Microcurrent (MCR) treatment is an electrotherapy treatment. Its main uses are pain relief and treatment of arthritis or tendonitis. It can also be used for a range of other purposes, which you can read about here. I will now show you what is needed for microcurrent treatment and how to perform it.
The painkiller trap
Does your shoulder ache, your back hurt? Wrist or knee pain won’t let up? Tortured tennis elbow? Doctors usually recommend the same thing: “take painkillers”! Most advertisements and patient information sites “push” the same message.
Painkillers are symptomatic. They relieve the pain for a few hours, but as they have no curative effect, they do not cure the disease itself. As the drug breaks down, the pain returns.
Taking them for several weeks at a time will almost certainly have undesirable consequences. Gastrointestinal complaints, stomach acidosis, stomach ulcers, stomach bleeding in severe cases, or damage to white blood cells can all impair the body’s defences against disease. According to recent data, regular use of painkillers quadruples the risk of cardiac death and stroke.
If you have a persistent condition that causes your pain, look for a solution that reduces the need for medication, relieves your pain and helps the condition to heal, rather than a symptomatic treatment.
Microcurrent therapy (MCR) is just such a method!
The electrical pulse increases the production of ATP, or energy, in the cell. Energy (ATP) is needed to get the substances needed for healing through the cell wall and to start regeneration. So more energy stimulates cellular function, which results in a faster healing and regeneration process. Read more about microcurrent here.
Components for microcurrent treatment
You cannot use MCR in the presence of an implanted pacemaker or defibrillator, which are absolute contraindications. Do not use over the skull, thyroid or heart. Otherwise, you can use it on any part of your body. For general contraindications to electrotherapy,
Wash the area you want to treat with lukewarm, soapy water before treatment. Oily skin reduces the adhesion of the electrode pins and impairs signal transmission. In heavily furred areas, the treatment may not work because the hairs prevent the pulse from reaching the skin. Unfortunately, there is no other way, at least you have to remove the hair from the electrode sites.
- A microcurrent device is a small device.
- Through the self-adhesive electrodes, the impulses emitted by the device are transmitted to the body and nerve endings. The more expensive (better quality) electrodes deliver the pulses more effectively to the skin and this results in faster and longer-lasting pain relief and less treatment discomfort.
Only a few devices currently provide true microcurrent treatments. Check the minimum adjustable current on the device. If it is 1 milliAmpere (=1000 microAmpere), the device is not microcurrent. The effective range of microcurrent is between 50-800 microAmps. Only devices in this range have microcurrent therapeutic effects.
For the below practical treatments, I will be using Globus Triathlon as it has built-in microcurrent programs.
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- Built-in microcurrent programs such as piriformis and sciatica, etc.
- Additional triatlon-related warmup, recovery and strength exercises
- multifunctional electrotherapy device
- TENS | EMS, NMES, FES | MENS, MCR | Iontophoresis
- max. 4 channels (8 electrodes)
Practical implementation of microcurrent treatment
- Pull out the device, patient lead or leads. For Globus devices, the grey cable should be used for microcurrent treatment; microcurrent does not work with coloured cables.
- The Globus devices provide microcurrent treatment on two channels (1-3).
- Each cable requires 2 self-adhesive electrodes
- Sit down in your armchair, get comfortable
- Connect one end of the cable to the device
- Connect the electrodes to the other end of the cable
- Pull the electrode off the plastic sheet and stick it to your skin
A general rule is to stick the electrodes around the painful area and not on the most painful spot.
One electrode is not enough for the treatment, you need a minimum of one pair. Electrodes connected to the two ends of the cable “travel” the electrical impulses between them.
The electrodes should not touch each other and should always be at least 2-3 cm apart. A distance of up to 20 cm between the two electrodes is not good.
The manufacturer usually provides some diagrams of the device. Below you can see some of these electrode placement suggestions for common complaints.
You don’t have to be rigid in insisting that you place the electrodes in exactly these spots. Take your own complaint into account, because you may be hurting a little further forward, backwards, upward, or downward.
Position the electrode so that the current running between the pair of electrodes “passes through” the most painful area.
Example electrode placement points
Find the positions where you feel the treatment is most effective below. Moreover, use the above electrode placement chart to see where you need to place the electrodes.
Start of the treatment
- When the electrodes are in place, turn the device on.
- Select the appropriate program from the menu and press “OK”
- For Globus electrostimulators, you can select a complaint or condition from a list and the device will automatically set the optimal parameters.
- On the Start subtitle, press “OK”. You will see the text “Adjust intensity”
- Press the FEL arrow (left side) for channel 1 once and the display will show the set current (in microAmps) and the program running clock will start to rotate.
- For microcurrent programs, press the intensity button only once to actually start the treatment.
- The appliance allows you to modify the current intensity, but this is a feature for the competent. If you’re not familiar with it, don’t adjust the set value, as this could immediately “ruin” the treatment. Although you will only do so much damage, the expected effect may not be achieved.
- Microcurrent programs (also) work at a current set by medical experts, so trust them. You don’t have to figure out a different setting.
Microcurrent treatment is not known by most people. It’s no coincidence since amperage is part of the millionth of an ampere. This is the order of magnitude of the potential between the two sides of a cell membrane. That is why it can affect the way cells work. Once the programmed time has elapsed, the treatment stops. For microcurrent treatments, you can extend the treatment time, but never shorten it.
Microcurrent treatment triggers your body’s inflammation healing processes. To maintain this, you need to repeat the treatments. Don’t skip days between treatments because the healing process will be interrupted.
Keep up the microcurrent treatment steadily, with at least one session a day until you are healed, and up to 3-4 sessions for more severe complaints.
Mistakes to avoid when doing microcurrent treatment
Globus devices provide microcurrent treatment on 2 channels and require specially shielded cables. The grey-coloured cables supplied with the unit should be used and plugged into outputs 1 and 3 (first and third from the left) of the unit.
Electrode fault message indicates that
- you are not using a grey cable,
- you are not plugging the cable into channels 1-3,
- your circuit is not closed, i.e. the cables are not connected to self-adhesive electrodes and the electrodes are not glued to the skin.
Microcurrent treatment works only with self-adhesive electrodes. With microcurrent, the current is not adjustable. Microcurrent is one-millionth of an ampere of current, which most people don’t sense – but it works nonetheless.
How long does it take to take effect?
It is affected by age, nutrition, nature of the complaint, duration of the complaint, and condition. Obviously, a recent sprain may have a quicker effect than a hip sprain that has been going on for years. For example, a tennis elbow and a pulled muscle are completely different – if you have two of these complaints at the same time, you will get different results.
The pain-relieving effects of microcurrent therapy can be noticed even during the first treatment. However, it usually starts after 5-10 treatments and you should continue until the pain is completely gone.
In cases of long-standing complaints, it is common for first treatments to cause a marked increase in pain and therefore to be stopped in a panic.
There is no need to be alarmed. All it indicates is that the treatment has had a very good effect. It has “flushed out” from the treated area the toxins that were produced during the old inflammation and could not leave on their own. It is the release of toxins (poisons) that causes the pain.
After 3-4 treatments, the pain-relieving effects will wear off and only the beneficial ones will remain. If your pain is still increasing after 4-5 days, however, stop and see your doctor, as the treatment may not be right for you because of some other underlying condition.
Microcurrent treatments for chronic inflammation such as tennis elbow, rotator cuff inflammation, Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, etc., will give noticeable results after about 40-50 treatments. Persistent microcurrent treatment will help your body’s healing process to overcome the inflammation and get rid of the complaint.