IMPORTANT NOTE - All electrical stimulation devices, including microcurrent stimulators, are are registered with the F.D.A. as "pain control" devices. Stimulators may not be used invasively or labeled as "acupuncture" devices, as this puts them in the category of "experimental" devices which would not be reimburseable by insurance. Although no claims can be made for stimulators to be labeled as acupuncture devices, below are some ways acupuncturists have reported applying the principles of Oriental medicine in utilizing microcurrent therapy in their practices:
Microcurrent therapy is defined as the process of utilizing very low intensity currents to promote the homeostatic and self-healing tissue and cellular level mechanisms of the body. Microcurrent probe therapies are often performed with a greater level of point accuracy than traditional electro-therapies, and so a greater level of awareness is called upon in the practitioner. This treatment offers an invaluable bridge between the accuracy and sensitivity of traditional acupuncture and pragmatic Western medicine and technology.
The following therapies are of great benefit in the modern acupuncture practice:
Effective acu-point stimulation without needles-
The acupuncturist's practice, and hence income, can be expanded by offering needle-less treatments to children, athletes, or "needle-phobic" patients. Microcurrent probe treatments are billable under established CPT code 97118 for manual electrical stimulation.
The instrument metering system allows the user to scan an affected area and locate and treat a number of active (low-impedance) points in quick succession. This is an ideal treatment for "ah-shi" points. The ability of the Acutron to do this is based on the "viscero-cutaneous reflex" described by Dr. Felix Mann in his book Acupuncture (Vintage books, 1973). By this principle, disturbances in the deeper tissue of the body are reflected in changes on selected points (acupoints) on the skin surface, one of which is a lowering of electrical impedance. The Acutron's highly sensitive meter monitoring system allows the user to pick up these subtle changes and then to deliver precise therapeutic stimulation with a touch of the probe trigger button.
Brief treatment times-
Seconds of microstimulation of acu-points are usually equivalent to minutes of traditional needle therapy, especially for treatment of myofascial pain conditions. This feature enables the acupuncturist to "cover more bases" in a single treatment session. By spending less time on needle placements for myofascial pain, the acupuncturist is freed up to devote most of his or her time to analysis and treatment of the underlying Root of the patient’s condition.
Instant meridian readout and balancing-
A sensitive ohmeter device, which is contained in some advanced microcurrent devices, is capable of performing Ryodoraku, Akabane, and EAV (Electroacupuncture According to Voll) measurement of meridian test points. It uses the 0 - 100 Meter scale compatible with these systems, with readings of "50 - 65" representing balance and homeostasis. Readings of 65 - 100 indicate excess, or inflammatory conditions of the meridian, and readings of 10 - 45 indicating deficient or degenerate states. The timer-relay system allows the practitioner to read out the meridian condition, deliver a burst of current to tonify or sedate, and then immediately read out the change produced in that meridian on the Meter. Thus the entire principal meridian system can potentially be assessed and brought into balance in a few minutes. Tonification and sedation is chosen through the current Polarity control, and selection of proper frequency. Treatment points for balancing meridians can be based on 5 element theory, extraordinary channels master points, source points, or other traditional systems. Effectiveness of this technique can be verified by changes in the pulse or abdominal palpation points.
Suggested settings for tonification- 150 microamps, negative
polarity, 2:1 Mode, 0.6 Hz.
Suggested settings for sedation- 25 microamperes, positive
polarity, 2:1 Mode, 80 Hz.
The Microcurrent Four-Step protocol taught through East-West Seminars http://www.east-westseminars.com/ is an excellent method for balancing the meridian system using polarized microcurrent stimulation through the acupuncture meridian system.
Note- If above or similar procedures cannot bring Meter to balance point, Flooding techniques should be applied, and then points re-measured. If still not balancing after 1-3 sessions, it is indication of degenerative, allergic, or more deficient condition requiring more Internal treatment such as herbs, homeopathy, nutrition, or Western medicine.
Special probe tips for searching and treating ear acupuncture points or Korean Hand points are available on some units. The instrument's Audible Threshold control can be set so the entire ear can be scanned quickly, with only "hot" reactive points activating the audible tones of the unit.
Suggested settings- 25 - 50 µA, Continuous Mode, negative Polarity, Slope Waveform, Timer to four seconds, and Audible Threshold to 50 for searching. Use 2.5 Hz or Nogier ear regions resonant frequencies.
Flooding therapies ("electric moxing")-
Deficient areas can be stimulated with low frequency pad stimulation at tickling intensity to allow greater response to energetic therapies.
Suggested settings - Biphasic polarity, 10 Hz, 2:1 Mode, intensity to slight tickling level. Apply pads so current covers entire extremity or other affected area. Treat for 10 - 30 minutes. This is a variation of interferential micro-stimulation for pain relief and rehab of the joints.
The Dense-Disperse current modulation (DD Hz) is used in many Chinese stimulators for inducing acute pain relief, including surgical analgesia, also called Electrical Nerve Block. This effect can be produced by combining the milliamperage interferential outputs with the Dense-Disperse modulation.
Suggested settings- Pulse mA waveform (through pad outputs), 130 Hz, Dense-Disperse (DD Hz) Mode, 100 µS pulse width, intensity to slight muscle twitching. May be combined with Interferential four-pad placement for greater effect. For best carry-over effect, follow milliamp treatment with a period of gentle, low frequency micro-stimulation.