Microcurrent has been used for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians used catfish. In 46 A.D. Dr. Largus used the black torpedo fish to treat gout. In 1745 the Leyden Jar was developed as a capacitor and in 1919 the Electreat was used similarly to a TENS unit. A recent pioneer in the field was Dr. Thomas Wing. He developed the Acu-O-Matic device in 1970. Things have continued to develop since that time to the current devices that are available.
In 1982-1983 Kaada did studies that showed TENS devices were successful in pain relief for neuropathy, raynoids and chronic leg ulcers. He continued his studies on leprous ulcers, vasodilation, fibromyalgia, mild to moderate hypertension and tinnitus, all with positive results. Studies have shown burns heal faster with the application of microcurrent and silver nylon fabric.
Another important study was done by Grace Halloran, Ph.D., in 1983-85. She studied the effects of microcurrent in the treatment of macular degeneration. The results of her study were published in the Townsend Newsletter in October, 2002. Eighteen patients had macular degeneration and 16 improved. Seventy eight had retinitis pigmentosa and 62 showed improvement. Eighteen patients had other various retinopathies and 16 improved. In the study only 2 patients out of the 114 continued to lose vision and in these cases the loss was slow.
Microcurrent operates on the premise that less is better. The smaller the amperage the more effective the treatment. Higher currents block pain and lower currents stimulate healing. In general these devices are believed to improve circulation, reduce scar tissue and stimulate cellular activity. TENS devices operate at a higher amperage (1-5 milliamps) and will block pain. Microcurrent devices are at a lower amperage (20-400 micro amps) and stimulate cellular activity. Theoretically, on a cellular level, microcurrent increases adenosentriphosphate (ATP) production in the mitochondria which has a cascade effect on the neuro-endocrine system, organ systems and chemical systems.
Case studies were reviewed including prostate, macular degeneration, clinical applications of micro-light, emotional therapy, microcurrent regeneration of an industrial crush hand injury, chronic back pain, trauma and facial rejuvenation. There are cases where microcurrent is not recommended. These include, but are not limited to patients with pacemakers, seizure disorders and current or recent cancer.