Microcurrent Therapy Explained
Facial Microcurrent is one of the hottest innovations in the anti-aging industry and is used in top spas and medical offices for facial contouring, toning and firming of aging skin.
It has been used with patients experiencing a form of nerve-paralysis, leading to atrophied, sagging facial muscles. The low-level current has retrained muscles, suggesting a new anti-aging application for the aesthetic industry.
Microcurrent is a low-level current that mimics the body’s natural current and provides both instant and cumulative anti-aging results. It is sub-sensory and very soothing for patients. Microcurrent is a safe and effective technology for clients who wish to attain and maintain a healthier, younger looking appearance comfortably. Results can be so dramatic that microcurrent is often referred to as the 5-minute face lift.
Both home microcurrent machines and professional microcurrent facial machines achieve results.
The Science of Microcurrent Therapy
To properly perform microcurrent, you must have an understanding of where the muscles in the area you are working on are located. If you do not work directly over the muscles or in the right direction, microcurrent will not be effective.
Let’s Start with a Brief Overview of Muscle Physiology:
Skeletal muscles are a composition of fibers innervated by nerves. Nerve impulses pass through a neuromuscular junction into the muscle fiber. The nerve impulses, or currents, continue through the muscle fiber to stimulate the “action potential”, triggering a large release of calcium. This initiates the contraction process. The contraction continues as the muscle cell’s increased permeability allows sodium ions to enter the cell, and the intracellular negativity is reinstated.
Energy for this process comes from the nucleotide compound ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) being reduced to ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate). Large amounts of ATP are used up during contraction and must constantly be replenished.
When a muscle is traumatized, it protects itself by going into spasm. This decreases blood supply, nutrients, oxygen, and ATP, disrupts the sodium pump, and increases waste products within the cell. The electrical current of injured tissue takes on a positive charge rather than negative charge. Non-injured cells try to restore normal electrical functions, but the body’s electrical system is subject to the natural law of electricity which dictates: “electricity must take the path of least resistance”, and travels around the injured tissue.
With the addition of external microstimulation, the damaged tissue recovery period is drastically reduced.
Tissue pathology begins with injured or otherwise insulted cells that exude certain biochemical substances, such as arachidonic acid, from the lipid portion of the cell membrane into their interstitial environment. These substances are responsible for turning on a complex array of inflammatory and pain - producing responses. The best way to accelerate relief from these responses is to accelerate the intracellular processes that result in the repair or replacement of the injured cells themselves. This involves accelerating the production of ATP (primary conveyor of energy within the cell), new proteins, and new DNA (if new cells must be created). The calcium concentration within the cells is known to play a very important role in activating a variety of enzymes which turn on the above processes. It has been shown that passing electrical current across the membrane of tissue cells (such as fibroblasts, which form new tissue in healing wound) in an optimal fashion will do a remarkably effective job of opening certain membrane channels to calcium ions. Calcium ions will then proceed to enter the cell from interstitial fluid (where they are more concentrated) and increase their concentration within the cell.
Microcurrent therapy, commonly referred as MENS (Microcurrent Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulation), is extremely small pulsating currents of electricity. These currents are finely tuned to the level of the normal electrical exchanges which take place at body’s cellular level. These currents being more biologically compatible than any other electrical stimulation device, have the ability to penetrate the cell - as opposed to passing over the cell as other stimulation devices do. It works on the ARNDT - SCHULTZ Law which states, “Weak stimuli increases physiological activity and very strong stimuli inhibit or abolish activity.”
This sub sensory current normalizes the ordinary activity taking place within the cell if it has been injured or otherwise compromised. The external addition of microcurrent increases the production of ATP, protein synthesis, oxygenation, ion exchange, absorption of nutrients, elimination of waste products, and neutralizes the oscillating polarity of deficient cells. Homeostasis is restored.
By normalizing cell activity, inflammation is reduced while collagen-producing cells are increased. Healthy cell metabolism creates a healthy, pain-free internal environment.
Internal exchanges within the body have been long understood by medical practitioners. Applying that knowledge has been slow in developing. Doctors and physical therapists all over the world have been using microcurrent to heal injured muscles, tendons, wounds and a myriad of injuries and ailments for the past fifteen years.
Electrical stimulation of tissue also results in improved circulation by several mechanisms, which may include a local release of vasodilator substances and a decrease in sympathetic vasoconstrictor reflex activity. This can result in:
- Reduced pain at injury site
- Improved neuromuscular responsiveness
- Reduction of inflammatory responses
- Increased range of motion and reduction of tightness in disturbed muscle tissue
- Reduced recuperation time and less neuromuscular inhibition leading to enhanced contractility of muscle fibers.
