TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) is a non-invasive, drug-free method of pain relief used for symptomatic relief and management of chronic intractable pain. Transcutaneous means “across the skin”, and TENS relieves pain by sending tiny electrical impulses to underlying nerve fibres through electrodes placed on or near the area of pain or pressure point.

The frequency of the impulse emitted from your TENS device will determine the type of pain relief that you experience. There are two main groupings of frequencies used in TENS, low (<10 Hz) or high (>50 Hz).

Low frequencies will stimulate the body to release chemicals and endorphins into the bloodstream to help them feel better. High frequencies are what is known as pain gating. This is the body sending electrical impulses up the spine instead of pain signals whereby masking the pain. Low frequencies will take longer to affect but will last longer once the TENS device is removed. High frequencies are fast-acting; however, the effect will diminish quicker once the TENS device is removed.

All iTENS pre-set programs are modulated, which means they utilise both low and high frequencies in the same treatment session. This allows the user to benefit from both at the same time. Modulating programs and slight placement movement will ensure that the body does not build up resistance to the TENS treatment.


Make sure you follow the iTENS instructions that come with your TENS device (they are also stored in the app). But in general, follow these directions for use:

  1. Use rubbing alcohol to clean the area where you want to apply the pads. Let your skin dry, and make sure there are no cuts, grazes or irritations on the area.
  2. Place the 2 x silver electrode areas of the wing on either side of the pain area.
  3. Choose either body part, condition or create your own program to determine which program the device will run on.
  4. Switch on the TENS machine using your fingernail and slowly turn it up until you feel a tingling sensation. It should feel quite strong but not uncomfortable. The sensation will drop slightly after a few minutes – this is called accommodation – and when this happens, turn the machine up a little and then leave it at that setting for the rest of your session. Please don’t turn it up too high, as this can over-stimulate the area and make your pain worse. There should be no muscle contractions at any point while you are using your
  5. At the end of the session, turn the device off using your fingernail and disconnect the wing by pulling it away from the middle section. Try not to touch the gel with your fingers, as they will wear out faster. Clean your skin with mild soap and water. If you find any redness or irritation from the electrodes, you should use a different skin area the next time you use your device.