Every year, specialists find a new way in which e-stim (short for electrical stimulation) can be used to aid humans. Which makes sense, since every action in the body begins as an electrical impulse. In fact, one of the earlier studies led to nurses and doctors to start turning to e-stim devices for various types of wounds to accelerate healing. This is still a common method today, not only because of its effectiveness. but also because it's one of the most cost effective, potent tissue repair technologies in the medical industry.
The following article will apply mainly to chronic wounds (ie diabetic ulcers, venous ulcers and arterial ulcers) since these typically require an outside force to facilitate healing.
How Can Electricity Aid in Wound Healing?
Electrical stimulation can help speed up the healing process by improving the oxygen levels in the area. This occurs as a result of a process called increased capillary density, which refers to the speed in which oxygen gets diffused from the capillaries. There are three different types of electrical stimulation currents which aid the process of wound healing through oxygenation in different ways.
Types of Electrical Currents
- Direct Current, Alternating Current and Pulsed Current
The majority of clinical trials have utilized Pulsed Current, more specifically HVPC (which stands for low-voltage biphasic-pulsed current). This kind of current is most easily achieved using a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit. These devices are commonly used for pain relief but when used set to the right settings for wound healing, they've proved to be incredibly beneficial.
According to this article in the 2002 Nursing Journal on the topic of wound healing, the unit should be set to 100 pulses per second. with voltage raised until you feel a strong but comfortable tingling sensation. Avoid placing the pads too close or directly on the wound, and speak to a wounded care specialist/your physician before trying anything with an e stim machine and an open wound.
The electrode pads should ideally be placed on opposite sides of the injury so that the electrical waves beween both pads directly intersects the would. If you are still looking for a powerful TENS Unit for this purpose, we highly recommend the Verve TENS Unit by Massage Therapy Concepts. It has 2 channels and includes 4 electrode pads. The biggest benefit of this e stim unit in regards to wound healing is that you can control the intensity of each channel separately- with 20 intensity settings to choose from.