Electro Acupuncture (EA)
Electroacupuncture is similar to acupuncture, a widely practiced form of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Acupuncture involves the use of thin needles to stimulate specific pressure points linked to unwanted symptoms.
In standard acupuncture, one needle is used at each treatment point. Electroacupuncture is a modified form that uses two needles.
A mild electric current passes between these needles during treatment. This current generally applies more stimulation to acupoints than needle twirling or other hand manipulation techniques an acupuncturist might use.
What is Electroacupuncture Therapy ?
How Does It Work ?
In TCM, your health depends on the flow of qi (energy) in your body. This energy travels along invisible pathways, known as meridians. These are found throughout your body.
Qi is believed to help keep your body in balance and promote its natural ability to heal itself. A blocked or disrupted flow of qi can negatively impact physical and emotional well-being.
That’s where electroacupuncture comes in. It stimulates the points linked to your symptoms to help restart the flow of qi. Two needles are placed around the point while a machine delivers an electrical impulse to them.
Electroacupuncture is intended to help increase the potential healing effects of standard acupuncture.
Electroacupuncture helps to block your pain by activating bioactive chemicals in your body. This process may decrease your sensitivity to the pain you’re feeling. It’s also been shown to help reduce inflammation in your body.
When you get electroacupuncture, it activates your sympathetic nerve fibers. By activating these fibers, your body releases endogenous opioids such as endorphins, which help to reduce inflammation. The activated nerve fibers may also help to reduce feelings of persistent pain. This makes it a good treatment for chronic pain and stress.
Studies have also found that electroacupuncture may help your body release mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) into your bloodstream. MSCs are adult stem cells mostly found in your bone marrow. MSCs help your body create different types of tissues. They also have healing properties.
Effective and benefits of EA?
One study used electroacupuncture treatments. In this study, those who received electroacupuncture treatment reported a significant reduction in knee pain just 24 hours after treatment. This effect lasts as long as four months after treatment.
However, the review authors note that the study included only a small number of participants and was of low quality.
The results suggest electroacupuncture helped to both reduce pain and improve movement. The authors noted that the studies seemed to suggest four weeks of treatment were needed. The study authors concluded by emphasizing the need for more high-quality trials to support electroacupuncture’s treatment benefits.
A 2014 literature reviewTrusted Source looked at multiple preclinical animal studies on electroacupuncture’s use as a form of pain relief. The results suggest that electroacupuncture can help to reduce different types of pain.
The authors also found evidence to suggest a combination of electroacupuncture and pain medication may be more effective than medication alone. This is promising, as it could mean that using electroacupuncture for pain relief may reduce the need for high doses of medicine. Keep in mind that these results came from animal studies. More research is needed to understand the effects of electroacupuncture on pain in humans.
A 2005 reviewTrusted Source of 11 randomized trials looked at the use of acupuncture to reduce chemotherapy-related vomiting. The authors noted that electroacupuncture appeared to be more helpful for reducing vomiting right after a chemotherapy treatment than standard acupuncture.
Treatment targets areas of the body to help alleviate soreness, promote healing and a quick recovery. Stimulation can be delivered deep into the tissue in localized areas including:
Musculoskeletal system : bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and connective tissues.
In some cases, Elecronic acupuncture therapy is incorporated as part of a patient’s pain management program.
What happens during a session ?
Electroacupuncture is typically done by an acupuncturist. Here’s what a session might look like:
Your acupuncturist will evaluate your symptoms and select points for treatment.
They’ll insert a needle at the treatment point and another needle nearby.
Once the needles are inserted to the correct depth, your acupuncturist will use electrodes to connect the needles to a special electroacupuncture machine.
After the electrodes are attached, they’ll turn on the machine. Electroacupuncture machines have adjustable current and voltage settings. Low voltages and frequencies will be used at first, though your acupuncturist may adjust the frequency and voltage of the current during treatment.
The electric current pulsates, alternating between the two needles.
A typical session might last between 15 and 30 minutes, which is less than the average acupuncture session.
*Does it hurt ?
The electrical current used in electroacupuncture doesn’t act on you directly. While you might feel some tingling or vibration, you shouldn’t feel any pain during the treatment, aside from a quick prick when the needle is placed. Many people report not feeling any pain, even with needle insertion.
*Electronic Acupuncture Therapy Is Not Recommended : patients with pacemakers, epilepsy or severe health conditions.