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What is the biophysical effect of microcurrent or how does microcurrent actually work?
Physicist and developer Dr. Thorsten Stüker 'dissects' 🧫 microcurrent therapy into its effective parameters 🧬 and explains the connections with the processes in the tissue, brain, osmotic pressure conditions, capacitive effects in the tissue up to ATP production 🔋.
We are sorry, this audit podcast episode is only available in german. BUT we the english transcrip below!!
Transcript of this episode
Patrick Walitschek: Welcome to a new episode of our Luxxamed Microcurrent Podcast. My name is Patrick Walitschek and in this episode I have brought you something brilliant again, something super exciting. We had a web seminar last weekend and one of the participants was the physicist Dr. Thorsten Stüker, who knows a lot about research and development in the field of microcurrent and has been practising it for many years. In this web seminar, Dr. Stüker explains how the effective parameters in microcurrent are composed, what it is really all about with the voltage, with the ionisation of the skin layer, what the frequencies are important for and what the current also triggers in the metabolism, also related to, for example, the osmotic pressure conditions in the body, and what the whole thing has to do with ATP production. Super exciting, if you really want to know the technical and biophysical basics of microcurrent, so I don’t want to keep you in suspense any longer and we will hear from Dr. Thorsten Stüker again at the end of the lecture. Until then, have fun.
Dr. Thorsten Stüker: A very good morning to you. First of all, my name is Thorsten Stüker. I am a physicist and have been involved in the development of electrotherapy systems and also microcurrent devices for a very long time and I am very intensively involved in the biophysics behind microcurrent therapy. I have done a few small things. Now I’m going to see if the release works as it should, but it looks almost good. It’s hell. Patrick, do you see what I wanted to release or am I just…?
Patrick Walitschek: Yes, I see here a /.
Dr. Thorsten Stüker: Everything is fine, you have just switched off the entire monitor in my case. In principle, we have to imagine that the human body is nothing other than a network of pipes with many, many lines. It’s much more chaotic than you imagine, in principle it looks a bit like this. Every muscle is connected at least once, sometimes several times, via motor plates. All sorts of places in the body are connected via receptors to the brain, i.e. to the control centre of the human body. You would hardly think it possible, but yes, all communication in the human body functions electrically. This functionality ensures, for example, that we can grasp things, that we feel pain, that we feel cold and all these things are transmitted via electrical impulses. How does this work? There is an electrochemical reaction in the motor plate, which basically shoots an impulse through the nerve, which arrives in the brain, is converted back into an electrochemical reaction there at the synapse and is then evaluated accordingly by the brain.
Dr Thorsten Stüker: So it is not at all far-fetched to speak of a large network of conductors in the human body, but fundamentally, of course, we know how a network of conductors works. To put it bluntly, I take a battery, I have a positive and negative terminal, I can connect a small lamp to it with two wires and it lights up. To put it bluntly, that’s what most people know about it. I’m trying to shed some light on this with the lecture I’m giving now, and we’ll be able to answer any questions you may have later on. When we apply microcurrent, we flow through tissue. This means that we do not target a specific organ or a specific tissue component, but in principle we have a current flowing through everything that lies between two electrodes. These are nerves, muscles, fasciae, all the cells of the body and the brain is also reached through the nerve pathways, as we have proven in various experiments. So there have also been corresponding studies that prove this.
Dr. Thorsten Stüker: So if I assume that I stick two electrodes somewhere on the human body – I’ll just take the top of the hand and the bottom of the hand as an example now. If I stick two electrodes somewhere on the human body – I’ll just take the top of the hand and the bottom of the hand as an example – then current will flow through everything between the electrodes. Most of the current flows where there is the least resistance, but even where the resistance is relatively high, a current still flows. That is always a big mistake, that people think that nothing flows there. So, in principle, with microcurrent we are always dealing with a flow through tissue and now, of course, all motor plates, for example, all synapses, all nerve connections that we reach with the flow, ensure that this impulse is also passed on to the brain. There is a lot of information that actually reaches the brain during microcurrent therapy. We assume that the brain even has a significant involvement in the microcurrent effects, but we will come to that later.
