Technical Questions and Answers on Microcurrent*
Q. Why does our skin show aging?
Akin is made up of three layers: The Epidermis, the Dermis, and the Subcutaneous Layer. The Epidermis is the thin outer protective layer, and consists of epithelial tissue in where rows of cells resemble bricks in a wall, with new cells produced at the base. The Dermis is just beneath and contains connective tissue, small blood vessels, sweat and oil glands, nerves, and cells that produce collagen, called fibroblasts. Scientists formerly thought that fibroblasts were little more than scaffolding on which more important cells would climb. But University of Rochester Medical Center scientists have discovered that certain fibroblasts have highly specialized duties and play a major role in how scars form, fat accumulates, and harmful inflammation arises in humans. They also appear to be metabolically active. Two fibers, collagen and elastin, weave through the dermis, giving skin flexibility and firmness. The Subcutaneous Layer is beneath the dermis and consists mainly of a type of connective tissue called adipose tissue. Adipose tissue is more commonly known as fat and it helps cushion the skin and provide protection from cold temperatures. With aging, all skin cells begin to produce excess amounts of free radicals--unstable oxygen molecules that, under ideal circumstances, are removed by naturally occurring antioxidants within the skin's cells. In aging skin cells, antioxidants are in short supply. The free radicals generated are left unchecked and cause damage to cell membranes, proteins, and DNA. These free radicals eventually break down collagen, and release chemicals that cause inflammation in the skin. It is a combination of these cellular and molecular events that leads to skin aging and the formation of wrinkles. In simple terms, as we get older, two components of our skin--collagen and elastin--degenerate, setting the stage for the appearance of wrinkles, creases, folds, and furrows. The breakdown of these components, accelerated by such things as exposure to UV rays, gravity, pollution, smoking, lack of exercise, and/or a consistently poor diet, results in the more visible signs of old age on our skin. Years of facial expressions trigger small temporary folds in the skin to form where our muscles move; with age, depleting levels of collagen and loosening elastin fibers develop a memory of each crease. The Epidermis also becomes thinner and the connective tissue weaker. Combined with the lack of tone in aging facial muscles, the Epidermis begins to sag and natural folds become unnaturally pronounced by fatty cheeks, neck, and chin. Reduction of blood circulation and restriction of blood vessels lead to a loss in youthful hue and manifests in a dull gray color to the face.
Q. Is Microcurrent the Same as TENS Units Used In Rehab?
No. Microcurrent is a modality providing electric current in millionths of an ampere, called Microamperes. It is the closest known electrical current that can be delivered on a near identical magnitude as the electrical current the human body naturally produces on its own; it is therefore physiologic and safe. Microcurrent is sub sensory and should not be felt while it is being delivered, since there is barely enough current to stimulate the sensory receptors.
Microcurrent modalities are different than TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation), which uses a form of electrical current measured in Mill amperes commonly used as a therapy to block pain. Microcurrent is from 10-100 times less powerful than TENS, and should never cause muscle contraction or be uncomfortable during cosmetic applications. Microcurrent is part of the TENS current range; however, Microcurrent provides accumulative healing affects, whereas TENS blocks pain but has virtually no healing effect. The Microcurrent modality used in medical healing is referred to as MENS, but its use for aesthetic treatment is termed Facial Sculpting or Facial Toning. Microcurrent, because of its close proximity to our own body's current, works on a more cellular level to aid in the healing process. It is upon this initial cellular healing platform that we began our research and development into the use of Microcurrent for aesthetic regeneration.
