Electrotherapy is the use of an electrical device for relaxation of muscle spasms, preventing muscle atrophy, increasing local blood circulation, muscle rehabilitation, maintaining and increasing range of motion and management of chronic and acute pain. These benefits are helpful in keeping muscles active especially after any type spinal cord injury or stroke.
Types of electrotherapy devices include TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation), EMS (Electrical Muscle Stimulation), Interferential (also known as IF), Galvanic (known under a number of names including HVGPS or High Voltage Pulsed Galvanic Stimulation) and Microcurrent. Related devices include electroacupuncture devices, some beauty-massaging devices and biofeedback devices. All these devices apply electrical currents to the surface of the body to affect skin, nerves, muscles, and blood circulation.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator (TENS)
The small electrical currents of TENS are adjusted to send stimulating pulses over the surface of the skin and into nerve endings. Those pulses help to decrease pain by blocking pain signals from reaching the brain. They also help stimulate production of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers. Common uses for TENS include back and neck pain, arthritis, neuropathies, and other acute and chronic pain.
Interferential Stimulation (IS)
The Interferential Stimulator is a more complex development of TENS. TENS deliver extremely love frequencies (2-150 HZ)). Interferential uses medium frequencies (1000-40000 HZ). Medium frequencies travel in the tissue more easily, deeper and with less discomfort to the patient.
High Voltage Pulsed Galvanic Stimulator (HVPGS)
Galvanic is Direct Current (DC). Specifically, the current is constant and unvarying. Unlike TENS, Galvanic stimulation applies high voltage, but low amperage to alleviate pain, stimulate blood flow, and promote wound healing. It is frequently used for injuries that are associated with bleeding or swelling.
Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)
The low voltage electrical currents of EMS is adjusted to stimulate muscle motor nerves at a high enough intensity to cause muscle contractions.
Microcurrent Therapy uses extremely tiny electrical currents (electricity measured in millionths of an ampere, or micro amps, symbolized as µA) to help relieve pain and heal soft tissues of the body. This healing current similar and compatible with our nervous system. TENS devices use currents measured in mA (milliamps). Microcurrent units operate well below Tens amperage healing tissue.