Microcurrent therapy

Microcurrent therapy is a form of therapy that uses Galvanic, direct-current (DC) with low amperage (< 1000 µA) and low frequency (0.5-100 Hz) to heal body tissues. The waveform is typically (Bipolar, rectangular) in shape. Microcurrent therapy simply produces electrical signals like those naturally produced in the body during repair and healing process 

Electric current is defined as the “Flow of charged particles, mostly electrons”. When the current flows in “One direction”, it is called Direct current (DC). In contrast, when the flow is “Back and forth”, it is called Alternating current (AC). As a general rule, DC heals, while AC inhibits  

The human body works via DC electricity, which is in the range of pico-ampere (Trillionths), nano-ampere (Billionths), and micro-ampere (Millionths). DC microcurrents are essential part of any “Healing process” in the body (Dr. Rober O. Becker; The Body Electric Book)

Microcurrent therapy works as (Acupuncture) and (Neural therapy after Huneke). Acupuncture & electrical healing follows the theory of Rudolf Arndt (1835-1900) and Hugo Schulz (1853-1932), also known as the “Arndt-Schulz law”, which states that: Weak electrical stimuli increases physiological activities, and strong electrical stimuli inhibits physiological activities

Basic electrical healing physiology

It has been shown by Dr. Robert O. Becker and other investigators that injured areas are more “Electro-conductive” than the surrounding skin. Therefore, any physical disorder which increases autonomic neuronal activity can be measured at specific points using a point-specific probe, which the basis of many acupuncture-based diagnostic devices

Disorders can be viewed as lack of energy (Voltage) or excess energy (Inflammation) within the injured tissue; correcting the electrical status of the injured tissue results in immediate pain relief

Dr. Robert O. Becker discovered through his studies on salamanders that healing takes place in the body via initiating “Direct electrical current” at the damaged tissues. When there is damage to a tissue, the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is reduced, impairing the cellular membrane sodium-potassium pump. The dysfunction cellular membrane and the localized edema increases the tissue’s electrical resistance compared to the normal tissues surrounding them. Moreover, an abnormal electrical current and magnetic field is created due to leakage of the intra-cellular ions and disruption of the sodium-potassium pump; this abnormal electrical current is known as the “Current of injury”. This abnormal current of injury is perceived as “Pain

In order to overcome this electrical resistance and initiate healing process, the surrounding tissues has to increase the “Voltage” of the electrical current they supply to (50-60 mV) so healing can be initiated, according to the teaching of Dr. Jerry Tennant. Without such voltage, the current produced will NOT be a “Constant direct current”, which is the basic current required for healing the tissues

Microcurrents therapy healing mechanisms

Microcurrents accelerate healing (Work as a catalyst) via the following suggested mechanisms:

1. Accelerate inflammatory response: in contrast to steroids and NSAIDs, which suppresses inflammatory mediators, microcurrents “Accelerate” the inflammatory response, which results in healing, since acute inflammatory response is part of healing process

2. The Tsunami effect: microcurrents applied to the tissues changes polarity from positive to negative, which will exert an oscillo/torsional response; this response will causes twister-like effect on the molecular composition of the tissues and increases their kinetic energy, which will increase the probability that a specific chemical groups of substrates interacts with their enzymes, accelerating the metabolic processes  

3. pH normalization: it is well known that acidity causes pain by evoking the C-fibers and the Aδ fibers in the extracellular matrix. Microcurrents, like any electrical current, is associated with electro-magnetic field; this electromagnetic field exerts a direct effect on “Charged-molecules” like hydrogen protons (H+), causing their re-distribution (Diffusion) from their area of high concentration distributing them almost equally through the injured tissue, normalizing their pH effect 

4. Hormone-like effect: microcurrents have been proven to exert “Hormone-like effects” via electrical activation of the “Cell membrane G protein”, which will influence the formation of the “2nd messenger cyclic adenosine monophosphate - cAMP”, which in turn has a direct effect on cell-specific activities, including cellular repair processes

5. Metabolic challenge: microcurrents cause repeated cell membrane depolarization activity, which requires subsequent membrane repolarization; this requires additional energy ATP production, increasing the cellular metabolism to meet the new demand

6. ATP replenishment: the energy used by human cells requires the hydrolysis of 200-300 moles of ATP every day. Thus, each ATP molecule is recycled 2000-3000 times during a single day. Since ATP can’t be stored, then its consumption must closely follow its synthesis. In 1983, Cheng et al. showed that microcurrent stimulation increases adenosine triphosphate (ATP) generation at 500 µA by 500%, and increases amino-acids transport by 30-40% above control levels

Frequency Specific Microcurrent

Frequency Specific Microcurrent (FSM), popularized by Carolyn McMakin; it is used to treat neural, muscular, and fascial pain by using a wider range of frequencies from (3-970 Hz) to favorably alter tissue and restore health, using minute amounts of micro-amperage current.

Significantly, the output of FSM imitates the output produced naturally by the body within each cell. The amount of FSM current is not strong enough to stimulate sensory nerves, so the treatment usually cannot be felt and is painless, as well as safe, non-invasive, and effective

Microcurrents point stimulation

Microcurrent point stimulation (MPS) is a technique used to stimulate the acupuncture points via microcurrents (50-900 µA), which causes the exact effect as an acupuncture needle

The most important aspect of the MPS is the use of the proper “Polarity” when exciting an acupoint (-ve or +ve current), and not to exceed the stimulation beyond 40 second per point (20-30 seconds are ideal)


Selected references

1. Tennant J. Healing is voltage. The handbook. 2010; CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 3rd edition


2. Becker RO. The body electric: electromagnetism and the foundation of life. 1998; William Morrow Paperbacks; 1st edition


3. McMakin C. Frequency Specific Microcurrent in pain management. 2011; Churchill Livingstone; 1st edition


4. Starwynn D. Microcurrent Electro-Acupuncture. 2002; Desert Heart Press; 1st edition


5. Starwynn D. Healing the Root of Pain. 2013; Desert Heart Press; 1st edition  


6. Dolphin neurostim MPS therapy