Q. How is Microcurrent used for cosmetic treatment and why is it so effective?
As we age, our body loses much of its natural electrical energy, much like a battery gradually losing its charge. On a cellular level, this leads to a breakdown of collagen and elastin in our skin, which leads to sagging and unevenness of texture, lines, wrinkles and folds become the result. Beneath the skin, the facial muscles become increasingly contracted over years of facial expression and constant gravity, allowing the overall lift of our face to decline. Microcurrent emits subtle electrical frequencies that mimic the body’s own electrical signals, thereby increasing the amount of ATP (adenosine triphosphate, the chemical fuel of human cells) by as much as 500%. Such increased levels of ATP speed cellular metabolism; the result is a detoxification that increases the rate of waste and impurity elimination. Protein synthesis and cellular membrane transport are also increased, as well as the reconstitution of collagen and elastin. The results of these processes can be seen in improved skin tone and coloration, the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, and the firming of sagging areas of the face. Besides the increase in ATP, protein synthesis, and cellular membrane transport, clinical studies have consistently shown that Microcurrent causes the following:
Clinical studies have consistently shown that Micro Current causes
- 35% increase in production of glucose
- 40% increase in number of elastin fibers in the dermis
- 50% increase in the length of elastin fibers
- 10% increase in collagen thickness of the connective tissue
- 35% increase in the number of blood vessels
- 28% increase in lymphatic drainage
All of these combinations are key factors in the effectiveness of Microcurrent Facial Sculpting. The body is literally being recharged back to its more youthful electrical state, as though a draining battery were plugged into a charger. With each treatment, ATP levels are stockpiled or stored, which is why Microcurrent Facial Treatment results are cumulative and become better as a series of treatments progresses. Results may last only 48-72 hours in the initial treatment, then 3-4 days as you reach your 4th or 5th treatment. By the 6th or 8th treatment, muscle memory takes over and progress becomes more rapid and longer lasting, until only a booster treatment is needed every 4-6 weeks to maintain the results. This is called “muscle reeducation.” The dramatic increase of ATP levels allows muscles to stay in the re-educated positions for longer periods of time. The other attributing factor is an increase in blood circulation. Blood circulation has everything to do with the function, condition, color, and overall health of the skin, as well as underlying tissue.
Compare that to any “skin resurfacing” procedure which only stimulates collagen by wounding the dermis. Microcurrent does not rely upon wounding, nor does it require a healing process to show results.
The long answer (including clinical studies and technical details): Microcurrent passes through special wands to manipulate 32 of the 53 muscles of the face by isolating traditional acupuncture points. The direct effect of this is called "muscle re-education.”
Muscle re-education can be accomplished to a limited degree without electrical current, such as in massage therapy; however when done using Microcurrent the results are extraordinary. In technical terms, facial muscles become increasingly contracted over years of facial expression and gravity. Microcurrent recharges those muscles into a shorter state. This widely-accepted concept was coined as the Golgi Tendon Organ (GTO) by George J. Goodheart Jr., DC, in the late 60's and is still accepted today. In 1982, a landmark study performed by Ngok Cheng (now referred to as the Cheng study) found that a delivery of 50 to 500 microamperes of Microcurrent caused an increase in mitochondria, protein synthesis and that the Aminoisobutyric Acid uptake increased dramatically which led to a 30-40% increase in protein synthesis and Gluconeogenesis (biosynthesis of new glucose). The study also found a 300-500% increase in ATP levels (Adenosine triphosphate). ATP molecules, known as the "energy of life", are the storage and distribution vehicles for energy in the body and drive a number of biological processes such as photosynthesis, muscle contraction, protein synthesis, and membrane transport. ATP increase has been an attributing factor in the use of Microcurrent to speed the healing of wounds and injuries for over 60 years. The idea that ATP can be stockpiled or stored is the reason why Microcurrent treatment results are cumulative and become better as a series of treatments progresses. The dramatic increase of ATP levels allows muscles to stay in the reeducated positions for longer periods of time. The other attributing factor is an increase in blood circulation. Blood circulation has everything to do with the function, condition, color, and overall health of the skin, as well as underlying tissue. Emil Y. Chi, PhD, director of the University of Washington's Department of Pathology, performed clinical studies using Microcurrent equipment. He notes, "The fact that this technology works in harmony with the body is evident. Examination of skin tissue treated with Microcurrent showed a 45% increase in the number of elastin fibers in the dermis, and the length of the fibers on average doubled. The collagen thickness in connective tissue increased 10%, and the number of blood vessels increased by 35%. The application of Microcurrent to skin and tissue produced a firmer and tighter feeling on the skin surface."
