In many ways, especially when pain is the immediate issue, this is the best method to quickly bring relief and to activate the true rehabilitation of the problem area.
There are many ways to bring symptomatic relief, such as a strong milliamp electrical current (1000 times stronger than genuine microcurrent) with pads, through interferential and galvanic machines or even wires attached with alligator clips to the inserted acupuncture needles. They all work to bring relief, as they will effectively disperse the accumulated excess electrical charges in the body or block pain signals. A good example of this is transcuteneous electrical stimulation or TENS. It works by blocking pain sensations but does little to actually heal the area. Also, the body builds up tolerance to it over time. For more information on this, read the research study in the Journal of Advancement in Medicine by Daniel Kirsch, Ph.D and Joseph Mercola, DO, pioneers of microcurrent medicine.
Microcurrent is the Closest Match
However, it has been proven through much research and clinical experience, that the microcurrent level, being one millionth of an amp, closely matches the bioelectricity in the body. Therefore, it is accepted into the very cells of the body, where it is able to work from the very basic levels to bring about the changes required to get well, whether it is a prolonged chronic or an immediate acute injury.
Microcurrent Adds Energy
In short, the basic level of cellular healing depends on enough energy. In a painful condition, there is always a lack of electrical potential, or low self-generating energy. After all, that area has been blocked by muscular spasm (which serves to protect a weak area of the body) or inflammation. Circulation of blood is compromised and therefore not enough nutrients can get in and the waste products cannot get out. When microcurrent enters, via the acupuncture meridian system, which is itself electrical, there is a burst of activity.
Microcurrent Increases ATP Production
This is what happens when a stagnant, lethargic and depleted area is stimulated with microcurrent:
The production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) molecules, which are the main energy packets of the body, is dramatically increased. The minute ATP is produced, it is immediately broken down to release its precious energy and is hungrily consumed by the body. The body desperately needs this for muscle contraction and therefore movement and for actively transporting the minerals sodium, potassium and calcium in order for nerve transmission to even occur. Of course, this energy stimulates cell repair, as many muscle, ligament, tendon and bone cells have become damaged from malnourishment and toxicity. This entire area as well as the entire body, targeted through the interconnecting pathways of the meridian system, begins to finally wake up. The result: accelerated healing on a deeper level, which will also help the depression and anxiety created from a chronic painful condition. For more detailed information on ATP production read Steven Bailey’s great article.
Negative and Positive Polarity Increases Effectiveness
As we have mentioned, we prefer to use non-needle Microcurrent Electro-Acupuncture in cases where the chief complaint is obvious musculo-skeletal pain. The probes are much gentler than the needles, especially if the pain areas are still very sensitive. But more importantly, the unit we employ has the capacity to adjust for the negative and positive polarities. That means, for example, that a positive probe can be placed higher up on the body with the negative probe on a lower part in order to facilitate the body's natural energy flow more efficiently. In cases of pain, the energy is quite low and needs this extra help. Also, the frequencies and waveforms need to be adjusted quite often in order for the body not to become adjusted to them and lose its effectiveness.
The acupuncture needles on their own or just connected with wires to the common standard unit cannot accomplish these same things. Some of these standard units have a microcurrent setting, but it is just dampened down “macrocurrent.” It does not produce the same benefits. To use the probes instead of needles, however, does require that the practitioner stay in the room and work on different sections and meridians at a time. It is much more time consuming, but we find it to be the most therapeutically effective, with none of the higher stress and possible side effects of the higher “macrocurrent” units.
However, acupuncture needles on their own, we find, is immensely valuable in balancing the very subtle body energies when pain is not the immediate issue. When dealing with mental and emotional issues, unexplainable odd pains or pains brought on by unresolved trauma and known past issues, only the needles are used and a different aspect of Chinese medicine is brought into the picture.
Contraindications: although microcurrent is extremely gentle, pregnant women, people with known seizure problems and pacemakers should not use this method.