What Is Microcurrent Therapy?
Microcurrent therapy is a treatment that applies electricity to affected areas of the body at a low amplitude (microamps) rather than the more commonly used high amplitude (milliamps) treatments.
While transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) applies short bursts of electricity at a high amplitude, microcurrent treatment opts for longer bursts of low amplitude electricity. A microcurrent device uses an electric current with an amplitude that is 1,000 times lower than that of TENS. The total electrical current (volume of electrons) being administered per second of treatment is similar in milliamp and microamp devices because of the longer bursts of electricity of microcurrent devices.
How Does Microcurrent Therapy Work?
Microcurrents employ electricity at a low amplitude and frequencies of 0.5-10Hz. These frequency and amplitude combinations are closely in line with the electrical activity of the cells of the body. Microcurrent therapy helps to heal wounds, repair injuries, improve surgery recovery, improve energy and pain in fibromyalgia, improve the pain associated with arthritis and other painful conditions. Research has also shown that microcurrent treatment can help prevent muscle loss and preserve muscle function.
Microcurrent For Skin Conditions
Microcurrent therapy has been found to be helpful in healing many skin conditions including improving healing of wounds caused by acne1, pressure ulcers2-4, diabetic ulcers5-7, burns8 and several other skin conditions9-14. One study found that microcurrent treatment was not effective for healing time in patients with skin burns that had skin donor sites15.
Microcurrent For Pain
Microcurrent treatment has been studied for a range of painful conditions. Tension headache16, acute knee pain17, osteoarthritis18, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)19-21, tennis elbow22, chronic back pain23 and sinus pain24. One study found that microcurrent treatment was not helpful for pain associated with spinal cord injury25.
Several studies have also found that microcurrent treatment is helpful in treating the pain and poor mobility that can follow joint replacement surgery of the knee26-27 and hip28. Microcurrent also is helpful for recovery after rotator cuff repair surgery29. Lastly, microcurrent is helpful in managing the pain and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia30-31.
Microcurrent For Preserving Muscle
Microcurrent therapy also has the ability to help maintain muscle size, strength and protect against muscle damage32-34. These muscle protecting effects are a key part of why microcurrent is helpful for people recovering from surgery and those in pain as it protects against muscle wasting and muscular damage. Healthy muscle tone is an important part of recovering from painful conditions and surgical procedures.
Will I Feel Anything?
Not much. Microcurrent treatment can be either felt just faintly or not at all. Unlike TENS, there will also be no tensing or spasming of the muscles in the area of treatment.
Is Microcurrent Safe?
Yes, microcurrent has been found to be safe over the course of 50+ peer reviewed studies. Recent review studies have concluded that Microcurrent treatment is safe with adverse effects being quite rare.
In some cases tingling, skin sensitivity or muscle twitching can occur during treatment but this can be managed easily by reducing the treatment intensity. People with epilepsy, certain heart conditions or those with a pacemaker should not use microcurrent therapy. Pregnant women are also not treated with microcurrent treatment out of an abundance of caution.
Microcurrent Therapy in Halifax
If you are interested in receiving microcurrent treatment please contact MacLeod Naturopathic at 902-820-2727 to book an initial naturopathic visit to discuss your options.
- Lazarenko NN, Supova MV, Trunova OV, et al. [The influence of electrical stimulation on the peripheral immune system under the experimental and clinical conditions]. Vopr Kurortol Fizioter Lech Fiz Kult. 2015 Jul-Aug;92(4):41-47. Russian.
- Avendaño-Coy J, Martín-Espinosa NM, Ladriñán-Maestro A, et al. Effectiveness of Microcurrent Therapy for Treating Pressure Ulcers in Older People: A Double-Blind, Controlled, Randomized Clinical Trial. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Aug 15;19(16):10045.
- Lessiani G, Galati V, Franzone G et al. Efficacy of Modulated Microcurrent Stimulation in Pressure Ulcers Treatment: A Monocentric, Prospective, Double-Blind, Randomized Study. J Nov Physiother 2014, 4:4
- Ullah MO. A study to detect the efficacy of Micro-current Electrical Therapy on decubitus wound. Journal of medical sciences (Taipei, Taiwan) 2007; 7(8): 1320‐1324.
- Wirsing PG, Habrom AD, Zehnder TM, et al. Wireless micro current stimulation–an innovative electrical stimulation method for the treatment of patients with leg and diabetic foot ulcers. Int Wound J. 2015 Dec;12(6):693-8.
- Ramadhinara A, Poulas K. Use of wireless microcurrent stimulation for the treatment of diabetes-related wounds: 2 case reports. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2013 Jan;26(1):1-4.
- Lee BY, Al-Waili N, Stubbs D, et al. Ultra-low microcurrent in the management of diabetes mellitus, hypertension and chronic wounds: report of twelve cases and discussion of mechanism of action. Int J Med Sci. 2009 Dec 6;7(1):29-35.
- Ibrahim ZM, Waked IS, Ibrahim O. Negative pressure wound therapy versus microcurrent electrical stimulation in wound healing in burns. J Wound Care. 2019 Apr 2;28(4):214-219.
- Miguel MMV, Mathias-Santamaria IF, Rossato A, et al. Microcurrent electrotherapy improves palatal wound healing: Randomized clinical trial. J Periodontol. 2021 Feb;92(2):244-253.
- Guest JF, Singh H, Rana K, et al. Cost-effectiveness of an electroceutical device in treating non-healing venous leg ulcers: results of an RCT. J Wound Care. 2018 Apr 2;27(4):230-243.
- Korelo RI, Valderramas S, Ternoski B, et al. Microcurrent application as analgesic treatment in venous ulcers: a pilot study. Rev Lat Am Enfermagem. 2012 Jul-Aug;20(4):753-60.
