Microcurrent therapy is one of the latest physical therapy techniques used for treatment of certain diseases and disorders. It is also referred to as Microcurrent Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulation (MENS). As the name suggests, a very low-voltage microamperage (millionths of an ampere) current is passed onto the affected cells or tissue trigger points in order to stimulate the body's healing process. The current used in this method is much smaller than the previously recommended currents for clinical treatment.
Each and every cell of the body has its own electric impulses. Due to abnormal conditions or injury, the bioelectric frequency of the cell is disturbed. Microcurrent technique is based on the principle that, application of current that is similar to the body's bioelectric current enhances the tissue's response to natural healing and repair. This therapy is most effective for soft tissue inflammation, muscle pain, and chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, neuropathy, and shingles. According to medical researches, it can also be used as a potential intervention to cure addiction.
While giving this therapy, the physical therapist or the physician administers the microamperage current to various parts of the patient's body by using vinyl graphite gloves or electrodes. The actual duration of microcurrent application may last for about 60 - 90 minutes, and the strength of applied current varies from one person to another depending upon the severity of pain. Some patients get relief from pain symptom within a few weeks, whereas others may take up to two years for complete recovery.
Studies have revealed that microcurrent therapy helps in restoring metabolic processes that are responsible for healing. It regulates the energy levels of the body by promoting ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production, which is the major energy fuel for all the biochemical reactions. As the energy level increases, the body's ability to remove metabolic wastes via active transport is enhanced, hence preventing accumulation of toxic substances. The same responses are observed in injured cells, thus enhancing nutrient distribution, blood circulation, and removal of wastes. This way, new healthy cells replace the damaged ones.
The body after receiving microcurrent stimulates protein synthesis, ion exchange, and helps in maintaining neuromuscular systems. As a consequence, the body restores its enzymatic activities and their corresponding metabolic processes. The low-voltage current also promotes glycogen utilization by the muscle cells. Overall, normal functioning of the body's cells and tissues are restored in a healthy way. To reap maximum benefits of this physical therapy technique, the physician may recommend mild aerobic exercise and changes in the diet plan.
When a comparison is made, this type of therapeutic intervention is more effective than other electrotherapy procedures. In this technique, the current is so small that there is no tissue resistance, which is observed in case of electrotherapy. Consequently, the patient rarely feels the current while undergoing the treatment procedure. However, use of microcurrent is not recommended for those people who have pacemakers and who cannot tolerate electromagnetic fields.
Though a low-voltage current is safe for people of all ages, its use is quite controversial, mainly because of its unpredictable results. In some people, this therapy is more effective than the traditional acupuncture method; whereas, in others the clinical results are not so satisfying. As of now, significant side effects of microcurrent therapy are not documented. But, receiving it under the strict guidance of a trusted therapist is a necessity to avoid unusual effects.