Medically Reviewed by Dr. Luis Alberto Vallejo
What are microcurrents?
They are a form of electrical current that allows the physiotherapist to provide treatment in the range of microamps (µA).
It is also called:
- Pulsed stimulation in microamps (µA).
- Low Voltage Current
- MONTH (Micro Electro Stimulation).
- MENS (Micro Electro Neuro Stimulation, a misused term since this form of current does not depolarize the nerve cell).
It consists of the introduction of electric current through the skin, which is similar to the current generated by the body.
It is characterized by having a very low intensity and insufficient load to excite peripheral nerve fibers.
Its application is therefore at the sub sensory level, the patient generally does not perceive the passage of current.
Dosing in microamps, energy is delivered on the same scale of values as the current produced by the organism at the level of each cell.
For this reason it is said that treatment with microcurrents provides a physiological contribution at the cellular level.
It is also known as biostimulation or bioelectric therapy for its ability to stimulate cell physiology and growth.
Bioelectric therapy: the body generates a very low current.
- The body’s cells physiologically produce this form of current by performing ionic and aqueous exchange with their environment.
- This current circulates through the body at a frequency of 73 Hz.
How do microcurrents work?
In the center of the atom is the nucleus that is composed of protons and neutrons.
The old theory that prevailed in the 60s, was that electrons revolved in orbits around the nucleus.
Modern research has shown that electrons vibrate back and forth in orbits around the nucleus, instead of spinning in continuous monodirectional circles.
Each tissue in the body has its specific frequencies.
The individualized and specific vibratory characteristic of each atom, that is, of each type of tissue, varies specifically in the presence of certain conditions such as:
- Environmental influences, etc.
When a tissue injury occurs, electrons emit a characteristic and unique abnormal vibration for each type of injury.
When we apply microcurrents, these abnormal vibrations are neutralized, restoring the normal vibrations of electrons.
While the incorrect frequencies of the electron are neutralized until they return to their normal orbital vibrations, the physiological condition of the tissues begins to normalize.
The speed with which these changes occur varies from patient to patient.
Some patients may experience a noticeable change immediately after treatment.
In other cases, the changes are experienced until after 24 hours of treatment.
Changes always occur progressively.
In patients with chronic lesions, the positive results generally start from the sixth treatment session.
- Type of current: constant current to maintain a fixed milliamperage and independent of changes in skin resistance.
- Pulse shape: the pulses can be single-phase or rectangular two-phase.
- Pulse width: 1 to 500 ms.
- Current amplitude: 10 µA – 1 mA. It works at the subsensory level.
- Each current pulse has a long duration and low amplitude, with greater use of the polar effects of the current and lesion risks are reduced.
- Pulse frequency: 0 – 1000 Hz. (Low frequency range), in practice very low stimulation frequencies are used.
- Polarity: bidirectional. To activate the reverse of automatic polarity, A (alternating) or NA (non-alternating) must be selected on Enraf devices.
- Time of each treatment session: it depends on the pathology to be treated and the technique used. It ranges from 10 to 20 minutes, although treatment times of up to two hours are reported twice a day, in the case of ulcers.
Effects of microcurrents
- Pain reduction
- Increase in the reparative index of tissue and wounds.
- Increase in protein synthesis.
- Stimulates the regeneration of damaged tissue.
- Increase mitochondrial ATP by up to 500%.
- Stimulates the ANS. It is used in the treatment of insomnia
- Stimulates lymphatic flow and inhibits trigger points.
Contraindications of the current
- Pregnancy, during the first months.
- Cardiac pacemaker
- Heart rhythm disturbances
- Direct application on the eyes.
- Pain treatment.
- Lymphatic drainage and edema.
- Regeneration of contractile tissues
- Release of adhesions and shrink scars.
- Insomnia treatment
- Lymph node treatment
- Nerve treatment
- Aesthetics increasing the circulation and production of collagen.
- Trigger point therapy.
- Treatment of nerve root irritation.
- Decrease in muscle spasms.
- Treatment of muscular atrophy, improvement that is given by stimulating the metabolic processes of the muscle since the current does not produce contractions to work at the subsensory level.