Comparison of 2 methods of non-invasive treatment between transcutaneous electrical stimulation and pulsed electromagnetic field stimulation as replacement of invasive manual acupuncture

Acupunct Electrother Res. 2012;37(4):247-61. doi: 10.3727/036012912x13831831256294.


The aim of this study was to find the non-invasive optimal alternative method for Manual Acupuncture. Existing researches had reported that Transcutaneous Electrical Acupoint Stimulation (TEAS) was an effective treatment method instead of manual acupuncture. In place of the TEAS, we suggested the Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields (PEMFs). Thus, we designed the PEMFs system which can stimulate only an acupoint. There have been no researches which reported therapeutic effect when stimulating at an identical acupoint by TEAS and PEMFs. Hence, this study investigated the therapeutic effect on the muscle fatigue after the strenuous knee extension/flexion exercise by two stimulations. We selected the stimulation method of both TEAS and PEMFs by using 2Hz biphasic rectangular wave pulse and pulse width 0.2ms. The magnetic flux was the 30.92mT (309.2gauss) at 2 Hz. The electromyogram (EMG) and the maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) at rectus femoris were measured. The Median Frequency (MF) at TEAS group was significantly effective at 6 minutes (p=0.499). The PEMFs group was recovered to the MF rapidly after 4 minutes (p=0.166). The results of the peak torque indicated that both non-stimulation group and TEAS group did not recover to the peak torque at pre-exercise during the recovery period (p<0.05). In contrast, the significant treatment effect of PEMFs group was found after 14 minutes (p=0.135). The results of this study demonstrated that PEMFs were better than TEAS as a non-invasive method to replace the manual acupuncture.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Points
  • Acupuncture Therapy
  • Adult
  • Electromagnetic Fields
  • Fatigue / physiopathology
  • Fatigue / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Field Therapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Muscle Fatigue
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation / methods*
  • Young Adult