Iontophoresis is a technique which uses an electric current to deliver a medicine or other chemical through the skin. In popular (lay) terms it is sometimes called “an injection without the needle”. In the past it has sometimes been called Electromotive Drug Administration, though in modern therapy, this is a rarely employed term.
Common Uses for Iontophoresis
There are many different uses for iontophoresis. These include, but are not limited to:
Decrease muscle spasm
Decrease swelling and edema
Reduce calcium deposits in the body
Manage scar tissue
Your physical therapist will work with you to decide on the treatment goals and the rationale for using iontophoresis.
Application of Iontophoresis
Before applying iontophoresis, your physical therapist must first decide on which type of medication to use. The medication used in iontophoresis depends on the goals of the treatment. Different medications have different effects on the body, and your physical therapist will decide on the best medication for your specific condition.
A direct current electrical stimulation unit is used to apply iontophoresis. The unit has two electrodes; one electrode is for the negative current, and one is for the positive current. Your physical therapist will apply medication to either the positive electrode or the negative one, depending on the type of medication that is being used for iontophoresis.
The electrodes are then applied to your body. The electrode with the medication is applied to the area of your body that is being treated. The electrode without the medication is applied to your body nearby. The electrical stimulation unit is then turned on, and the electricity pushes the medication into your injured body part while you relax.
A typical iontophoresis treatment takes 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the amount of medication that your physical therapist is administering to you. When your iontophoresis treatment is completed, your physical therapist will remove the electrodes and inspect your skin. Don’t be surprised if your skin is red where the medication electrode was placed; this is common after iontophoresis.
Microcurrent Therapy uses extremely small amounts of electrical current to help relieve pain and heal soft tissues of the body.
Injury to the body disrupts its normal electrical activity. Microcurrent Therapy produces electrical signals like those naturally occurring when the body is repairing damaged tissue. By applying similar electrical currents, the healing process is enhanced.
Microcurrent Therapy is often recommended in cases involving soft tissue inflammation or muscle spasm. Since Microcurrent Therapy mimics the body’s electrical fields it is helpful in relieving pain and stimulating the healing of soft tissues.