What is Electro-Acupuncture?
Electro-acupuncture (EA) is the stimulation of percutaneously inserted acupuncture needles with weak alternating electrical currents for therapeutic purposes. EA greatly enhances acupuncture therapy's effectiveness for a broad range of clinical conditions.
- Accelerates tissue healing: wounds, skin ulcers, etc.
- Facial Toning
- Acute and chronic pain conditions
- Painful conditions not reacting to manual stimulation
- Acupuncture anesthesia
- Reduction of Immunosuppression
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Traumatic Affective Disorders
- Substance abuse addictions
- And many others...
Advantages of EA
- Eliminates having to manually twirl needles continuously
- Allows practitioner to treat several patients at the same time
- Allows stimulation of up to sixteen needles at one time via multiple channels
- Needle placement margin or effort is greater than for manual therapy; therefore, less accurate needle placement is required
- Use with pacemakers (potential heart stoppage)
- Transcranial stimulation (epileptic possibility with 10 — 13 Hz.)
- No current across the spine, horizontally
- No stimulation across the chest region
- No stimulation over the neck region to prevent laryngospasm
- Profound analgesia induced by EAC puts patients at risk of self injury, must be advised or restricted from strenuous physical activity after treatment
- Use with imbedded neural stimulators
- Not to be used on lower body points in case of pregnancy, esp. during third trimester
- High frequency or high amplitude application may induce stress, which is contradicted in cases of hypertension
- EAC can over sedate older patients causing risk of falling asleep after treatment. · Patient should be driven to and from clinic.
- Excess EAC can produce tolerance by depleting central serotonin
General Protocol for Performing Electro-Acupuncture
- Clean points with alcohol
- Insert needles and acquire qi or apply TENS pads
- Adjust electro-stimulator for desired frequency and waveform type:
- For needle stimulation, set side switch to Acupuncture
- For TENS stimulation, set side switch to TENS
- Make sure Mode switch is set to OFF and all four amplitude/level selectors are at zero
- Plug clip or TENS leads into the electro-stimulator
- Attach MicroClips or alligator clips to the needles and lead wires to the TENS pads.
- Ask patient if everything is still comfortable.
- Tell patient which pair of points will be stimulated first, what they can expect to feel and what responses they should give. For example, "We’ll start with these points …here … and here. I’m going to slowly turn up the intensity, and I want you to tell me when you first start to feel … a light tapping or tickling sensation" (for very slow frequencies) or "a light buzzing or tingling sensation" (for higher frequencies).
- Turn the electro-stimulator to the desired Mode: Continuous, Discontinuous or Mixed (double-check that the amplitude/level selectors are clicked off to zero)
- SLOWLY turn up intensity with the amplitude/level selectors until the patient feels electrical stimulus.
- If using stronger stimulation, ask the patient to tell you when the stimulus gets strong but still comfortable. It should not be painful. Also remind them to tell you if it gets sharp. SLOWLY increase the intensity until the patient tells you it’s strong enough for them.
- Repeat the process for each channel used.
- The intensity felt by the patient will generally diminish over time, so, if necessary, SLOWLY increase until the patient says it’s strong enough again.
- When using multiple channel stimulation, you may need to turn up the first channel(s) a bit by the time the last channel is adjusted due to the extra current drain on the battery.
When ready to stop treatment:
- Turn each channel down part way. Then turn each channel all the way down until it clicks off.
- Disconnect clips or lead wires from the needles/TENS pads (You may also remove the needles/TENS pads, then unclip)
- Turn Mode switch to OFF
- Remove needles/TENS pads if you haven’t already
Unplug wires from the electro-stimulator, wrap and put away.