Sometimes a medical situation occurs when the standard tools of the trade for an acupuncturist may take longer than usual to help. When a little back up is required, a nifty device can be called upon to enhance the intended therapeutic outcome of an acupuncture treatment.
What is it?
An electro-acupuncture machine is very similar to a TENS machine however instead of using adhesive pads, the device is attached to the body via small clips placed onto acupuncture needles. This may sound quite daunting to some and down right scary to others however the machines are built to slowly boot up and not cause an intense shock to the system.
When to use it?
The use of an electro-acupuncture machine is generally called for when a patient has stubborn, chronic or extreme musculoskeletal pain in an area. It can be used for other medical reasons and that is up to the discretion of the practitioner however it has a very broad application for pain.
How does it work?
The device works upon the pain “Gate Control Theory” which essentially states that if you can introduce a stimulation into an area of pain that is equal to the amount of pain felt – the pain should subside. This is a theory based upon neuroscience but has been adapted for use within the Chinese medicine system.
Notice that the theory states an equal stimulation into the site of pain? This does not mean that a practitioner must inflict pain in order to stop pain. It is simply the combination of higher stimulation rate along with the standard effect acupuncture has upon the body.
Is it required?
Using electro-acupuncture is simply a way to enhance an acupuncture treatment. Results may still occur but it can take longer and again it is not required for all treatments. For example a practitioner would not seek to use electro-acupuncture when assisting with mental health.
Is it safe?
This is a very important question to ask. The use of electro-acupuncture is safe as long as the patient does not have a pace maker and the practitioner is properly trained and registered to practice.
In conclusion, electro-acupuncture is useful in the treatment of pain and can assist in speeding up the recovery rate however it is not beneficial to use it for all medical conditions and there are safety points to consider prior to application. A practitioner should always communicate with their patient before applying any treatment and a patient should always ask questions before committing to any treatment.