Electrostimulation has been proven many times over in a number of areas – rehabilitation, sports, beauty, and pain relief. The aim of this article is to describe MENS therapy, i.e. nerve stimulation with microcurrent. This technique will soon take its rightful place among effective treatments without side effects.
How does MENS therapy work?
While traditional nerve stimulation (TENS) measures the electrical current used in a treatment in milliamperes (mA). In MENS therapy (microcurrent neuromuscular stimulation), only microamperes (μA) of current are used. This rate is so low that the patient cannot even feel it.
Although several different theories have been put forward about the exact mechanism of MENS treatment, there is one thing they all agree on: the common denominator is the phenomenon of ‘injury current’. It is a known fact that there is an electric current in the cell membrane. While the outer surface of the cell carries a positive charge, the inner surface carries a negative charge. When a cell sustains damage, the damaged surface becomes negatively charged, causing electric current to flow from the healthy area to the damaged one. This damaged current, known as microcurrent, aids in healing damaged cells and tissues. Supplementing it with artificially induced microcurrent further boosts the natural functions of the damaged membrane, expediting the healing process.
MENS, or microcurrent, offers an added advantage by enabling pain-relieving electrotherapy treatments for individuals who experience discomfort with traditional TENS treatments. This freedom from discomfort is undoubtedly a major advantage of MENS over TENS.
History of microcurrent stimulation
Researchers developed microcurrent neuromuscular electrostimulation therapy approximately 20 years ago. Lynn Wallace has studied the positive effects of MENS therapy on pain in over 600 patients.
Wallace found that treatments as short as 15 to 20 minutes can relieve pain in as many as 95% of patients.
Lerner and Kirsch later investigated the effects of MENS. Patients with chronic low back pain were divided into groups treated with MENS therapy and those treated with a placebo, i.e. an ineffective device. While in the first group, 75% of participants reported a reduction in pain, in the second group this rate was only 6%.
Gault and Gatens’ research showed that ischaemic patients treated with microcurrent healed twice as fast as the untreated control group. In addition, several researchers claim in their studies that low-level electric current also has a positive effect on the healing of bone fractures.
We can conclude that MENS therapy treats both acute and chronic pain. Moreover, it also aids in healing damaged tissues, wounds, and fractures. Physiotherapy and clinical applications commonly use this type of current.