Electrotherapy is nothing other than treatment with electricity. It involves procedures for treating various disease symptoms and pain, plus procedures for follow-up care and recovery of musculoskeletal functions.
The circulation-boosting and warming effectt of high-frequency therapy was proven as early as 1957. At the time it was already possible to define indications such as the treatment of neuralgia and skin eczema. Rheumatological diseases and diseases with inflammatory processes were successfully treated.
Clinical and experimental evidence of the effect of electrotherapy on cells and blood vessels was gained. During treatment, an increase in excitability can be tested by determining the motor threshold.
Huber, R. & Michalsen, A. (Hrsg.) Checkliste Komplementärmedizin. (2014). Stuttgart: Karl F. Haug Verlag
Electric muscle stimulation
If the cell does not induce change, the initial state remains in place (with the intracellular environment being negatively charged, and the extracellular environment positively charged), which is known as resting potential. Muscle and nerve cells are excitable cells that can change ion conductivity in response to a stimulus. If this stimulus is strong enough, what is known as action potential develops. In the nerve cell, this is the transmitter signal that causes a contraction in the muscle (action potential). This means that the stimulus reduces the resting potential (= depolarisation).
This is where alternating electrical and magnetic fields and electromagnetic waves of about 100 kHz are used.
A distinction is made between different types of waves: short waves, microwaves, decimetre waves. The special effect consists of the increase in local circulation, depth warming, an increase in metabolism, and stimulation of the immune system.
Alternating currents with a frequency of 1 – 300 kHz and constant intensity. They can be divided into pure stimulation currents and amplitude-modulated stimulation currents. They can have a stimulating effect on the nerve-muscle system and an inhibitory effect on pain transmission.
Continuous current with frequencies of 0.1 – 1 kHz. The electrotherapy device interrupts the continuous current at set intervals so that an impulse current is generated. Areas of use include: pain relief, treatment of weak muscles, and treatment of peripheral paralysis.
Wenk, W. (2004): Elektrotherapie. Berlin: Springer
Kramme, R. (Hrsg.) (2001): Medizintechnik. 4. Berlin Heidelberg Springer-Verlag