For Pain Relief:
Electrical stimulation for pain relief has widespread clinical use, thought the direct research evidence for the use of IFT in this role is limited. Logically one could use the higher frequencies (90-130Hz) to stimulate the pain gate mechanisms & thereby mask the pain symptoms. Alternatively, stimulation with lower frequencies (2-5Hz) can be used to activate the opioid mechanisms, again providing a degree of relief. These two different modes of action can be explained physiologically & will have different latent periods & varying duration of effect. It remains possible that relief of pain may be achieved by stimulation of the reticular formation at frequencies of 10-25Hz or by blocking C fibre transmission at >50Hz. Although both of these latter mechanisms have been proposed (theoretically) with IFT, neither have been categorically demonstrated.
A good number of recent studies (e.g. Hurley et al 2004, Johnson and Tabasam 2003, Walker et al 2006, McManus et al 2006, Jorge et al 2006, Gundog et al 2012, Rocha 2012, Atamaz et al 2012) provide substantive evidence for a pain relief effect of IFT.
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