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.

Is it effective?

NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

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.

Is there concern for the safety of its use?

Acustimulation is likely safe when used appropriately, short-term. No serious side effects have been reported. The most common acustimulation device is the ReliefBand. This device is approved by the US FDA. Other devices have also been used safely.

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.

Are there any drug interactions?

It is not known if this treatment interacts with any medicines. Before using this treatment, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.

Are there any interactions with herbs and supplements?

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Are there any interactions with food?

There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

Acustimulation is given using electrodes attached to specific points (acupoints) on the body. Small electric currents are administered to these acupoints. Various devices are used, such as the ReliefBand. The ReliefBand is worn on the wrist like a watch. It applies a small electric current to an acupoint on the wrist. Talk to your physician or other healthcare professional to learn more about how acustimulation is used for specific conditions.

By what other names is the product known?

Acupoint Electrical Stimulation, Acupoint Stimulation, Acupuncture Point Stimulation, Acupuncture-like Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, Acustimulation, Acustimulation Wristbands, AcuTENS, Percutaneous Acupoint Electrical Stimulation, TAES, TEAS, Transcutaneous Acupoint Electrical Stimulation, Transcutaneous Electrical Acupoint Stimulation.

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.

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