Individuals with cardiac problems, epilepsy, or who use pacemakers or who have electric/metal devices in their bodies should not undergo microcurrent as the waves may interfere with the patient’s health. Pregnant women should also not receive this treatment. Microcurrent may not be performed directly on the carotid sinus, eyeball, cardiac area, or on malignant tumors. Use caution around areas that have a tendency to bleed. Patients with acute infections, fractures, or scar tissue from the past 6 months should not be treated.
The Pros: Benefits
The benefits of using a Microcurrent Facial Machine for skin are numerous, and are consistent across many microcurrent facial machine reviews and scientific journals.
By stimulating the efferent fibers at the origin and insertion points of the involved muscle or muscles, the muscle can be painlessly stretched or shortened. An atrophied muscle can be shortened and toned; a muscle in spasm can be stretched. The use of anti-inflammatory and pain reducing drugs are either eliminated or drastically reduced.
Microcurrent is capable of causing facial stimulation and sending gentle waves through the skin, tissues, and facial muscles. It has also been proven to increase ATP production, which drives the creation of key structural proteins like collagen and elastin.
This increased ATP also energizes the facial muscles, similar to how exercise energizes the muscles of our bodies. Unlike anywhere else on the body, the facial muscles are directly connected to the skin, so the result of energizing them is an improved, lifted appearance.
By exercising the muscles in a gentle manner as microcurrent does, protein production is increased. This leads to muscles becoming firmer and tighter, improving the tone and overall look of the area that is treated.
Many professionals also note that microcurrent can stimulate the lymphatic system, reducing swelling and fluid in the face and other parts of the body. Thus, complexion and eye bags are improved, and your body is more easily equipped to expel itself of toxins and waste products.
Changes are evident after about 4-5 treatments, but it takes about 10-15 to see more prominent, longer-lasting effects. To maintain results, it is recommended to undergo microcurrent therapy at least once a month.
The external addition of microcurrent will increase the production of ATP, protein synthesis, oxygenation, ion exchange, absorption of nutrients, elimination of waste products, and neutralizes the oscillating polarity of deficient cells. Homeostasis is restored.
To review, microcurrent achieves the following:
- Stimulates tightening of the facial muscles
- Reduces localized pain
- Rejuvenates the face
- Speeds up healing processes
- Stimulates power energy points on the face
- Increases ATP production which is used by the body as energy
- Increases collagen production
- Helps decrease eye bags and puffiness on the face and body
- Tones muscles and reduces wrinkles
Side effects associated with treatment from a microcurrent machine are extremely rare and mild. This may include nausea and drowsiness in very few, if any, patients.
- Thoroughly cleanse the skin.
- Apply conductive gel to the area that will be treated.
- Select minimum working parameters onto the machine, starting at low intensity and increasing steadily throughout the procedure.
- Provide microcurrent massage on the treated area using the 2 special probes. Move probes either toward or away from each other depending on desired results (away to loosen muscle and toward to tighten) Be consistent with each side of the face and neck with performing identical movements to both sides. For best results, every stroke or movement should be repeated at least 3 times with increasing intensity each time. However, not every client will be able to tolerate increased intensity so it may take several visits to the skin while very gradually increasing intensity in order to be effective and safe. Be sure to always prioritize your patient’s comfort.
- Clean the skin again with conductive gel.
- Apply the soothing/moisturizing mask and SPF cream.
Patients are recommended to receive 2-3 microcurrent treatments per week, decreasing to 1 a week after results become more visible and prominent.
Initial results are evident after about 4-5 treatments, but 10-15 are recommended for long-term changes.
After 10-15 sessions, which is the average amount to see maintained results, patients should continue to get treated 1 time per month to keep results in the long-run.
Inform patients to drink 2 liters of water per day to assist their body in expelling toxins and other by-products associated with lymphatic stimulation from this treatment.
Best Microcurrent Machines
The Zemits Adrinox System is one of the highest rated microcurrent machines in the modern spa industry. It is a revolutionary system that delivers effective microcurrents to achieve amazing results on any kind of skin. This equipment allows you to succeed in:
- Lifting and tightening treatments for face, neck, decollete, abdomen, hips, and buttocks
- Rejuvenation treatments
- Treatments for reducing eye wrinkles and dark circles around eyes
- Treatments for improving skin elasticity and skin color
- Treatments for oily skin with loose pores
It includes the following handpieces and accessories:
- Disk Probes for face and neck
- Globe Probes for face and eye area
- Q-Tips for sensitive skin
- Dynamic Gloves for advanced combined manual and microcurrent massage
There are more than 100 different facial machines on the market and it can be frustrating to shop for the right one, whether you are buying a small machine to use at home or trying to grow your business in a beauty salon or a doctor’s office. Feel free to contact the Advance Esthetic team with any questions or simply to get some help finding the best microcurrent system for you!