ArcEquine

Its Application

How The Body Uses Microcurrents In Relation To Injury, Repair And Pain

There is a normal level of bioelectric activity in all tissues [1, 2, 5, 7]. Following injury/disease, there is a disturbance of this normal level [1, 3, 8-12]. The departure from the norm acts as one of the stimuli for the body to respond to the injury/disease and mounts an appropriate response [12]. If the body fails to generate this stimulus (sometimes referred to as having a ‘flat battery'), then the tissue response to injury will be insufficient for optional repair/recovery [12].

The delivery of a microcurrent from outside the body acts as an energy source to enhance or to activate the normal repair response [6, 13-16]. The microcurrents themselves are not doing the healing - they are however stimulating the normal tissue response which is, for whatever reason, stalled or underperforming [4, 17]. It is proposed that this will not only enhance the repair sequence, but will indirectly diminish the pain experienced by the individual [6]. It is further proposed that the use of Microcurrent Therapy has a direct (overt) effect on pain perception. This is active without nerve stimulation (as would be the mechanism with other interventions such as TENS for example) [18-22].

In addition to the ability of Microcurrent Therapy to enhance the natural endogenous bioelectric activity, there is evidence that it increases the amount of ATP available in the stimulated tissue, further enhancing the energy available to the cells involved in repair [4, 23-25]. The bioelectric and ATP pathways are almost certainly not mutually exclusive, and most likely work in tandem and are co-supportive [4]. In order for Microcurrent Therapy to be effective, the logic and the evidence would support relatively long applications at low levels of stimulation. The clinical evidence appears to demonstrate stronger results with increasing hours of application - making this an application that suits the home (non-clinic) environment [26].

REFERENCES

1. Watson T. Electrical Properties of Tissues. In: Watson T, editor. Electrotherapy : Evidence Based Practice. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone / Elsevier; 2008. p. 37-52.
2. Nuccitelli R. A role for endogenous electric fields in wound healing. Curr Top Dev Biol. 2003;58:1-26.
3. Borgens RB. What is the role of naturally produced electric current in vertebrate regeneration and healing? International Review of Cytology. 1982;76:245-98.
4. Poltawski L, Watson T. Bioelectricity and microcurrent therapy for tissue healing - a narrative review. Physical Therapy Reviews. 2009;14(2):104-14.
5. Becker RO. Cross Currents. 1st ed. London: Bloomsbury Publishing; 1990.
6. Watson T. Electrical Stimulation for Enhanced Wound Healing. In: Watson T, editor. Electrotherapy : Evidence Based Practice. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone / Elsevier; 2008. p. 329-46.
7. Rubinacci A, Brigatti L, Tessari L. A reference curve for axial bioelectric potentials in rabbit tibia. Bioelectromagnetics. 1984;5(2):193-202.
8. Becker RO. The electrical control of growth processes. Medical Times. 1967;95:657-69.
9. Becker RO. The basic biological data transmission and control system influenced by electrical forces. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1974;238:236-41.
10. Becker RO. The significance of bioelectric potentials. Bioelectrochemistry and Bioenergetics. 1974;1:187-99.
11. Vanable J. Integumentary potentials and wound healing. In: Borgens R, editor. Electric Fields in Vertebrate Repair. New York: Alan Liss Inc; 1989. p. 171-224.
12. Black J. Electrical stimulation: Its role in growth, repair and remodelling of the musculoskeletal system. New York: Praeger; 1987.
13. Ciombor DM, Aaron RK. The role of electrical stimulation in bone repair. Foot Ankle Clin. 2005;10(4):579-93, vii.
14. Evans RD, Foltz D, Foltz K. Electrical stimulation with bone and wound healing. Clinics in Podiatric Medicine and Surgery. 2001;18(1):79-95, vi.
15. Wolcott LE, Wheeler PC, Hardwicke HM, Rowley BA. Accelerated healing of skin ulcer by electrotherapy: preliminary clinical results. South Med J. 1969;62(7):795-801.
16. Carley PJ, Wainapel SF. Electrotherapy for acceleration of wound healing: low intensity direct current. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1985;66(7):443-6.
17. Kloth LC. Electrical Stimulation Technologies for Wound Healing. Advances in Wound Care. 2014;3(2):81-90.
18. Akyuz G, Kenis O. Physical therapy modalities and rehabilitation techniques in the management of neuropathic pain. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2014;93(3):253-9.
19. Gabriel A, Sobota R, Gialich S, Maxwell GP. The use of Targeted MicroCurrent Therapy in postoperative pain management. Plast Surg Nurs. 2013;33(1):6-8; quiz 9-10.
20. Torres R, Gonzalez-Peña R, Arrizabalaga F, Casaña-Granell J, Alakhdar-Mohamara Y, Benítez-Martínez JC. Decrease in cervical pain using microcurrents. Disminución del dolor en cervicalgias mediante la aplicación de microcorrientes. 2011;14(2):48-52.
21. Lumiere RbK. Review of Frequency-Specific Microcurrent in Pain Management. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2011;17(11):1091-2.
22. McMakin C. Nonpharmacologic treatment of neuropathic pain using frequency specific microcurrent. Pain Practitioner. 2010;20(3):68.
23. Cheng N, Van Hoof H, Bockx E, Hoogmartens MJ, Mulier JC, De Dijcker FJ, et al. The effects of electric currents on ATP generation, protein synthesis, and membrane transport of rat skin. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1982(171):264-72.
24. Funk RH, Monsees T, Ozkucur N. Electromagnetic effects - From cell biology to medicine. Prog Histochem Cytochem. 2009;43(4):177-264.
25. Funk RH, Monsees TK. Effects of electromagnetic fields on cells: physiological and therapeutical approaches and molecular mechanisms of interaction. A review. Cells Tissues Organs. 2006;182(2):59-78.
26. Poltawski L, Johnson M, Watson T. Microcurrent therapy in the management of chronic tennis elbow: pilot studies to optimize parameters. Physiother Res Int. 2012;17(3):157-66.