Transcutaneous Electrical Acustimulation
What is it?
Transcutaneous electrical acustimulation involves applying a low-intensity electrical current to acupuncture points without puncturing the skin.
Acustimulation is different from electroacupuncture, which uses needles that puncture the skin. It is also different than transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). TENS doesn’t use acupuncture points (acupoints). According to traditional Chinese medicine, stimulating acupoints helps balance specific organs, emotions, and feelings.
People use acustimulation for nausea and vomiting or pain after surgery. It’s also used for motion sickness, alcohol use disorder, neck pain, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these other uses.
Don’t confuse acustimulation with Traditional Chinese Medicine, Kampo Medicine, acupressure, acupuncture, moxibustion, or trigger point therapy. These are not the same.
Possibly Effective for …
- A decline in memory and thinking skills (cognitive function) after surgery. Acustimulation seems to help prevent a decline in cognitive function after surgery.
- Impaired movement of food through the intestines after surgery. Acustimulation seems to encourage normal bowel functions and prevents problems with bowel functions after surgery.
- Nausea and vomiting after surgery. Acustimulation seems to help prevent nausea and vomiting after surgery, although it’s not clear if it’s more helpful than antinausea drugs alone. It’s also not clear if acustimulation helps to treat nausea and vomiting.
- Pain after surgery. Acustimulation seems to help reduce pain after surgery in most people.
Possibly Ineffective for …
- Nausea and vomiting caused by cancer drug treatment. Acustimulation doesn’t seem to help reduce nausea and vomiting caused by cancer drugs.
There is interest in using acustimulation for a number of other purposes, but there isn’t enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if acustimulation is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. But there’s no reason to expect safety concerns when used appropriately.
Information on this website is for informational use only and is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. While evidence-based, it is not guaranteed to be error-free and is not intended to meet any particular user’s needs or requirements or to cover all possible uses, safety concerns, interactions, outcomes, or adverse effects. Always check with your doctor or other medical professional before making healthcare decisions (including taking any medication) and do not delay or disregard seeking medical advice or treatment based on any information displayed on this website.
© TRC Healthcare 2022. All rights reserved. Use and/or distribution is permitted only pursuant to a valid license or other permission from TRC Healthcare.