Microcurrent Electrical Therapy: Can It Manage Pain Long-Term?


May 17, 2023

/ Learn / Microcurrent Electrical Therapy: Can It Manage Pain Long-Term?

Microcurrent Electrical Therapy (MET) is a relatively new form of electrotherapy used to treat a variety of conditions, including pain. 

MET was developed in the mid-to-late-1900s by researchers exploring the benefits of extremely low-level electrical currents on the body’s healing processes. Since then, MET has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, nerve damage, and even depression. 

For its claim as a treatment capability for a variety of conditions, MET is growing in popularity. While it is a non-invasive, drug-free option that works by delivering low-level electrical currents to targeted areas of the body, questions have been raised regarding its efficacy in the long run. 

These questions and considerations–raised by both patients and physicians–will be discussed below. So, let’s dive in!

What Is Microcurrent Electrical Therapy (MET)?

Microcurrent Electrical Therapy is a type of therapy that uses a low level of electrical current to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes. The electrical current used in MET is very small, typically less than one-millionth of an amp, and is delivered through electrodes placed on the skin. 

During MET, the electrical current is applied to specific points on the body in order to stimulate the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that provides energy to cells. This increase in ATP production might help reduce inflammation, promote healing, and relieve pain. 

MET is often used to treat a variety of conditions, including fibromyalgia, arthritis, and sports injuries. It is generally considered safe, although individuals with certain medical conditions, such as pacemakers or epilepsy, should not undergo MET.

Different Types Of MET

The following are some of the most common types of MET available on the market and are available through a doctor-assisted application or self-administration:

  • Interferential Therapy (IFT) is a type of electrotherapy that uses high frequency electrical currents to provide pain relief and promote healing. IFT involves the use of two or more electrical currents that are delivered through electrodes placed on the skin. 

The currents intersect and interact with each other, creating a therapeutic frequency that penetrates deep into the tissues. This treatment claims to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes and promote the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers.

  • Russian Stimulation is a type of electrical muscle stimulation that uses a medium frequency current to stimulate muscle contractions. The current is delivered through electrodes placed on the skin, and the stimulation causes the muscles to contract and relax repeatedly. 

Russian stimulation has been used to treat muscle weakness, improve muscle tone, and reduce muscle spasms. While it may not directly treat pain, the increased muscle strength and improved muscle function may alleviate pain caused by muscle imbalances or weakness

Russian stimulation is generally considered safe, but should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

  • Microcurrent Point Stimulation (MPS) is a type of therapy that combines principles from traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and neurology. It involves the use of a low-level electrical current applied to specific acupuncture points on the body using a handheld device. 

The electrical current stimulates nerve endings and releases natural painkillers such as endorphins and enkephalins, which can provide pain relief and improve overall well-being. MPS has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, and depression, and is generally considered safe. 

Individual results and levels of efficacy may vary.

What Are The Conditions Treated?

There are claims that microcurrent electrical therapy might be beneficial for a wide range of conditions. It could be used to treat acute and chronic pain, as well as various physical and neurological conditions. 

It has been suggested that MET is effective in treating conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, muscle and joint pain, nerve pain, and migraines. It can also be used to improve range of motion, promote healing of soft tissue injuries, and reduce inflammation.

In addition to physical conditions, MET might also be beneficial for certain neurological and psychological conditions. For example, it has been used to treat anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

How Does Microcurrent Electrical Therapy Treat A Condition?

The electrical current used in MET stimulates the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers, and can also promote relaxation and improve mood. 

While MET is generally considered safe, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before undergoing this type of therapy, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions.


Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) and Microcurrent Electrical Therapy (MET) are both types of electrical stimulation therapies used for pain management. The main difference between TENS therapy and MET therapy is the level of electrical current used. 

TENS therapy typically uses a higher level of current than MET therapy (up to 1,000 times higher), and is designed to provide immediate pain relief by blocking pain signals from the nerves.

In contrast, MET therapy uses a much lower level of current and is designed to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes, ostensibly promoting tissue repair and reducing inflammation. While both therapies can be effective for pain management, they are used for different purposes and can have different effects on the body.

Risks & Limitations Of Microcurrent Electrical Nerve Stimulation

While microcurrent electrical therapy is generally considered safe, there are some potential drawbacks to consider. One potential drawback is the risk of skin irritation or burns from the electrical current. If the electrodes are not properly placed or if the electrical current is too high, it can cause discomfort, redness, or blistering on the skin.

Additionally, while MET can be somewhat effective for pain management, it may not be a suitable treatment for all types of pain or all individuals. Some people may not respond well to the therapy or may experience limited pain relief due to its lowered level of electrical current.