Dr. Thorsten Stüker: If we take a look at it – I won’t explain it intensively – but I will try to explain it a little bit as well. Synapses are not a direct electrical conductor at all. This is not the copper cable that is laid from the muscle to the brain, but with the synapses there is actually no real electrical contact. It works in a so-called capacitive way. This means that electrons accumulate on one side and there are none on the other side, then an electrochemical reaction occurs, this electrochemical reaction then also causes electrons to appear on the other side, which are then passed on again accordingly. Capacitive resistors are always frequency-dependent. This is a matter of physics. That is, a capacitive resistor always changes with the frequency. The higher the frequency, the smaller the capacitive resistance and so one can assume that the capacitive resistance also has a considerable influence on what is ultimately passed on.
Dr. Thorsten Stüker: This connection can be directly penetrated by microcurrent, but that is actually also a very important thing that we can keep in mind right now, we have to imagine this connection so to speak in such a way that we can also directly excite this electrochemistry with the microcurrent and make sure that the whole thing moves. With the motor plate it looks no different than with the synapse, there too we don’t have a direct connection, there again we have this story calcium, sodium, then we have the corresponding ions and off we go. So it’s basically exactly the same as the synapse, just a little bit different and this tissue gap is the electrolytic, so it’s the insulating element. At low frequency, as I said, high resistance, at high frequency low resistance. This means that the resistance varies depending on the frequency. The fasciae have a very interesting function here. They actually act almost like an insulating layer, that is, they act as a so-called dielectric. This means that the fasciae ensure that the capacitive effects in the tissue are even significantly increased. These effects in the tissue are absolutely necessary for the microcurrent effect, at least for the secondary effect. They are not absolutely necessary for the primary effect, but they are indispensable for the secondary effect.
Dr Thorsten Stüker: This is illustrated here using the fascia of the diaphragm. In the diaphragmatic fascia, for example, we have an almost ‘de facto’ electrical insulation. Why is this? Because fascia are extremely poor conductors. That is, the fascia tissue contains little water, little salt and little water and little salt, a lot of fat, a lot of collagen, these are all arguments for: does not conduct well. One of the effective parameters we have is frequency, which is often discussed. The programmes that are stored in the Luxxam devices are basically nothing more than corresponding collections of frequencies. There are different frequencies for painful diseases, for inflammations, for degenerative diseases, for many other clinical pictures. It is interesting that these frequencies do not work locally alone, but they also work, above all, in the brain. I have made relatively many experiments to see what happens when I apply direct current, i.e. I do not store a frequency, or when I simply use a frequency, but always the same one, or when I apply the most varied frequencies on all channels, of which we know what they are effective for.
Dr. Thorsten Stüker: We know this from the research of Dr. Carolyn McMakin, among others, but also from others, so there are many sources. But there is still a local effect component, because the different penetrability of the tissue for different frequencies ensures that the frequency can also play a high role locally, especially when high capacitive effects ensure that these capacitive effects ensure, so to speak, that no current would actually arrive, if it were a direct current. That brings us back to the fascia. We have just seen it, the diaphragmatic fascia. In principle, I would only be able to drift current past the fascia, so to speak. Of course, this would mean that a lot of tissue would be left out in case of doubt and, above all, that the resistances would be extremely high. We have extremely low amounts of energy in microcurrent treatment. You always have to imagine… Everyone has heard of the electricity grid. I think everyone has heard of 230 volts. Maybe someone has switched off a fuse in the fuse box. There’s an indication on it, it says 16 A, that stands for 16 amps. And watts, we have all heard that before, at the latest with the power of the music system or with the power of a light bulb or with the EU regulation of hoovers, we have also heard something about watts.
