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What Is Microcurrent Therapy?

By A.M. Boyle
Updated May 17, 2024
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Microcurrent therapy is a form of rehabilitative treatment designed to alleviate pain and promote healing for various types of injuries and other health conditions. This painless treatment utilizes very minimal electrical charges to stimulate and promote a person’s natural healing abilities on a cellular level. People who have undergone microcurrent therapy have reported positive results. It has also shown some promise as an antiaging skin care remedy.

Otherwise known as microcurrent electrical neuromuscular stimulation (MENS), microcurrent therapy transmits miniscule electrical impulses, measuring about 600 microamps, into targeted trouble areas of a person’s body. Usually, a specialist generates the impulses using specially designed patches or wands placed on either side of an injured or painful spot. The faint current of electricity mimics the natural electrical transmission of the body’s own cells. Consequently, the electrical charge is absorbed by the cell and serves to stimulate and stabilize normal cell activity.

Studies show that the electrical currents emitted during microcurrent therapy stimulate the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the compound used as fuel by the cells in performing necessary biological functions. The electrical waves also promote protein synthesis needed to repair damaged muscle. Oxygen flow, nutrient absorption, and healthy reproduction within the cells are also improved. All these benefits on a cellular level serve to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and speed the healing of injured areas.

Many experts have compared microcurrent therapy to another type of electrical stimulation therapy called transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). TENS therapy, however, uses a much stronger electrical current that blocks the transmission of pain signals to the brain. The cells do not absorb the electrical charges of a TENS unit, and consequently, they do not have the same positive response as they do during microcurrent therapy. Further, about one third of patients who undergo TENS treatment experience varying degrees of discomfort, whereas patients using microcurrents report no discomfort at all. In addition, residual electric charges from the microcurrents continue to affect the cells after the treatment is completed, and therefore, unlike TENS treatment, the benefits continue even though the microcurrent application has stopped.

Since the late 1980s, many sports professionals have used microcurrents to treat injured athletes, often with amazing results. Numerous doctors and therapists also recognize the benefits of microcurrent therapy when treating chronic and difficult conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, and soft tissue injuries. Due to the fact that the microcurrents might also stimulate the production of collagen, this therapy also shows promise as an antiaging skin treatment and a possible alternative to other, more invasive procedures. No serious side effects have been reported from the use of this treatment, although it is generally not recommended for patients who are pregnant or who have pacemakers.

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