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(also electrotherapeutics), treatment by electric currents and electromagnetic fields. Electrotherapy involves the use of low-voltage direct currents alternating currents (including low-frequency pulsating currents), a high-tension constant electric field, or electromagnetic fields of different frequencies (including microwaves). Treatment involves local or general exposure with electrodes in procedures requiring electric current and without electrodes when using electromagnetic fields.
The numerous factors involved in electrotherapy and the possibility of changing their parameters make it possible to individualize the procedures. The use of electrotherapy in a pulsed mode is particularly effective, because the controllable frequency and duration of the pulses help normalize many disturbed physiological processes. Low-frequency pulsating currents produce effects similar to those of nerve impulses and exert a trophic influence on tissues, thereby normalizing impaired neuroendocrine regulation and selectively stimulating certain organs and systems. All methods of electrotherapy provoke general, that is, nonspecific, reactions, for example, intensification of blood flow, metabolism, tissue nutrition, and compensatory and defensive responses. In addition, each factor provokes specific reactions whose manifestations vary with its physical properties, as well as with the technique used and the characteristics of the organism.
As a result of advances in the study of the therapeutic action of physical factors and in electrical technology and electromedical instrument design, electrotherapy occupies a prominent place in the treatment of many diseases and in rehabilitation.
REFERENCESAnikin, M. M., and G. S. Varshaver. Osnovy fizioterapii, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1950.
Liventsev, N. M., and A. R. Livenson. Elektromeditsinskaia apparatura, 4th ed. Moscow, 1974.
Spravochnik po fizioterapii. Edited by A. N. Obrosov. Moscow, 1976.
Dumoulin, J., and G. de Bisschop. Electrothérapie, 2nd ed. Paris, 1971.
Edel, H. Fibel der Electrodiagnostik und Electrotherapie, 3rd ed. Dresden, 1975.
V. M. STRUGATSKII