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Electrical Muscle Stimulation

There are many different electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) techniques utilized in sports medicine, physical therapy, and chiropractic offices worldwide.

This type of modality has been used for treating musculoskeletal pain and injuries for many years, and over time, different styles of EMS have evolved to be used in different circumstances. Most commonly, this modality is used to reduce spasm, reduce pain, promote healing, or with the use of heat, improve circulation to an area. 

lnterferential Therapy

lnterferential therapy is probably the most popular and commonly used EMS protocol in use today. It utilizes a mid frequency electrical signal to treat muscular spasms and strains. The current produces a massaging effect over the affected area at periodic intervals, and this stimulates the secretion of endorphins, the body's natural pain relievers, thus relaxing strained muscles and promoting soft tissue healing. The basic principle of interferential therapy is to use physiologic effects of low frequency electrical stimulation of nerves without the associated unpleasant discomfort sometimes  associated with other low frequency stimulation techniques. This tends to be a more comfortable type of therapy and can be very soothing when used with heat. The four primary clinical applications are to:

  • Relieve pain
  • Stimulate muscles
  • Increased local blood flow
  • Reduce edema


When used with chiropractic manipulative techniques, it can be a very effective tool for addressing a variety of musculoskeletal pain syndromes. (Some of the above information has been referenced from Wikipedia.)

Russian Faradic Treatment

Russian Faradic Therapy utilizes a form of EMS which tones muscles by repeatedly contracting them with electric current. This is typically utilized in instances where certain muscles have been weakened by injury or other means whereby the muscle is not necessarily able to be exercised or rehabilitated by normal methods. Faradic current can be applied to produce muscular contraction, thus firming and toning the muscle in an attempt to prevent muscle wasting. This has, for example, been utilized in Bell's Palsy where facial paralysis and/or weakness creates a drooping of the face, so faradic current can be applied to generate a contraction and help maintain or improve muscle tone until the nerve responsible for the condition can heal and contract the muscle more normally on its own.

Microcurrent Therapy

Microcurrent is a therapeutic modality that provides electrical current in millionths of an ampere. Because of this very low amperage, there is no feeling of electrical stimulation, as there is not enough current to stimulate the sensory receptors of the nerve. This type of current is delivered on a similar scale as the current which the body produces in its own cells, and therefore it can be therapeutically helpful in wound healing and stimulating the regeneration of injured tissue. The primary benefit of this protocol is to:

  • Speed the healing process
  • Reduce chronic and acute pain
  • Promote tendon and ligament repair
  • Treat trigger points and myofascial pain


Galvanic Current

Galvanic Current Therapy is a form of stimulation current therapy that can have significant effects for:

  • Pain reduction
  • Stimulation of blood circulation
  • Nerve stimulation to help restore muscle tone


Galvanic current is a direct current so that a constant energy current flows through the tissue. Commonly, a low-level tingling sensation is felt by the patient, and the signals from Galvanic stimulation appear to override the pain signals sent by the body allowing the patient to experience less pain. Once again, this type of technique is utilized in conjunction with chiropractic protocols to achieve functional and symptomatic improvements.

Additional Info

  • Used to Treat: Sprains/strains, Spasms, Swelling, Painful joints, Muscle tension, Sciatica, Back pain