Many decades ago, microcurrent stimulation was used to treat various somatic and mental illnesses. Basically, low-intensity direct current was used, which provided monophase or two-phase pulsed currents. Microcurrents were passed through the brain to treat depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. This type of current was effective for pain syndromes in muscles and wounds. Microcurrent exposure eliminated the side effects of radiation therapy for tumors and contractures in children with infantile cerebral palsy. Microcurrents helped as an adjunctive therapy to patients with diabetes mellitus, hypertension, fibromyalgia with a favorable course of the disease, after several months of stimulation.
The therapeutic effect of microcurrents has a large evidence base, but the mechanism of action of microcurrent stimulation is not yet fully understood.
Some researchers have suggested that stimulation with microcurrents affects the energy potential, which plays an interactive and regulatory role in the body’s systems and their interactions. In this regard, microcurrent stimulation is an effective tool in the treatment of mental and somatic disorders. Microcurrent stimulation is used in traditional Chinese medicine. According to doctors practicing in the field of Chinese medicine, human health is associated with internal energy balance, which affects the physical body of a person, psychological status. Human diseases, according to Chinese medicine, are associated with an imbalance of internal energy or blockage of the flow of energy through special channels – the meridians.
Numerous acupuncture points are located on the 14 main meridians of the human body, and stimulation of each point leads to certain effects in the human body. Namely, when acting on a point, you can balance, unblock, stimulate internal energy. Which leads to a decrease in pain and the disappearance of headaches. Acupuncture is also effective in the treatment of various types of mental and somatic diseases, namely back pain, chronic pain, asthma, the effects of stroke, insomnia, anxiety. Acupuncture is effective in eliminating tobacco addiction.
With the advent of new technologies of neuroimaging – Magnetic – rezonanskoy tomography, electroencephalography, it will be possible to confirm the scientific methods of effectiveness of Chinese medicine. Chinese practitioners have a special role to play in Shenmen ‘s elbow flexion acupuncture in the treatment of sleep and mood disorders.
Using neuroimaging techniques and clinical studies, it has been proven that the use of Shenmen acupuncture results in functional activation of various brain regions, especially the areas of the right postcentral gyrus (BA1 and BA2), the left postcentral gyrus (BA43), the left inferior frontal gyrus (BA47), the left superior the temporal gyrus (BA22) and the right inferior parietal gyrus (BA40).
The use of Shenmen acupuncture changes the disorganization of the brain’s bioelectrical activity into the ordered electrical activity of the brain. Clinical trials have shown that Shenmen acupuncture improves sleep quality, decreases insomnia, and reduces the effects of stress. Stimulation with microcurrents is likely to have the same effect as Shenmen acupuncture .
Numerous studies have shown that abnormal brain activity is the cause of insomnia. Patients with insomnia have a higher level of general metabolism (metabolism) in the brain during wakefulness, compared with the period of sleep. EEG activity at rest in the alpha zone and at other frequencies is higher than in persons without insomnia. There is also a positive correlation between metabolic rate and alpha activity on the left side when the patient’s eyes are open. Hence, it can be concluded that the increased alpha activity detected on the EEG in patients with insomnia is associated with intensive brain metabolism. Other research results show that increased drowsiness is negatively correlated with absolute alpha activity in all places of electrode fixation on the patient’s scalp upon awakening. A decrease in alpha activity reflects a decrease in activity both in the subcortical structures of the brain (brain stem, hypothalamus, midbrain, limbic system). Therefore, it can be assumed that Shenmen acupuncture decreases the absolute alpha power, thereby reducing the individual’s level of excitability and stimulating drowsiness.
A number of researchers have established a link between EEG data and mood, as well as between alpha frequency asymmetry and depression. Found out that different emotions are associated with different types of EEG in the frontal regions of the brain. Thus, the asymmetry of alpha waves in the anterior frontal region between the two hemispheres of the brain can be an indicator of positive and negative emotions. Positive emotions such as feelings of happiness are associated with left-sided activation, negative emotions such as disgust are accompanied by right-sided activation.
Since the power of the alpha rhythm is inversely proportional to the activation of the brain in the frontal area of the cortex, positive asymmetry , consisting in more alpha power on the right and less on the left, leads to more left-sided activation, that is, to a more positive emotional response. More alpha power on the left and less alpha power on the right leads to activation of the right side and promotes the development of negative emotional reactions. Experimental and clinical studies have shown that alpha- asymmetry of the frontal lobe of the brain provides a distinction between negative and positive emotions. Left-sided activation is associated with a decrease in feelings of anxiety and an increase in feelings of well-being.
Therefore, Shenmen acupuncture improves mood, changes brain activity, which is manifested by frontal alpha asymmetry and is fixed after the procedure.