History of Electrotherapy

Electrical Stimulation is the use of electricity to obtain desired Physiologic responses for the assessment of diseases and injuries in humans. The 1st recorded use of electrical stimulation for pain relief goes back to 46 AD, when Scribonius Largus used torpedo fish (electric ray) for Rx of gout & chronic headaches. In the late 19th century the safe harnessing of electrical activity became a reality. From the late 19th Century to today many milestones have developed. Such as Galvani's experiments on direct current on the nervous system & Farady's discovery of alternating current in the 1830's. In 1965 a scientific framework was developed by Melzack & Wall. They postulated the gate control theory. The gate control theory states that stimulation of nonnocieptors or their axons can interfere with the relay of sensation from nocieptors to higher centers in the brain where pain is received. This prompted research in the clinical effectiveness of TENS. Today, there is still research being done to further the study of electrical stimulation as a form of pain relief and help with physical rehabilitation.