Frequently asked questions about Micro Current
Does it hurt?
Not at all, our technique is delivered with pressure within your comfort zone. The electrical current at its strongest only gives a slight tingling sensation.
How many treatments will I need?
This depends on the reason and the extent of the problem. A fully trained electrotherapist will carry out a consultation and recommend the best action for your individual needs.
How many times will I need to see therapist?
On average, twice a week will ensure the best results.
How long does a treatment take?
A treatment usually takes between 20 – 40 minutes (subject to consultation)
How soon will I see results?
Visible results are usually evident after one treatment. The larger body muscles can take longer to react and measurable results usually occur after around 4-6 sessions.
Do the benefits last?
Changes to muscle cells, nerves and other tissue have proven to be long-lasting. Regular exercise as well as a balanced diet is a great way in maintaining long term results.
Is there any risk?
Micro Current has no risk but medical conditions such as epilepsy or cardiac pacemakers is a contra-indication so therefore cannot be treated (absolute).
Micro-current Treatments and how they work
Micro-current treatments are a form of cosmetic electrotherapy that use low electric currents passed through the skin to produce several therapeutic effects, such as muscle toning in the body. There are four main types of electrotherapy treatments that differ in the type of current they use including Galvanic treatment, Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) (also known as Faradic treatment), Micro-current Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulation (MENS), and High-frequency treatment.
Micro-current treatments are used for cosmetic and medical applications, and are distinguished by their use of micro-ampere currents (i.e. millionths of an amp) which are hardly perceptible, but mimic the body’s own bio-electric currents. In addition to their widespread and successful use for cosmetic applications (mainly for non-surgical face-lifts), a number of micro-current devices have been approved by the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for medical applications (such as temporary pain relief), demonstrating that they are considered by the FDA to be safe to use1. Despite widespread use over a number of years, very few adverse events have been reported to the FDA, providing further evidence that micro-current treatments are safe to use. While treatment effectiveness for some specialised applications of micro-current has been demonstrated by small scale clinical studies, some of the treatment mechanisms are little understood, with effectiveness and best practices for their use still largely anecdotal.
There are more than 200 publications in peer reviewed journals on various therapeutic or healing effects of micro-current treatments. This research has consistently identified a number of biological effects of micro-current, suggesting mechanisms for how micro-currents deliver their treatment effects, such as muscle toning. These include, muscle re-education via a cerebral effect, changes in protein expression at the cellular level, and increases in cellular metabolism.
- Muscle re-education is a process whereby muscle tone and strength is restored by passing a very small direct current through muscle tissue to stimulate the Golgi Tendon Organ (GTO). The GTO is a specialised proprioceptor used by the brain to gather information about muscles and help decide whether or not to initiate neural impulses to contract muscles, relax muscles, or just maintain tonus in them. As people age, the brain’s ability to sense a muscle’s condition is dulled, while its ability to initiate neural impulses is slowed and diminished because of changes in the peripheral nervous system. The use of micro-current can restore this ability in part because micro-current mimics the body’s own electrical impulses.
In the 1970s, Thomas Wing and George Goodheart demonstrated that muscles can be re-educated via the GTO and returned to a more natural state. They combined the GTO and micro-current therapy to achieve a method for stimulating muscles to re-educate them2.
Micro-current effectively reminds the brain to initiate more impulses. With a specific placement of the probes and subsequent gentle manipulation of the muscles to move them to the correct location, the brain senses and remembers the new desired location.
As the brain sends and receives more signals, the effect of micro-current therapy is re-educated, freshly toned muscle memory. By stimulating the muscles, micro-current rebuilds the body structure from the inside, giving the body a “lift”. Results are immediate and apparent.
- Micro-current has also been shown to increase cellular metabolism and protein synthesis. A 1982 study published by Cheng et al showed that direct electric currents ranging from 10 µA to 1000 µA increase levels of the nucleoside adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the tissue and stimulate amino acid incorporation into the proteins of rat skin3. ATP transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism, and it is often called the “molecular unit of currency” of intracellular energy transfer. This combination of increased metabolism and protein synthesis at the cellular level provides muscles with the energy and nutrients needed to maintain tonus in the desired “re-educated” location.
- In a study published in 2013, Ohno et al. stimulated the regrowth of atrophied mouse soleus muscle using micro-current electrical nerve stimulation (MENS), and showed that this was mediated at least in part by MENS acting as an extracellular stimulus to activate the intracellular signals involved in protein synthesis
- As the strong anecdotal evidence of efficacy and lack of evidence of any adverse effects of micro-current grows and as our limited understanding of the biological mechanisms mediating the positive effects of micro-current treatments increases through further fundamental research, adoption will be limited by the lack of controlled clinical studies to provide evidence of efficacy and safety of micro-current treatments. There is therefore an opportunity to enhance the quality of the evidence to date and driving further adoption by designing and running appropriate clinical studies.
- Goodheart et al., “Applied kinesiology & Golgi tendon organ spindle cell” Chiropractic Economics, 18(3);Nov/Dec 1975:18-19
- Cheng at al., The effects of electric currents on ATP generation, protein synthesis, and membrane transport of rat skin. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1982 Nov-Dec;(171):264-72
- Ohno et al., Microcurrent Electrical Nerve Stimulation Facilitates Regrowth of Mouse Soleus Muscle. Int. J. Med. Sci. 2013, Vol 10, 1286-
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