- Young S, Hampton S, Tadej M. Study to evaluate the effect of low-intensity pulsed electrical currents on levels of oedema in chronic non-healing wounds. J Wound Care. 2011 Aug;20(8):368, 370-3.
- Lee BY, Wendell K, Al-Waili N, et al. Ultra-low microcurrent therapy: a novel approach for treatment of chronic resistant wounds. Adv Ther. 2007 Nov-Dec;24(6):1202-9.
- Huckfeldt R, Flick AB, Mikkelson D, et al. Wound closure after split-thickness skin grafting is accelerated with the use of continuous direct anodal microcurrent applied to silver nylon wound contact dressings. J Burn Care Res. 2007 Sep-Oct;28(5):703-7.
- Malin EW, Galin CM, Lairet KF, et al. Silver-coated nylon dressing plus active DC microcurrent for healing of autogenous skin donor sites. Ann Plast Surg. 2013 Nov;71(5):481-4.
- Do JK, Kwon DR. Efficacy of cranial microcurrent stimulation in patients with tension-type headache: A prospective, randomised, double-blinded, sham-controlled clinical trial. Int J Clin Pract. 2021 Sep;75(9):e14437.
- Lawson D, Lee KH, Kang HB. Efficacy of microcurrent therapy for treatment of acute knee pain: A randomized double-blinded controlled clinical trial. Clin Rehabil. 2021 Mar;35(3):390-398.
- Ranker A, Husemeyer O, Cabeza-Boeddinghaus N, et al. Microcurrent therapy in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis: could it be more than a placebo effect? A randomized controlled trial. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2020 Aug;56(4):459-468.
- Bertolucci LE, Grey T. Clinical comparative study of microcurrent electrical stimulation to mid-laser and placebo treatment in degenerative joint disease of the temporomandibular joint. Cranio. 1995 Apr;13(2):116-20.
- Saranya B, Ahmed J, Shenoy N, et al. Comparison of Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation (TENS) and Microcurrent Nerve Stimulation (MENS) in the Management of Masticatory Muscle Pain: A Comparative Study. Pain Res Manag. 2019 Nov 23;2019:8291624.
- Rajpurohit B, Khatri SM, Metgud D, Bagewadi A. Effectiveness of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and microcurrent electrical nerve stimulation in bruxism associated with masticatory muscle pain–a comparative study. Indian J Dent Res. 2010 Jan-Mar;21(1):104-6.
- Poltawski L, Johnson M, Watson T. Microcurrent therapy in the management of chronic tennis elbow: pilot studies to optimize parameters. Physiother Res Int. 2012 Sep;17(3):157-66.
- Koopman JS, Vrinten DH, van Wijck AJ. Efficacy of microcurrent therapy in the treatment of chronic nonspecific back pain: a pilot study. Clin J Pain. 2009 Jul-Aug;25(6):495-9.
- Maul XA, Borchard NA, Hwang PH, et al. Microcurrent technology for rapid relief of sinus pain: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded clinical trial. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2019 Apr;9(4):352-356.
- Tan G, Rintala DH, Thornby JI, et al. Using cranial electrotherapy stimulation to treat pain associated with spinal cord injury. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2006 Jul-Aug;43(4):461-74.
- Rockstroh G, Schleicher W, Krummenauer F. Der Nutzen der während einer stationären Anschlussheilbehandlung applizierten Mikrostromtherapie bei Patienten nach Implantation einer Knie-Totalendoprothese – eine randomisierte, klinische Studie [Effectiveness of microcurrent therapy as a constituent of post-hospital rehabilitative treatment in patients after total knee alloarthroplasty – a randomized clinical trial]. Rehabilitation (Stuttg). 2010 Jun;49(3):173-9. German.
- El-Husseini T, El-Kawy S, Shalaby H, El-Sebai M. Microcurrent skin patches for postoperative pain control in total knee arthroplasty: a pilot study. Int Orthop. 2007 Apr;31(2):229-33. doi: 10.1007/s00264-006-0149-0.
- Sarhan TM, Doghem MA. Effect of microcurrent skin patch on the epidural fentanyl requirements for post operative pain relief of total hip arthroplasty. Middle East J Anaesthesiol. 2009 Oct;20(3):411-5.
- Yi D, Lim H, Yim J. Effect of Microcurrent Stimulation on Pain, Shoulder Function, and Grip Strength in Early Post-Operative Phase after Rotator Cuff Repair. Medicina (Kaunas). 2021 May 13;57(5):491.
- Taylor AG, Anderson JG, Riedel SL, et al. Cranial electrical stimulation improves symptoms and functional status in individuals with fibromyalgia. Pain Manag Nurs. 2013 Dec;14(4):327-335.
- Taylor AG, Anderson JG, Riedel SL, et al. A randomized, controlled, double-blind pilot study of the effects of cranial electrical stimulation on activity in brain pain processing regions in individuals with fibromyalgia. Explore (NY). 2013 Jan-Feb;9(1):32-40.
- Toth MJ, Tourville TW, Voigt TB, et al. Utility of Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation to Preserve Quadriceps Muscle Fiber Size and Contractility After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries and Reconstruction: A Randomized, Sham-Controlled, Blinded Trial. Am J Sports Med. 2020 Aug;48(10):2429-2437.
- Kwon DR, Kim J, Kim Y, et al. Short-term microcurrent electrical neuromuscular stimulation to improve muscle function in the elderly: A randomized, double-blinded, sham-controlled clinical trial. Medicine (Baltimore). 2017 Jun;96(26):e7407.
- Lambert MI, Marcus P, Burgess T, et al. Electro-membrane microcurrent therapy reduces signs and symptoms of muscle damage. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002 Apr;34(4):602-7.