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The therapeutic use of electricity.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(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.


Anikin, 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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The study findings indicated that LASER therapy was more effective than the interferential current in decreasing pain and increasing satisfaction level of patients.
Alteration of interferential current and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation frequency: effects on nerve excitation.
An investigation into the analgesic effects of interferential currents and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation on experimentally induced ischemic pain in otherwise pain-free volunteers.
Analgesic effects of transcutaneus electrical nerve stimulation and interferential currents on heat pain in healthy subjects.
(39) demonstrated that interferential current (IFC) was effective in alleviating both pain and disability in patients with chronic back pain due to previous multiple vertebral osteoporotic fractures.
The initial treatment program consisted of Interferential Current followed by Microcurrent application along the anterior shoulder in a direction parallel to the fibers of the anterior glenohumeral capsule.
Treatment consisted of the use of physiotherapy modalities, including interferential current, ultrasound, heat and ice for pain and inflammatory control and progressive restoration of motion in the left ankle.
A sports specific rehabilitation protocol was employed to re-establish wrist extensor strength and interferential current and ice were used to control pain and residual inflammation.
Johnson M, Wilson H (1997): The analgesic effects of different swing patterns of interferential currents on cold-induced pain.