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Frequency Specific Microcurrent Therapy:

Frequency Specific Microcurrent (FSM) is a system of treatment using microamperage current and the resonance effects of frequencies on tissues and conditions to create beneficial changes in symptoms and health. One of the major symptoms that FSM supports is PAIN (inflammation).  

Micro current is current in millionths of an ampere. An ampere is a measure of the movement of electrons past a point. Microamperage current is the same kind of current your body produces on its own within each cell. This is current in millionths of an amp. It is very small; there is not enough current to stimulate sensory nerves so the current flow cannot be felt. Microcurrent devices deliver frequencies and current in millionths of an amp and have been shown in published studies to increase energy (ATP) production in cells by up to 500%.

A frequency is the rate at which a sound wave or electronic pulse is produced. This measurement is registered in hertz (Hz). In using FSM to treat pain, it’s been found that various frequencies can be used to potentially reduce inflammation (swelling), repair tissue, and reduce pain. The frequencies were developed in the early 1900’s and were used with electronic equipment that fell out of use in the 1940’s. Microcurrent was introduced as a battery operated physical therapy modality in the 1980’s in Europe and the USA.  Dr. Carolyn McMakin is one of the pioneers that resurrected FSM in the mid 90s and brought it to the state that it is at today. With the help of her FSM colleagues and her clinical experience, Dr. Carolyn developed many clinical protocols (Frequency protocols) observed to have certain clinical effects in various conditions. Through the continued efforts of Dr. Carolyn and others using this therapy, more progress is being made to further understand and expand the use of this therapy for different pathological states. 


How Does FSM work?

FSM is applied to the body with a device that delivers a mild current through adhesive electrodes pads or electrode gloves wrapped in a warm moist towel. Depending on the tissues involved, specific frequencies are selected to encourage natural healing of the body and to reduce pain. Frequencies have been identified for nearly every type of tissue in the body. One of the ways FSM works is by potentially increasing the production of the substance ATP in injured tissues. ATP is the major source of energy for all cellular reactions in the body. Because treatment with FSM can increase ATP production by as much as 500% in damaged tissues, this may help with the recovery process. Depending on the condition, treatment with FSM can “loosen” or soften the muscles, which can help relieve pain and/or stiffness.


What are some of the conditions that may be supported with FSM?

  • Kidney Stone Pain

  • Asthma / Sinusitis

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • Disc injuries / Back Pain / Sciatica

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Diabetic Neuropathy / Peripheral Neuropathy

  • Neuromas (overgrowth and scarring to a nerve after an injury)

  • Tendinopathy (inflammation and/or swelling of the tendon)

  • Acute (sudden) and Chronic (long-term) musculoskeletal injuries

  • Gynecological conditions (endometriosis, fibroids, cysts, etc)

  • Shingles / Post herpetic Neuralgia

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / Frozen Shoulder

  • Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

  • Acute and Chronic Neuropathic (nerve) Pain

  • Chronic Fracture and Bone Pain

  • Arthritis / TMJ Pain

  • Torticollis (the head is tilted to one side)

  • Disc Injuries/discogenic- and facet-based pain

  • Viscerally-referred pain

  • Concussions / Whiplash

  • Headaches

  • Plantar fasciitis (pain in the heel and foot)

  • Sports injuries

  • Wounds / Lymphedema


What are some of the POSSIBLE Benefits of an FSM treatment?

  • Acceleration in healing of acute injuries up to 200%

  • Improved oxygenation and cellular repair

  • Decreased cellular electrical resistance

  • Reduced inflammatory chemicals in tissues

  • Increased feel-good endorphin levels

  • Increased cell energy (ATP) levels by up to 500%

  • Boosts protein synthesis by up to 70%

  • Maintenance and/or increase range of motion to injured areas

  • support adrenal function

  • support regulation of nerve tissue

  • support immune function

  • Improved cellular function

  • Softening of tight tissues

  • Emotional release

  • Pain Relief

  • Reduction of muscle spasms

  • Increased blood circulation to injured areas

How long will the benefits of an FSM treatment last?


This is always dependent on the individual patients condition, chronicity, and severity. However, in general, effects of an FSM treatment for pain can last several days or longer. For acute injuries, lasting pain relief can often be achieved.  Furthermore, the benefits of treatment can be helped and sustained with appropriate Lifestyle Changes and by following a Wholistic Individualized plan your ND has put together for you. 


Are there are Cautions, Adverse Reactions to FSM Treatment, or Patients that should not do FSM?


FSM is a non-invasive and painless treatment; however, you can feel warmth and softening of the affected tissues during treatment. After treatment effects may include (very rare and mild): Fatigue/exhaustion, nausea, drowsiness, euphoric feeling (it increases endorphins), and rarely an increase in pain; these effects can last anywhere from 4-24 hours if they do occur. The most important thing to do before and after FSM treatments is to keep hydrated!  [That means having 4-8 cups of water 2-4 h before a treatment and after], as this will decrease any possible undesirable effects and optimize treatment outcomes. Think of it similar to the effects of massage, where there is a detoxification effect occurring due to the increase in cellular metabolism and the congestion in the lymphatic system (which is like the sewage system of the body); hydration is important to help get rid this overflow of waste after treatment. 


Patients who should not receive FSM treatment include those who have pacemakers, implanted pumps, or uncontrolled seizures, and women who are pregnant. In addition, certain frequencies should not be used in cases of acute infection, new scar tissue (within 6 weeks), and acute fractures; therefore, if there are any concerns that you may have about the treatment please discuss it with your ND prior, so that appropriate individualized recommendations can be made.






Published Papers on FSM:

  1. Visceral and Somatic Disorders: Tissue Softening with Frequency Specific Microcurrent, McMakin C, Oschman J, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2012, Vol. 18, Number 00, pp 1-8.

  2. Non-pharmacologic treatment of neuropathic pain using Frequency Specific Microcurrent, McMakin, C, The Pain Practitioner, Fall, 2010, pp 68-73.

  3. Non-pharmacologic treatment of shingles, McMakin C, Practical Pain Management, 2010, Vol 10; 4; 24-29.

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