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Interferential current therapy via electroacupuncture: significant benefits / recovery from ME/CFS

Discussion in 'Alternative Therapies' started by Hip, Jun 23, 2014.

  1. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    There is also an article about this study here.

    The above study used the CDC diagnostic criteria for selecting the 60 ME/CFS patients.

    The stated recovery rate using this interferential current therapy (ICT) treatment was 43.3%. The study authors define recovery as "the major symptoms and complications were completely gone, and the patient can adapt to normal social life and work".

    Although they also got a 20% recovery rate from using electroacupuncture alone (they used plain electroacupuncture as a control). The fact that this study claimed a 20% recovery rate just from electro-acupuncture, and a 43.3% recovery using ICT, does seem grossly over-exaggerated. There is something wrong with these figures. If any therapy could really achieve a 20% recovery rate for ME/CFS, people would be singing about it from the rooftops.

    Nevertheless, ICT acupuncture may provide some benefits for ME/CFS, even if it does not actually lead to recovery.

    The interferential current therapy employed in this study is a technique of using two electrical currents of slightly different frequencies in combination, in order to create a beat frequency. For example, using two frequencies of 4000 Hz and 3900 Hz together creates a beat frequency of 100 Hz, the difference between the two frequencies.

    Interferential current therapy is specifically designed to allow electrical currents to penetrate into the deeper tissues of the body. ICT was developed by Dr Hans Nemec in Vienna in the 1950s. The principles of ICT are described in this paper:


    An introductory slide presentation on interferential current therapy can be found here.

    The area of the body targeted by the interferential current therapy in this study was the spinal area on the back. The patients were given a total of 20 sessions of ICT, via acupuncture needles, with each session lasting 30 minutes. Frequencies around the 5000 Hz mark were used.


    Note that you do not necessarily have to use acupuncture needles to apply interferential current therapy; you can apply ICT using TENS machine type sticky electrode pads. So I wonder if the benefits manifested in this study might more easily be obtained by using ICT with electrode pads, rather than acupuncture needles.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014
    L'engle, merylg, MeSci and 3 others like this.
  2. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

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    Interesting ..... I wonder exactly what symptoms were alleviated - e.g., PEM? It says they used the CDC criteria which as I recall is rather vague and can include people who are just tired or depressed, I think? I could look it up but don't want to take the energy right now to do it.

    I looked at the units you linked and they're both from China. Here's one, I don't know if it's the same type of instrument, available in the U.S.: http://www.lgmedsupply.com/teandinc...vUGevdcIcQfhcaGjtleB4KFhEZA3HugMaKochE9PD_BwE

    It does sound interesting - (though so many treatment modalities, so little money! :))


    Mary
     
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  3. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    That's more the sloppy Oxford criteria that is vague and can include the depressed.

    That is indeed an interferential therapy device. Another inexpensive device is this one (in the UK).
     
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  4. CFS_for_19_years

    CFS_for_19_years First Do No Harm

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    Acupuncture Heals Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

    http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupunctur...33-acupuncture-heals-chronic-fatigue-syndrome

    See the rest of the article at http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupunctur...33-acupuncture-heals-chronic-fatigue-syndrome
     
  5. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Narcissism = lack of self awareness

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    I had Acupuncture once with the current. I felt absolutely horrible after it and never did it again.
     
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  6. CFS_for_19_years

    CFS_for_19_years First Do No Harm

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    A lot depends on what points are used. I've had good acupuncture where I felt a lift in energy when I saw one particular acupuncturist. When I went to a different clinic they used different points and I didn't derive much benefit.

    The article above goes into great detail of the exact technique they used. I'm thinking about taking the article to the local acupuncture school and see if they will do it. The typical procedure when you go in is they want to check your pulse and look at your tongue and figure out what your body is doing. They may decide that they don't want to do the points in the study if they think it's not the right direction to take.

    Here's the technical stuff:
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014
  7. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    ?????

    From reading perhaps hundreds of messages from ME people on various sites, sufferers tend to have been extremely active before getting ill - one reason why it is so hard to adapt to being disabled.

    As for being overweight, do they mean before or after getting ill?
     
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  8. SDSue

    SDSue Florida

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    Because many (most?) of us were extremely active, running circles around "normal" people prior to illness, I have to wonder if the same genes that render us susceptible to ME/CFS also make us somewhat immune to normal fatigue prior to our illness? Perhaps our systems were never "normal"?

    I never really got tired prior to being struck ill. I never sat down to "rest". I worked like a farmhand, limited only by time and not by energy. Thoughts???

    As for acupuncture, my jury is still out. No experience, but I might trust ancient eastern practices a whole lot more than the current western thing we call "medicine".
     
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  9. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    Yes, I agree that the hyperactivity is likely to be relevant to a significant proportion of us with respect to causation. The exact link - I don't know - being hyperactive when we should be resting (e.g. when we have already done a lot, and/or when we have a viral illness) is obviously likely to cause some kind of burnout.

    But I also think that something can makes us both hyper and prone to ME. There is a high level of anxiety in ME. I don't believe that this anxiety is actually due to psychiatric abnormalities (although I used to think so). I am one the many who has found that a change of diet can dramatically reduce anxiety, increase calmness, improve sleep and reduce numerous symptoms that developed after getting ME.