1. Uses Low-Amp Electrical Stimulation

Microcurrent Electrical Therapy implements a current that, as we previously discussed, is significantly lower than other electrical stimulation therapies. Because MET can be up to 1,000 times lower than even TENS therapy, many patients will feel dissatisfied with the resulting level of pain relief. 

Often the therapy does not do enough to help them manage their pain or return to a higher quality of life.

2. Dependent On User Compliance

Microcurrent electrical therapy (MET) can be administered in a variety of settings, including clinical settings, physical therapy clinics, and chiropractic offices. However, many MET devices are also designed to be used by patients at home, allowing for convenient self-administration of the therapy.

While self-administration of MET can be beneficial in terms of flexibility and convenience, it is important to note that proper training and guidance are essential to ensure safe and effective use of the device. 

Patients should consult with a healthcare professional before using a MET device at home to ensure that it is a suitable treatment option for their individual needs and medical history. 

Additionally, patients should carefully follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and should not exceed the recommended duration or frequency of use. Without proper training, guidance, and regular compliance, patients may not experience an acceptable level of pain relief or may even experience painful side-effects.

3. May Not Be Covered With Insurance

Microcurrent electrical therapy is not always covered by insurance, particularly if it is an at-home device. Insurance coverage for MET can vary depending on the type of device, the underlying medical condition being treated, and the specific insurance policy. 

While some insurance plans may cover MET when it is administered by a healthcare professional in a clinical setting, coverage for at-home devices may be more limited.

Patients should consult with their insurance provider to determine if MET therapy is covered under their policy and what, if any, out-of-pocket costs may be involved. 

Additionally, some manufacturers of at-home MET devices offer payment plans or financing options to make the devices more accessible to patients who may not have insurance coverage or who may have limited financial resources. 

Ultimately, the decision to use MET therapy should be based on the individual’s needs, medical history, and financial situation, and should be made in consultation with a healthcare professional.

4. May Require Multiple Treatment Sessions

Microcurrent electrical therapy typically requires multiple sessions over a period of time to achieve the desired results. The exact number of sessions needed will depend on the individual’s condition, the severity of their symptoms, and their overall health status. 

In some cases, patients may start to experience pain relief after just a few sessions, while others may require several weeks or even months of treatment.

The need for multiple sessions can be a significant time commitment for some individuals, particularly those who have busy schedules or who live far from the treatment facility. Patients should carefully consider their ability to commit to a regular treatment schedule before starting MET therapy. 

Additionally, patients should be aware that the effects of MET are cumulative, meaning that the benefits may continue to improve with each session.

Why Consider Other Devices With Higher Pulse Rates?

Since MET only targets the near surface level, as penetration of tissue requires more actual electrical power and current and in turn requires higher pulse ratings to reach those current thresholds, it may not be as effective for conditions that require deeper tissue penetration, such as deep muscle injuries, deep musculoskeletal pain, or internal joint problems. 

Additionally, the low-level electrical current used in MET therapy may not be strong enough to reach certain areas of the body or to provide significant pain relief for some individuals. 

Because MET only focuses on targeting at the surface tissue level, this can be a potential disadvantage when compared to other devices that emit higher frequencies and wavelengths to penetrate deeper into tissues.

Electroanalgesia As A Better And Higher Alternative

For those who feel MET is not the answer for their pain or that it is not doing enough to relieve the pain, Relatyv has the answer with its electroanalgesia therapy. Electroanalgesia is an FDA-cleared treatment that implements electrical stimulation to relieve pain and reduce inflammation for extensive periods of time.

Unlike MET or even TENS therapy, Relatyv’s electroanalgesia treatment sends up to 10,000 pulses per second of current for maximum pain relief. When compared to TENS therapy’s max range of around 400 electric pulses per second, one could see how there is a higher efficacy. 

When you compare that quantity to the low level currents used in MET, there is no question that Electroanalgesia has the upper-hand in lasting efficacy and pain reduction. When the high pulse electrical stimulation offered by Electroanalgesia is applied to affected areas, there is a higher probability that pain-relieving endorphins will help reduce pain signals and inflammation. 

In addition to Electroanalgesia, patients will be treated using a whole-person approach, which includes IV-therapy and robust lifestyle counseling. IV therapy involves the infusion of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to supplement what the body could be missing. This therapy boosts your immune system and results in the most effective form of pain relief possible.

As patients continue to find relief from pain, Relatyv will offer lifestyle counseling to help patients make the changes in their life that will allow them to mitigate the pain on their own. Some of these sessions include low-stress exercise recommendations, nutritional advice, and educational material so patients can get the most out of their pain treatment.

About the Author

Will is a healthcare executive, innovator, entrepreneur, inventor, and writer with a wide range of experience in the medical field. Will has multiple degrees in a wide range of subjects that give depth to his capability as an entrepreneur and capacity to operate as an innovative healthcare executive.

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