ELECTROTHERAPY

Electrotherapy is a new type of Biomedical Engineering which can be used as electrochemotherapy, eradication of tumor, or intracellular electromanipulation respectively. The biological basis of electrochemotherapy is the combination of reversal of the membrane by electroincorporation by using a weak intensity electrical pulse lasting microseconds, in conjunction with a better absorption of substances, such as Bleomycin and cisplatin for its cytotoxicity. Moreover, irreversible membrane electroincorporation, being different from electrochemotherapy, is induced by intensive electrical microsecond pulses of energy and can be used alone to implement the eradication of tumors directly without any cytotoxic drugs.

Another technique is called electrical pulses per nanosecond, diminishes its effect on the plasma membrane and requires a power supply in multiple subcellular structures, known as intracellular electromanipulation and can be used in cancer treatment, gene therapy or wound healing .

Therefore, the electric field has different parameters that relate to biophysical effects. However, considering the our knowledge, few researchers have involved any information about the biophysical effects regarding the application of electric pulses combined durations of microseconds and nanoseconds in the treatment of cancer.

History

For over 100 years our body, particularly the pain we feel have had a close relationship with electricity as therapeutic practice. In fact such practices have existed since 2750 BC, when electrical fish were used as pulse generators for their analgesic properties.

Currently, this branch is called Electrotherapy and beyond pain relief, may also stimulate muscular contractions as well as chemical and physiological productions. It is a therapy that does not need medication and is neither additive or invasive, but continues to generate controversy.

This therapy is applied to nerves or muscles via transcutaneous adhesives, boosted by batteries (some enhanced by an external source). Energy waves from a specific electromagnetic spectrum are applied that produce a desired physiological and chemical response.

Goals

Electrotherapy aims to reduce acute or chronic pain, by reducing edema and increasing blood flow (circulation). Using certain frequencies, the method can also force the repolarization of the membrane potential.

The edema is reduced by allowing more blood to circulate to those areas in need, allowing an increase of movement in that area, which in turn will allow a greater flow of O2, nutrients and healing cells which then initiate the repair process of damaged tissue.

When we feel pain, our body is simply reacting to the large number of cells and nerve channels, which enable the brain to send signals to the body and vice versa. The electrical stimulus to certain frequencies and amplitudes produced by Electrotherapy work to interrupt the passage of this signal and thus preventing pain sensation, and recovering the injured tissue.

Side effects

Side effects are rare and may be presented skin irritation in application area of the electrodes, or pain due to transient discharges.