CISRA’s Synergy Health Newsletter

Issue 10. Frequency Specific Microcurrent (FSM) for Pain (2007)

by J. C. Waterhouse, Ph.D.

Frequency Specific Microcurrent (FSM) is an interesting new treatment modality that I first heard about at the Fall, 2004 conference of the American College for the Advancement of Medicine (1). It uses microamperage current that is thought to be similar to the amperage of current (electron flow) that occurs naturally in the body. Although the mechanism of action is unknown, it is thought that it may be able to aid in relieving pain and healing injured tissue through affecting the regulation of intracellular calcium ion homeostasis (2).

Recent trials have shown FSM treatment to affect the rate of healing of fractures (3, 4), the level of the natural painkiller beta-endorphin (5) and the production of chemicals associated with pain and inflammation, such as TNF–alpha and substance P (6). At the ACAM conference presentation given by Dr. Carolyn McMakin, I was particularly impressed by the clinical results obtained in helping relieve severe fibromyalgia pain following trauma to the cervical structures of the neck (1, 6).

It is similar in some ways to the long-used TENS treatment (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation), but is much more fine tuned in the frequencies it uses. FSM apparently facilitates more normal electron and blood flow to injured areas to help in healing injuries and may be more effective than TENS. Like TENS, I think it might turn out to be useful in allowing increased blood flow and relieving pain while patients are on long term therapies aimed at underlying bacterial sources of inflammation, like the Marshall Protocol (see A Short Introduction to the Marshall Protocol). For most people, it probably would not be necessary, but for cases where a particular area is severely injured, it might be considered when other approaches have been inadequate.

I decided to see if it would help my mother’s low back pain associated with disc degeneration. It actually helped the nerve pain going down one leg and she was able to walk without a limp after her first treatment. After a few treatments, her severe sciatic pain that bothered her every morning was noticeably lessened. It couldn’t help the pain due to vertebral slippage (spondylolisthesis) that gets worse when she stands. Some of the benefit from the few sessions she had was permanent, though she still has a significant level of back pain.

I decided to try some short sessions to see if FSM might be compatible or helpful for someone on the Marshall Protocol, like myself. I never did a full hour session, and never did it when having strong immunopathology (Jarisch-Herxheimer, “Herx” or bacterial “die-off” reaction). I think it helped reduce my tendency for pelvic/abdominal tension and cramping related to trigger points and fibrotic tissue in my abdomen. For many years, I had experienced a tendency to have constant thirst (unrelieved by drinking fluids), which seemed to be associated with days on which I had more pelvic tension. It may have been coincidence, but this thirst symptom seemed to occur much less frequently and was much milder after the FSM treatments. I have thought at times that the thirst tendency was associated with tension in the pelvic/abdominal region, perhaps because tension in these muscles and tendons is often associated with diarrhea, and severe diarrhea is a circumstance where increased thirst would be appropriate due to the tendency for fluid loss.

I have speculated that perhaps the body uses tension in this area as a cue for when increased fluid consumption and hence, thirst, is appropriate. It is known that the body uses muscle tension that might accompany exercise to signal the need for more rapid breathing (7). Thus, it did not seem unreasonable that our brain might use tension in the inguinal/pelvic area that might accompany diarrhea as a cue that thirst is appropriate, even when more fluids are not really needed.

Overall though, much of the benefit I received in relaxing the muscles and tendons in the pelvic region was not permanent. When I have “Herx” (immunopathology or Jarisch-Herxheimer) or food reactions, the tension tends to recur. However, it is possible that it has not returned to quite as high a level as it was before the FSM.

In conclusion, I think that FSM would be most appropriate as an option to consider for someone with severe pain that is not being helped adequately by other means. FSM can be rather expensive, but some insurance does cover it, in the same way that it covers TENS or acupuncture.

You can find a doctor who uses FSM by going to In some cases, patients purchase FSM units they can use at home, when the pain can not be controlled adequately with office visits alone. Others find the more widely available, TENS, very helpful and this can probably be done more inexpensively. But, in cases where TENS is inadequate, FSM might be tried.


(1) McMakin CR. 2004. Modulation of Inflammatory Cytokines Using Frequency Specific Therapy. Nov., 2004 Conference of the American College for the Advancement of Medicine (ACAM), San Diego, CA,

(2) Lambert MI, Marcus P, Burgess T, Noakes TD. 2002. Electro-membrane microcurrent therapy reduces signs and symptoms of muscle damage. Med Sci Sports Exer Apr;34(4):602-7.

(3) Abeed RI, Naseer M, Abel EW. 1998. Capacitively coupled electrical stimulation treatment: results from patients with failed long bone fracture unions. J Orthop Trauma. Sep-Oct;12(7):510-3.

(4) Kahn J. 1982. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for nonunited fractures; a clinical report. Phys Ther. Jun;62(6):840-4.

(5) Gabis L, Shklar B, Geva D. 2003. Immediate influence of transcranial electrostimulation on pain and beta-endorphin blood levels: an active placebo-controlled study. Am J Phys Med Rehab Feb;82(2):81-5.

(6) McMakin CR, Gregory WM, Phillips TM. 2005. Cytokine changes with microcurrent treatment of fibromyalgia associated with cervical spine trauma, J Bodywork and Movement Therapy. 9:169-176.

(7) Guyton AC, Hall JE. 1995. Textbook of Medical Physiology. WB Saunders Co.

Written by synergyhn

June 28, 2007 at 3:03 pm

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