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12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

Acupuncture Transcutaneous Nerve Stimulation – How It Works

The use of TENS machine on the news

Acupuncture transcutaneous nerve stimulation is a type of therapy. It is a combination of acupuncture and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). It works by using electric currents instead of needles to target pain points. The machine can boost the production of endorphins, which allows people to feel more relaxed. In addition, it uses pain gating. The brain has a harder time recognizing pain because of this.

One form of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is acupuncture. It works by penetrating thin needles into the skin. It stimulates pressure points to treat medical conditions. On the other hand, TENS therapy stimulates the nerves with the use of electrode pads. People attach it to the skin in various parts of the body. The following sections will present how the concept works, why people use it, and the best practices to reach its optimum performance.

How Does an Acupuncture Transcutaneous Nerve Stimulation Work?

The way an acupuncture transcutaneous nerve stimulation works is a TENS machine sends electric impulses to acupuncture points. According to TCM, the life energy of people flows through the 14 meridian lines in the body. The acupuncture points are located in these 14 lines. It connects several body organs. People can use a TENS machine to target these points and pressures.

TENS therapy produces tingling sensations in the body. They can get acupuncture-like impressions from the device. They can start with low frequencies to prevent sudden shocks. Once they get more comfortable, they can increase the frequency. Many people do acupuncture because of the relaxation they can receive. It is also possible with TENS as it triggers the release of the natural painkillers in the body.

They can directly place the pads on any area of the body, such as the back, legs, neck, and arms. Moreover, they can attach them above, below, or beside the pain area. However, they cannot place them on the head, unlike the actual acupuncture process.

Body Parts to Target

Here are the body parts to target that go by acupuncture points:

  • Forehead – People may place the pads on the temples after a doctor consultation.
  • Neck – It is essential to never attach the electrodes in front of the neck. They can do it instead at the back of the neck, near the highest point of the shoulders.
  • Arm – They can place the pads near the wrist. This point is known as useful in treating palpitations.
  • Legs – The area below the knees is a good place to treat digestive disorders, according to TCM. However, they can target this area as well for other pains.

Using the iTENS Large Wing on thighs

Why Do People Choose Acupuncture Transcutaneous Nerve Stimulation Over Others?

There are many different treatments for pain. Using acupuncture transcutaneous nerve stimulation is one of them. People choose to do the therapy because of several reasons. Firstly, it is a good alternative to the actual acupuncture process. Having a TENS machine gives acupuncture-like sensations and results. It is a good tool to own since not everyone feels comfortable having needles inserted into them.

Secondly, it is a generally safe pain reliever. It may not work for everyone because of the severity of some cases, but there are little to no reports of adverse side effects from those who have used it. TENS therapy is drug-free and non-invasive. Thus, they would not experience the potential internal organ damage that some medications may cause in the long run.

Lastly, it is fast-acting. When they follow the instructions well and use a good-quality device, TENS can relieve their pain within 15 minutes. However, it is important to note that low frequencies take longer to take effect than higher frequencies. However, the effects of higher frequencies leave the body faster than lower frequencies.


Aside from the effectiveness of TENS, it has more benefits to offer. One of them is the convenience it provides. Busy people may not have enough time to see an acupuncturist. They cannot also do the process on themselves. However, they can easily operate TENS therapy in their houses and by themselves.

Furthermore, a TENS machine, especially a wireless one, is discreet. People can bring the unit wherever they go and use it without anyone knowing. It would not stick out to create attention as it hides behind clothing. They can have the benefits of acupuncture without the need to do the actual treatment.

The iTENS Long Wings and gel pads

Best Practices for Acupuncture Transcutaneous Nerve Stimulation

A key to the effectiveness of acupuncture transcutaneous nerve stimulation is proper usage. One best practice is pad maintenance. Moreover, they must begin by considering the pain points they want to target. Some body parts, like the back, are larger than other areas. Hence, they need units that are big enough. Pads come in different shapes and sizes. A good example is iTENS Australia. They have various wing sizes with corresponding pads.

They can reuse pads for two to three months. It ultimately depends on the usage. Smaller pads may mean that they need to use many pads at once for bigger surfaces. This means they may consume pads at a faster rate. Therefore, they can buy extra pads to avoid inconveniences when the pads lose their stickiness.

Aside from avoiding certain body parts like the eyes because they can cause injuries, there are areas to refrain from because they might affect the performance of TENS. For instance, it is best not to place the pads on joints such as elbows since body movements may cause the pads to fall. It can lead to them not getting relief.

Other Considerations

It is beneficial to own a TENS machine. People can get relief and relaxation. However, there are more things to consider. An important thing to think about is if they are suitable for TENS. It is generally for everyone, but certain groups might be more susceptible to risks than others. Hence, it is recommended to see a doctor first.

Another factor is the minor side effects they can get. Some people are allergic to adhesives. The use of TENS may cause skin irritation like redness and itchiness. Thus, they can opt for hypoallergenic pads from the start to avoid the possibility of it happening.


Acupuncture transcutaneous nerve stimulation is a method where a TENS machine provides acupuncture-like sensations and results to the body. It happens by using a TENS device to send electrical currents through pads with adhesives. People attach the pads to any part of the body that is safe and does not cause them to fall off. TENS then manages the pain by the release of natural painkillers from the body and pain gating.

Though medications like painkillers can treat pain well, constant use can harm certain body parts like the liver. Thus, a TENS machine can be a good alternative or support to recovery and pain relief. Furthermore, it can also give the same relaxation people feel when doing an acupuncture session. They must buy reliable and FDA-cleared devices like the iTENS from iTENS Australia. Their devices are not only trusted by professionals, but they are also user-friendly.

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