Microcurrent is used for reducing recovery time while administering soothing, safe, therapeutic treatment. There is a long list of conditions and injuries that respond well to microcurrent and it can be a beneficial foundation therapy for recovery.
However, after making the decision to use microcurrent, there is still the challenging process of selecting the device that is right for you. Sorting out what product meets your needs and budget can be confusing, especially when you may not be aware of the primary differences between the types of devices.
The quality of the components used, the sophistication of the device, the price tag, and the conditions that will be treated are important factors to consider. The following are brief summaries of several types of microcurrent units, which cover basic information on the devices and generalized situations they are ideal for treating. (Want specific features? See Product Specifications).
General Info on Microcurrent
Microcurrent is in the microamperes range, which is a low level of electrical current slightly above what the body produces naturally. Microcurrent is part of the TENS class and is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and this term is used for any therapy device that delivers electrical stimulation topically, meaning it does not penetrate the skin. The FDA approves most microcurrent devices for the use of temporary pain relief. There are studies showing microcurrent has many additional benefits but devices are not necessarily approved for other treatments unless noted by the manufacturer.
The majority of devices in the TENS class are in mid-to-high ranges of milliamperes, which means they are operating at current levels 1000 times higher than microcurrent. Milliampere devices are used to block pain for short periods of time, unlike microampere devices which actually promote healing. Some devices have both milliampere and microampere features, and using low milliamps can be useful for treating certain conditions.
Clockwise from top left: MCT Patch,
MicroPlus, Avazzia Med-BEST.
MCT Patches (Prescription Required)
The Matrix MCT Patches are disposable, self-powered microcurrent patches that consist of two pad electrodes connected by a short wire. They last for approximately 200 to 500 hours of use, depending on the condition they are treating. After the battery is depleted the patches are discarded because the battery is not replaceable.
For localized problem areas and minor pain, the microcurrent patches are a great option. They can be worn discreetly throughout the day and can be left on 24/7 for convenient unattended treatments. The slight stickiness of the pads allows them to be slapped into place to immediately begin treatment.
Because the patches have a relatively low power source, they are typically used as a follow-up after treating with a microcurrent unit. If treating major injuries or significant pain, a MCT Patch’s battery will be depleted quickly and it will not provide as effective results as a microcurrent unit.
Micro400 (Prescription Required)
The Micro400 is a nice low-economy, mini-sized microcurrent unit. It has two-channels and is extremely straightforward and easy to use. For treatments, attach the Micro400 to pad electrodes or other electrode accessories. Because it is a low economy unit, the Micro400 has slightly erratic frequency and current settings. In other words, the setting selected is not precise and fluctuates during treatment. (Note: In a way this could be considered a slight benefit because it keeps the tissue from becoming accustomed to the level of current).
When price is a major factor, this is a good general microcurrent device to select. It can effectively treat many conditions, the results will just not be as quick or effective as the advanced biofeedback units. However, the Micro400 is an excellent unit for the price, especially when it has comparable features to other units on the market that sometimes are in the $500 to $700 price range.
NOTE: One complaint is that the Micro400 has a very stiff cover to the battery compartment, which makes it difficult to replace the battery.
MicroPlus (Prescription Required)
The MicroPlus is a simple two-channel, mini-sized microcurrent unit that is a step up from the Micro400 in quality and features. For people who do not want to feel any sensation during microcurrent treatments, this is a good selection because it is has low voltage, making treatments very soft.
For a unit in this price range it has unique features that are often only found on clinical units. These features are the ability to switch from microamperes to very low milliamperes (see amperes scale) as well as having polarity control. Polarity control means you can adjust the direction the current flows between positive, negative, or alternating (biphasic).
Akin to the Micro400, the MicroPlus is an excellent unit for price, features, and quality, especially when compared to similarly priced units on the market.
StimPlus (No Prescription Required)
The StimPlus is a hardy pocket-sized specialty microcurrent device. It is used to treat acupoints (acupuncture points), and it also has the ability to locate acupoints. The StimPlus is good for quick treatments of localized areas, and no pads or attachments are necessary. However, treatment versatility is limited and the StimPlus cannot be attached to accessory electrodes. One benefit is that the StimPlus does not require a prescription to purchase.
Avazzia BEST Devices (Prescription Requirement Varies)
The Avazzia BEST devices are extremely high-quality microcurrent units that have advanced technology and features. These devices stand out from all other microcurrent units because they have the unique biofeedback (BEST) feature. BEST stands for Biofeedback Electrical Stimulation Technology and was developed by Tim Smith and Avazzia Inc. (learn more). This line of microcurrent units has a range of over-the-counter and prescription devices available, which can suit most needs.
The biofeedback feature of the BEST devices provides the ability to simultaneously locate specific problem areas and administer a dynamic microcurrent treatment. The BEST devices can determine when an area needs more treatment or if the area has received a sufficient amount of microcurrent for the time being. These features increase efficiency and effectiveness because you know when and where to treat. It has been reported that when using BEST devices improvement is three times faster than when using typical microcurrent units.
The BEST devices are all single-channel units that have several programs and are designed for various uses. These devices are easy to use with just several buttons that control power, program selection, and power level*. Other than the ProSport, each BEST device has four pre-programmed modes with specific settings (learn more about the BEST modes).
An Avazzia BEST device is an ideal option for treating any condition or issue that might benefit from microcurrent therapy. In addition to their effectiveness, the BEST devices allow for extremely versatile and customized treatments. You can use the combined negative and positive back plate electrode for an attachments-free treatment, or connect the unit to pad electrodes for a hands-free session. The BEST devices can also be attached to any accessory electrode or used with Avazzia’s specialty combination electrodes.
Learn more about selecting the right BEST device.
*The professional-use ProSport has significantly more features and abilities and requires some amount of training.
Microcurrent in your First Aid Kit
Microcurrent is an extremely versatile therapy and is an effective tool to keep in every first aid kit. When in-the-moment problems occur, a little microcurrent can go a long way to relieving discomfort. It can also be used as a follow-up to doctor visits and for maintenance of ongoing conditions. Microcurrent devices are useful for the whole family treatments are great for back pain or other aches, kids’ nicks and scrapes, childhood to professional athletes’ injuries and soreness, arthritis, and more.
It is not unheard of to have several types of devices to meet the specific needs of various family members. There are also complementary therapies, such as light and infrasound, that each have their own specialties. A combination of therapy tools can fill out your first aid kit so you’re prepared to address most situations that arise.
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