    So I think that many of us have a digestive abnormality which, if we fail to consume a suitable diet, leads to a wide range of problems.

    What causes that I don't know - is it genetic, epigenetic, or something else?

    I have to say that I am very sceptical about claims that 20% of ME sufferers can recover through acupuncture.

    I would like to see a follow-up study done in, say, a year. People who appear to have recovered often relapse within a year.
     
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  10. CFS_for_19_years

    CFS_for_19_years First Do No Harm

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    Keep in mind that this study was conducted in China, using people inside a Chinese gene pool and eating a Chinese diet. There are some cultural differences in how people see themselves as part of the society and there is more emphasis on the group and not the individual, quite a contrast to our ego-centric view of our place in the world. Do the Chinese encounter less stress in their lives because of how they live? Do they have a better diet?

    Would this acupuncture have the same effect on Westerners eating our Western diet and striving for our highly individualistic goals?

    What's up with dismissing a study when it's been published in a peer-reviewed journal? Is everyone down today? If all that separates some of us from better health is 20 visits to an acupuncturist, hell, I'll be the guinea pig. What's another 20 visits when I've probably had about 600 visits to all practitioners over the course of 23 years. Of course all of you saw the part that said "The total effective rate of acupuncture as a standalone procedure was 80.0%. Adding interferential current therapy to the regime of care increased the total effective rate to 93.3%." So they say that at least 80-93% derived some benefit.

    I'm also presently having great success with spironolactone and I've reduced ALL my pain meds by at least half. I'll not be making any further comment on that because, well you know, spironolactone is a diuretic and therefore how could it possibly work for FM. There is a published study on that too but none of you would read it anyway. I can't chew your food for you.
     
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  11. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    I use acupuncture regularly. I have done so since 1978. I actually received two treatments/week for ten years straight, starting back in the late 1980s. It helped ammeliorate my symptoms at times, but so far no cure.
     
  12. mermaid

    mermaid Senior Member

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    I went to acupuncture weekly (for a short time twice weekly) for 18 months, and sadly it didn't significantly improve my ME/CFS. The practitioner was rather kind and good looking otherwise I might have stopped after 6 mths.

    He didn't offer electroacupuncture though and I am not sure that is available where I live.

    My level of health was very poor when I started and I did improve somewhat, but my main problems at the time - both immune dysfunction and digestive pain, were left untouched despite his best efforts. I have improved the digestive issues since by diet changes and am still working on other issues like lack of stamina and the immune dysfunction (but not with acupuncture).

    I think that acupuncture can be helpful for pain, but I don't have a lot of that unless I pace badly.
     
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  13. SDSue

    SDSue Florida

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    Pretty sure I don't understand the "can't chew your food for you" comment, so I'll provide a link to spironolactone in autism for those interested. It's not necessarily the diuretic properties that are advantageous, but instead ability as an anti-inflammatory, anti-androgen, and immune modulator that are of interest, so I can easily see why it would help FMS :)

     
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  14. Ren

    Ren Primum Non Nocere

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    Literally the stuff of nightmares.
     
  15. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    Weird - they say they use CDC criteria, but still have nearly equal amounts of men and women.

    And I can't read all of it, but I'm presuming they are using completely subjective outcome measurements.
     
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  16. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I just had a look at that paper as it had sounded funny that this acupuncture trial had used much more rigorous criteria for recovery than PACE, etc.

    The whole paper was really weird though - even worse than I expected. No real details on how recovery or improvement were assessed. I went in with very low expectations, and was disappointed.

    To me, the whole thing seemed really dodgy.

     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014
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  17. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    No idea how outcomes were measured - they don't seem to say.

    Also, this seems reason to wonder if they're really applying the CDC criteria correctly:

     
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  18. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    Up to this point no one had dismissed the study, but simply expressed caution and healthy scepticism. I use this when reading all kinds of research, including peer-reviewed research, as that criterion is no guarantee of quality. All research info really needs to be scrutinised in detail and dissected with an open mind, although I know this is not possible for all readers due to lack of time, expertise, etc.

    There is a huge amount of claim and counter-claim for this or that therapy, including pharmaceuticals, supplements, diet, etc., and if we tried them all we would either be bankrupt or constantly exhausted (or both!).

    But if anyone wants to try something that at least seems relatively safe, I wish them luck.

    As @SDSue has pointed out, drugs often/usually have more than one effect - not just the effect(s) for which they were developed. I use drugs for effects other than the prescribed ones, e.g. painkillers and antihistamines for sleep!

    I changed my diet and added certain supplements to try to treat my ME via the gut, and to my surprise and delight my excess weight fell off and my sinus congestion and dermatitis cleared up as well. Another unexpected but welcome example!
     
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  19. Tired of being sick

    Tired of being sick Senior Member

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    Acupuncture Heals Chronic Fatigue Syndrome...
    Lol.......

    this is equivalent to saying, warts die off

    if you rub a raw partially skinned potato on them

    then bury it in your backyard
     
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  20. Tired of being sick

    Tired of being sick Senior Member

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    Now acupuncture can reduce muscular pains associated with CFS

    for a very short period of time

    so unless you can afford to have an acupuncturist

    as a full time live in,its not really going to help
     

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