Electroacupuncture: What Is It, and How Does it Work?

Modern acupuncturists enhance the stimulation of the nerve fibers and tissues surrounding the needle by delivering electronic stimulation to the needles. This stimulation overcomes the body’s ability to get used to constant stimulation by using electrical programs with changing speeds, frequencies and strength. This triggers a precise and effective response from your nervous system and the tissues surrounding the needle. Results are even more effective.

  • The goal of electroacupuncture is to treat muscle imbalances to increase joint mobility, relieve tendonitis & joint pain, and increase muscle elasticity & flexibility.

This treatment combines Traditional Acupuncture with state-of-the-art Western Biomedical needling techniques & dry needling (used by some medical doctors & physical therapists) to quickly reset tight, short, or weak muscles.

How Does Electrical Stimulation Enhance Your Results?

Whether acute or chronic, pain contributes to making nerves and muscles sensitive to touch and movement. This causes scar tissue to build up, which increases tissue inflammation. This inflammation can cause more pain, and the cycle continues.

The longer the cycle of “pain-inflammation-pain” continues, the longer and more difficult treatment can become. But with the right approach and the correct tools – even the most chronic of pains can be improved.

Electroacupuncture is believed to help increase your blood flow. This may help to relieve any pain you’re feeling. In addition, this type of acupuncture warms your muscles. It may help with poor circulation. 

When adding a technique that provides electrical pulses such as electroacupuncture to your treatment, you can expect: 

  • Decrease symptoms of pain
  • Decrease mechanical stress on injured tissues
  • Improvement of range of motion
  • Improves muscle atrophy
  • Improvement of activities of daily living
  • Increase the percentage of muscle fibers that function in unison to increase overall strength & functionality
  • Analgesic pain relief from Shingles

To achieve these goals, it is important to use the correct tools to break the “pain-inflammation-pain ” cycle by manually removing scar tissue and using the right measure of electrical impulses to relax the tissues and normalize the nerves. This approach helps to “re-program” the nervous system and restore proper joint/muscle movement.

What Is Electroacupuncture?

Like traditional acupuncture, electroacupuncture uses acupuncture needles placed in the same spots. Then, a small electrode is attached to the needles. A small electrical current runs through the electrode and gives a slight vibration or soft hum during treatment.

How Does Electroacupuncture Work?

Electroacupuncture helps to block your pain by activating bioactive chemicals in your body. This process may decrease your sensitivity to the pain you’re feeling. It’s also been shown to help reduce inflammation in your body.

When you get electroacupuncture, it activates your sympathetic nerve fibers. By activating these fibers, your body releases endogenous opioids such as endorphins, which help to reduce inflammation. The activated nerve fibers may also help to reduce feelings of persistent pain. This makes it a good treatment for chronic pain and stress.

Clinical studies have also found that electroacupuncture may help your body release mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) into your bloodstream. MSCs are adult stem cells mostly found in your bone marrow. MSCs help your body create different types of tissues. They also have healing properties.

The electrode gives off the effect of your acupuncturist activating the acupuncture point with their hands. This ensures you get the right amount of stimulation during your whole treatment. 

What Conditions Can Electroacupuncture Treat?

In the United States, electroacupuncture has been studied for a variety of conditions. It has been effectively used as a form of anesthesia, as a pain reliever for muscle spasms, and as a treatment for neurological disorders. Other studies have examined the role of electroacupuncture in treating skin conditions such as acne, renal colic, and acute nausea caused by cancer medications. There is also some evidence that electrical stimulation of acupuncture points activates the endorphin system, which could lower blood pressure and reduce heart disease.

Who Should Not Have Electroacupuncture?

There are a few risks to this form of acupuncture. Because of the use of an electric current, people who have a history of any of the following conditions should avoid electroacupuncture:

  • Due to the use of an electrical current, this treatment is not recommended if you use a pacemaker.
  • Talk with your doctor if you’re pregnant and thinking about electroacupuncture. They’ll help you decide if it’s safe for you and your baby.

In rare cases, you could experience adverse effects from electroacupuncture. The electrically charged needles have the risk of causing infections or organ, tissue, and nerve damage. Other risks include low blood pressure, called hypotension, fainting, and vomiting during or after treatment. The risk of negative effects is low. But you may experience bruising, needle site pain, or bleeding where the needles are inserted.

Electroacupuncture is a good alternative to traditional acupuncture. With the benefits of pain management and the potential to provide relief from muscle spasms, this therapeutic treatment is meant to help you feel relaxed and pain-free.

Are you ready to improve your quality of life with decreased pain and better joint mobility? Reach out to a trusted team of acupuncturists. Contact Healing Elephant to discuss your health goals and book an appointment today.