Chi's study further notes a 35% increase in blood circulation in tissue treated with Microcurrent, as well as remarkable Iontophoresis (delivering medication or cosmetic product with electrical current) that allows superior penetration of products into the skin. Other notable results concluded from the study were that redness, irritation and inflammation of surgically traumatized tissue could be decreased significantly, and the buildup of hardened collagen that makes up scar tissue was noted to be three to five times less in tissue treated without Microcurrent. Lymphatic drainage, an often over-looked treatment in aesthetics, has been gaining momentum in recent years. Clinical studies performed using Microcurrent at Hong Kong 's Tuen Muen Hospital in 1988 indicated that lymphatic drainage was increased by 28% on post-cancer patients suffering from lymphedema.
Q. How popular is this cosmetic technology becoming in the United States?
Microcurrent Facial Treatments have been in the United States for several years, but just like other trends in cosmetic treatment and fashion, it seems to start overseas then reaches mainstream levels in the U.S. via celebrity circles. For two years in a row, Hollywood insiders have reported that this treatment was one of the hottest among celebrities in the weeks before the Academy Awards; in fact, this year it was featured on Extra during an episode on “Pre-Oscar Makeovers”. Hollywood celebrities that are currently known to be fans Goldie Hawn, Jamie-Lee Curtis, Mel Gibson, Liv Tyler, Meryl Streep, Drew Barrymore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sandra Bullock, Susan Sarandon, Rene Zellweger, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jane Fonda, and Cliff Richard.
Q. What age range is this treatment suited for?
Microcurrent is recommended for adult clients of all ages, since it preserves and maintains the youthful elements of younger clients, and acts as a rejuvenating treatment for older clients.
Q. How long has Microcurrent technology been around?
The discovery that electrical current in the body is disrupted by wounds occurred In the 1830's when Carlos Matteucci proved that an electrical current was generated by injured tissue, but it wasn't until 1843 that the existence of wound currents was first experimentally observed by Dubois-Reymond. Nearly 100 years later, the Japanese would rely upon this discovery to use Microcurrent on the its soldiers during WWII, as Japanese physicians found that small electrical currents promoted the mending of non-healing bone fractures, reducing the time it took to heal. The first commercial device outputting Microcurrent stimulation was the Dermatron, developed in the 1960's by Dr. Reinhold Voll of Germany. Mainstream use would eventually find the technology treating a variety of nonunion fractures and bone implants as an accepted procedure among orthopedic surgeons. The technology further progressed to treating pain in burn patients and sports injuries. Medical doctors, physical therapists, acupuncture physicians, and chiropractors have since relied upon Microcurrent for decades, but its use in cosmetic treatment is fairly recent, born out of one physician successfully treating Bell's palsy patients for paralysis, noticing that the facial lines were much softer, the face more lifted, and the eyes less droopy. It is used in the treatment of Bell’s palsy patients to this day. Other successful uses of Microcurrent in the medical community have achieved results include: Tempero-mandibular joint Dysfunction, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Macular Degeneration, Scoliosis, Tinnitus, Tic Doloreaux, and anxiety, and insomnia. Clinical Info on Bell’s palsy: http://www.eastwestmed.com/treatment.prot/bellspalsy1.htm
Are there any harmful side effects or pain during or after the treatment? Not only is our treatment painless, but clients look forward to the relaxing experience. Microcurrent does not rely upon a thermal energy source like a laser; therefore there is no inflammation or redness, no need to heal before seeing results, and no downtime. Just reapply makeup and go on with your day. Many procedures using lasers advertise themselves as "lunchtime facelifts" requiring no downtime, but who wants to resume their day with a red swollen face? Microcurrent facial treatment is one of the safest , most effective nonsurgical treatment available today.
Q. So how much would I expect to pay for this procedure?
Most of aesthetic professionals are charging $99-$199 per treatment session, but treatment packages are available which reduce these costs. There is not a more cost effective treatment available today that attains such effective results.
Information & Research studies by:
*Some info provided by Evanesque, LLC in Dallas, TX