What Is Electro-Acupuncture?

At first glance, the term “electro-acupuncture” might seem like a rather frightening combination of two potentially dangerous things – needles and electricity. The reality, though, could not be more different. Electro-acupuncture is actually a highly effective and painless technique for treating a wide range of ailments.

Electro-acupuncture operates on a similar principle as regular acupuncture, with the main difference being that the needles send gentle electrical currents, or pulses, into your body. These currents stimulate your cells and tissues, and numerous studies show the treatment to be highly effective in a variety of chronic conditions. Pain, neurological issues and muscle spasms are the ailments most commonly treated using electro-acupuncture, but it can also be used to treat conditions such as hypertension, nausea, weight gain, heart disease and skin problems.


What Does An Electro-Acupuncture Treatment Entail?

As with traditional acupuncture, electro-acupuncture involves inserting needles on specific points along the body. These needles are attached to a machine that continuously generates electric pulses. The intensity and frequency of these pulses depend on the condition being treated. Two needles are used at a time so that the current can pass from one to the other.

Treatments seldom last longer than half an hour and are generally completely painless. Some patients might feel a slight tingling sensation, but in most cases, the effect produced by the current is what we call sub-sational, which means it won’t be felt. There is occasionally some very minor bruising or bleeding, caused by a needle puncturing a small blood vessel. 


History of Electro-Acupuncture

There are several schools of thought as to when and where electro-acupuncture was first used. Some say it was first used by Italian and French physicians as far back as the early 1800s. Others say it wasn’t used until the 1940s when Japanese doctors used it to speed up the healing of broken bones. Yet others claim it was the Chinese, in the late 1950s, who began experimenting with it as a form of pain relief.

Whatever its origins, electro-acupuncture is today an increasingly popular treatment, and is used in countries all over the world to great effect.


Are There Any Risks?

Electro-acupuncture is an extremely safe procedure, but it shouldn’t, however, be used on patients with a history of epilepsy, other seizures, strokes or heart disease, or on anyone with a pacemaker. It should also not be performed on a patient's head or throat, or directly over their heart.

Most practitioners believe that, while the needles are being connected to the electric current, the current should not travel across the midline of the body (an imaginary line running from the bridge of the nose to the bellybutton). 

If you have any concerns or questions about electro-acupuncture, talk to Dr. Alain Sanua. He is a qualified Medical Doctor currently practicing integrated Medicine combining Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine and Functional Medicine, among others.


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