past fifteen years.

Electricity

Electricity is usually measured in amperes. Micro amps used in microcurrent therapy are one millionth of an ampere or one thousandth of a miliampere. It would take one million microcurrent machines to light a 40 watt light bulb. This is mentioned in an effort to emphasize the minuteness of the electrical currents used in microcurent therapy. These small, therapeutic doses augment the body’s own healing ability with no discomfort to the patient. It eliminates overdoses, over stimulation, misuse, and side effects. It removes much of anxiety of medical misjudgments and guesswork while offering unlimited creative and healing potential.

A brief reminder : Muscle Contraction Physiology

Let’s us start with a brief reminder of muscle physiology. Skeletal muscles are a composition of fibers innervated by nerves. Nerve impulses pass through a neuromuscular junction into the muscle fiber. The nerve impulses, or current, continue through the muscle fiber to stimulate the “action potential”, triggering a large release of calcium. This initiates the contraction process. The contraction continues as the muscle cell’s increased permeability allows sodium ions to enter the cell, and the intracellular negativity is reinstated.

Energy for this process to occur, comes from the nucleotide compound ATP ( Adenosine Triphosphate ) being reduced to ADP ( Adenosine Diphosphate ). Large amounts of ATP are used up during a contraction and must constantly be replenished. ATP is derived from metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and oxygen – nutrition.

When a muscle is traumatized, it protects itself by going into spasm. This decreases blood supply, nutrients, oxygen and ATP, disrupts the sodium pump, and increases waste products within the cell. The electrical current of injured tissue takes on positive charge differing from the negative charge of healthy tissue. Non injured cells try to restore normal electrical function, but the body’s electrical system is subject to the natural law of electricity which dictates : “electricity must take the path of least resistance.” and travels around the injured tissue.

Normalizing Damaged Tissue

With the addition of external microstimulation, the damaged tissue recovery period is dramatically reduced.

Tissue pathology begins with injured or otherwise insulted cells that exude certain biochemical substances, such as arachidonic acid, from the lipid portion of the cell membrane into their interstitial environment. These substances are responsible for turning on a complex array of inflammatory and pain – producing responses. The best way to accelerate relief from these responses is to accelerate the intracellular processes that result in the repair or replacement of the injured cells themselves. This involves accelerating the production of ATP (primary conveyor of energy within the cell), new protein and new DNA, if new cells are required. The calcium concentration within the cells is known to play a very important role in activating a variety of enzymes which turn on the above processes. It has been shown that passing electrical current across the membrane of tissue cells (such as fibroblasts, which form new tissue in healing wound) in an optimal fashion will do remarkably effective job of opening certain membrane channels to calcium ions. Calcium ions will then proceed to enter the cell from interstitial fluid (where they are more concentrated), and increase their concentration within the cell.

Electrical stimulation of a tissue also results in improved circulation by several mechanisms, which may include the local release of vasodilator substances and decrease in sympathetic vasoconstrictor reflex activity. This can result in :

  1. Reduced pain at injury site
  2. Improved neuromuscular responsiveness
  3. Reduction of inflammatory responses
  4. Increased range of motion and reduction of tightness in disturbed muscle tissue
  5. Reduced recuperation time and less neuromuscular inhibition leading to enhanced contractility of muscle fibers.

ATP

Glucose, upon entering the cell is immediately phosphorized by ATP in the presence of hexokinase and Mg ++. The cell must have a stored reserve of ATP for energy consumption.

The following is only intended to highlight the great importance of ATP < – > ADP + P + reaction for cell life : One mole of glucose metabolized via tricarboxylic  (TCA) cycle or “Krebs cycles” yields a 38 moles of ATP. One mole of glucose metabolized via the anaerobic glycolysis (The Emboden – Myerhof Cycle) yields 2 moles of ATP.

ATP is the highest energy producing substance for the cell, and is immediately available for the complex endergonic processes of the cells, as established by the genetic code and the RNA (Ribonucleic Acid) structure.

A study by Cheng et al, 1982, using micro current accelerated ATP generation, protein synthesis, and membrane transport gives an in – depth report. Results on rat skin showed ATP generation increased 500%. Amino acid transport increased 30 – 40%.

Nociceptive fibers, free nerve endings sensitive to tissue dysfunction, are found in skin, fibrous capsule, periosteum, intramuscular arteries, blood vessels walls and, in abundance, in the blood vessels walls and, in abundance, blood vessels of adipose tissue. These fibers send pain impulses to the brain.

Retonification of the Muscle

The initial phase of treatment to normalize the cell is followed by returning the muscle to its normal shape and position.

By stimulating the efferent fibers at the origin and insertion points of the involved muscle or muscles, the muscle can gently be coaxed into being stretched or shortened with no pain to the patient. An atrophied muscle can be shortened and toned. A muscle in spasm can be stretched. Anti – inflammatory and pain reducing drugs are either eliminated or drastically reduced.

Chronic Pain

Acute pain is alleviated quickly and chronic pain, with a bit more persistence, is greatly affected with the use of microcurrent therapy. There is no greater sense of satisfaction than watching a twenty year old injury heal after years of suffering by the patient. No one understands pain better than someone who’s been told they must “learn to live with it”. After having lived with it, to have it removed is the greatest kindness one can bestow on another.

A study by Mayo clinic found 24% of chronic pain sufferers to be drug dependent and 42% to be abusers. Between $ 33,000,000 and $ 50,000,000 a year, are spent on medication. Chronic pain is, indeed, a major health problem.

Current Uses

Although it has been primarily used in sports medicine with thigh – clapping enthusiasm from the athletes themselves, sports medicine is only the beginning. It has been widely used in :

wound healing arthritis intractable pain whiplash TMJ syndrome
pre-op surgery disc desease torticollis postop healing sinus problems
migraines stroke rehab soft tissue injury acute pain
capsulitis tendonitis Bell’s palsy myofacial pain decubitus
synovitis bursitis surgical incision chronic pain myositis
neuropathies carpal tunnel addominal cramps edema

Studies are being done in various parts of the world using microcurrent to help sleep disorders, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, stress, depression, cancer, chronic fatigue, spinal cord injury rehabilitation, and even AIDS.

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