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12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

IFT Electrotherapy – What It Is, How It Works, and Potential Side Effects

An athlete touching his painful leg after running

When it comes to managing pain or aiding in the recovery process, there are various treatment options available. Interferential or IFT electrotherapy is one such option that has been gaining attention in recent years. It is a type of electrical stimulation therapy that utilises low-frequency electrical pulses to stimulate the nerve fibres. As a result, individuals receive relief and healing. However, they should be mindful of potential side effects like skin irritation and muscle twitching.

Many people want to know more about IFT therapy because it has several benefits in reducing pain and rehabilitation. Thus, the article will present what it is, how it works, and potential side effects. The information can help them decide whether it might be a suitable treatment option for them. Whether dealing with chronic pain or looking to recover from an injury, understanding its basics can be beneficial.

What is IFT Electrotherapy

IFT electrotherapy is an in-demand treatment option for managing pain. This non-invasive technique uses low-frequency electrical currents to provide pain relief. It stimulates muscle contractions and increases blood flow to the affected area. The treatment method offers an effective and suitable treatment option for both acute and chronic pain.

Moreover, IFT therapy targets specific areas of pain to provide relief. This is achieved by using frequency currents, also known as carrier frequencies, in a range. The interference current is created by the beat frequency, which is the difference between two frequencies. Hence, this frequency swing allows for a more effective modulation of pain. By adjusting the range, it can help improve the overall situation of the pain site.

The main body of the device consists of two electrodes, which people need to place on the skin. Aside from the frequency, they can adjust their intensity. This determines how much electrical current is applied to the affected area. Moreover, modifying the waveform is possible. It affects the way the current is delivered and can help reduce discomfort during treatment.

Conditions that Can be Treated

The treatment can manage various pains. They are the following:

  • Sports Injuries – IFT aids in the rehabilitation of athletes by promoting healing, reducing pain, and improving joint function.
  • Muscle Spasms – These are involuntary contractions of muscle fibres that can cause pain and discomfort. It often occurs when a muscle is overused or injured, weakened by an illness or infection, or due to dehydration.
  • Musculoskeletal Conditions – This is any pain, ache, or discomfort that originates from the muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons.
  • Neck pain – It reduces tension and improves blood flow to the neck, which can help with stiffness.

A man touching the back of his neck and his lower back

How IFT Electrotherapy Works

IFT electrotherapy works by using frequency electrical currents to penetrate deeper tissues. Placing pads on the skin around the affected area stimulates the muscles and promotes pain relief. This technique helps with pain gate modulation by stimulating the nerve fibres and interfering with the transmission of pain signals to the brain.

The key to the effectiveness of the therapy lies in the phenomenon of interference. The treatment involves using two or more electrical currents with different frequencies, which intersect and create a new frequency. This helps to interfere with the pain signals being transmitted to the brain. Hence, the sensation of pain lessens. Additionally, it promotes increased blood flow to the area, which can aid in the healing process and reduce inflammation.

Electrode placement plays a crucial role in the success of IFT therapy. By strategically positioning the electrodes, healthcare professionals and individuals can target the specific pain site. They can also adjust the settings until they find a pattern that suits the comfort level and effectively manages the pain.


The treatment offers several advantages. The most significant one is its ability to provide effective pain relief without the use of oral medications or surgery. Another benefit is that it is relatively easy to administer at home. Many electrotherapy devices are small and portable, allowing people to receive treatment anywhere they go.

In addition, the IFT therapy promotes improved blood flow to the affected area. Increased blood circulation can enhance the healing process. This can be especially helpful for individuals recovering from acute pains, spinal canal stenosis, or ligamentous injuries. Plus, it can help improve joint pain.

A person touching their foot with skin irritation

Potential Risks and Side Effects of IFT Electrotherapy

While IFT electrotherapy offers several benefits, it is essential to be aware of the possibility of side effects and risks. One possible side effect is skin irritation or redness at the site of the electrode placement. This can occur due to prolonged exposure to the electrical currents or sensitivity to the electrode gel. To aid this, people can try using a lower-intensity current or changing the pad positioning.

Another potential risk is the possibility of muscle soreness due to the electrical stimulation. This can occur when a person sets the intensity too high or does not properly warm up before the treatment. To reduce this risk, individuals should start with low settings and slowly increase as their body adjusts. Following medical advice regarding the current intensity for specific conditions is useful.

Furthermore, there may be an experience of muscle contraction or twitching during the treatment. While this is a normal physiological response to electrical stimulation, it may cause discomfort for some people. Hence, it can help to take breaks between sessions, especially for those with high sensitivities.

When to Seek Medical Help

Individuals who are experiencing any concerning or severe side effects during the therapy should seek help from doctors. Additionally, if people notice any unusual skin reactions, such as severe blistering, it is best to seek medical attention.

Moreover, pain that persists even while or after the therapy should consult a professional. This is because it should not be painful, and any pain could indicate an underlying issue. Furthermore, individuals with pacemakers, those dealing with pregnancy, those who have suffered from a stroke or heart attack, and those with certain types of cancer should not use the therapy without speaking to their doctors first.


IFT electrotherapy is a safe and non-invasive treatment option that offers a range of physiological benefits. Its ability to provide pain relief, reduce muscle spasms, and enhance blood flow makes it a suitable choice for individuals seeking effective management of musculoskeletal pain and overall improvement in their well-being. It utilises mild electric currents. Hence, the potential side effects are minimal and temporary. Those who do experience skin irritation or muscle soreness can make adjustments. If it persists, seek medical help.

It is essential to administer the therapy with the guidance of a trained healthcare professional who can accurately assess patient conditions. They can also offer modifications to the treatment accordingly. By monitoring the response and addressing any concerns, the doctor can ensure a suitable treatment option for pain management. People who want to use it without medical supervision can do so as long as they thoroughly read the instructions and follow professional advice.

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