Some European acupuncturists, most notably the French and Germans, began treating the acupuncture points with small electrical charges some years ago. By applying different currents and waveforms, good treatment results were possible without using needles. This was an important step in modernizing acupuncture (since then, the points have been found to respond to light, color, sound and even lasers).
Electro-acutherapy, or acupuncture with electricity instead of needles, is now used all over the world, even among some of the most traditional acupuncturists. All the major universities throughout Europe today have research facilities for the study and practice of electro-acutherapy. The widespread scientific study it has been given has taken acupuncture principles out of their esoteric, almost mystical background and put them into valuable use, treating more and more sick people every year.
The different effects the doctor wants to achieve in the patient are created by the settings on the instrument. Specific electrical frequencies have been shown to affect certain tissues or organs. They can be used to better “steer” the treatment to its intended target. Certain frequencies are known to sedate or disperse electrical activity in the tissues; others will tonify, or stimulate. The same for the polarity of the current. When there is an inflammatory condition, for example, a sedative frequency is chosen as well as a positive polarity current. If there is degeneration or paralysis, etc., different frequencies are used and a negative polarity is used. In this way, not only the choice of where the stimulation is applied determines the effects on the patient, but how it is given as well. In this way, very precise treatment can be given, and more stimulation can be applied than one can achieve with just a needle.