Dr. Thorsten Stüker: What is power in watts? It is the product of the voltage, that is, it is the potentially deliverable power and the current. The current is basically the flowing electrical work and the power in watts says nothing other than the work that is now being done, so to speak. The whole thing can then be… We know this from the electricity bill, where we know the kilowatt hours that are billed to us. In principle, this is the electrical work as the product of voltage and current, together with a time specification, namely over one hour. Fortunately, this is much, much less in the case of micro electricity, but at the end of the day, we are of course talking about energy quantities here as well. Our highest amount of energy is around 500 microamperes. 500 microamperes, you have to imagine, that’s 0.0005 amperes. That means it is an extremely small amount of energy, with which, for example, I can hardly light up an incandescent lamp; with an LED it might just about work, but it will also be quite difficult. The maximum exposed thermal power is 0.03 watts per microcurrent channel. But we’ll get to that later, so it’s not entirely unimportant.
Dr. Thorsten Stüker: Now let’s jump a bit further to the parameters that are interesting for us. We have just talked about voltage. We have a peak voltage of up to 60 volts for microcurrent devices. The main reason we need this peak voltage is to overcome the resistance of the top layer of skin through ionisation. The uppermost skin layers have an extremely high resistance, which means that dry skin could theoretically have a resistance of up to 20 megohms, but since we want to deliver a certain amount of energy into the tissue with our microcurrent devices, the flowing current is of course the controlled variable that we want to achieve. This means that when this top layer of skin is overcome, the resistance drops immediately and the voltage also drops from 60 volts, depending on the resistance and the desired current, sometimes down to 3, 4, 5 volts. It also drops immediately, i.e. without any time delay, when the microcurrent starts to flow. We have done this with a very fast, intelligent control. In principle, we use physics here.
Dr Thorsten Stüker: Electrical engineering offers us the possibility to regulate such things wonderfully, nevertheless it is important to know why that is so, because that is the reason why it sometimes tweaks a bit with microcurrent. What happens there? A small capacity builds up and at some point the discharge occurs, the capacity stores a bit of energy, so to speak, and then the discharge occurs, that’s the wobbling with relatively high voltage. By the way, we can’t really prevent this because we can’t make the skin conductive. There is no cream where we can say that the skin is now conductive and has 0 ohms, that doesn’t work, but what we can do is basically make sure that people don’t have dry skin, that they are not dehydrated, that they have drunk enough. Apart from that, it is always the same principle of action. We need to have overcome the uppermost layers before any current can flow at all and then we need an intelligent, a nelle regulation for a gentle treatment that corresponds to the desired parameters.
Dr. Thorsten Stüker: If the uppermost skin layer is penetrated, offers a resistance in the megohm range, then the electrical resistance is on average around 50 kiloohms and that is even related to direct current with 60 volts. This means that at the moment when we would have direct current with 60 volts, we would have 50 kiloohms, no problem. But as soon as the current flows in pulses, the resistance is lower. Why is that? I had just explained that. We are back to the capacitive resistances that build up, through the non-conductive areas and there it is then that you have to think of it like this: This non-conductive area charges up a bit, like a small battery, and then it discharges and that’s exactly how it flows, which is why it doesn’t work with direct current, but it works wonderfully with pulsating direct current. Incidentally, with higher frequency the resistance decreases, in which case the resistance is called impedance. Many people may have heard the word before, especially in connection with loudspeakers, where an impedance of four or eight ohms, for example, is mentioned.
Dr. Thorsten Stüker: It is always impedance when it is not a steady current, i.e. the classic direct current, but a pulsating current, i.e. when a frequency is involved that ensures that the impedance is overcome accordingly and thus the resistance changes depending on the frequency. If we now compare microcurrent with Tens or the popular EMS training, the Tens treatments have 30 milliamperes, in some cases, as I have read in the meantime, even 50, and the EMS sport also has 50 milliamperes. You have to know that these are of course energy quantities that are 100 times higher than our maximum energy quantity from the microcurrent device. You also have to know that Tens and EMS are supposed to hurt, otherwise it doesn’t work, which is why we are in the situation where it is naturally somewhat painful. From four milliamperes, we already have heart risks, that is, with a flow of four milliamperes, in the cardiac area, it can come to the fact that the heart conduction is interrupted and it comes to a considerable damage of the test person.
Dr. Thorsten Stüker: By the way, from about 1.5 milliamperes, creatinine secretion begins, which means that ATP is no longer produced, but creatinine is secreted, which causes major problems with the kidneys. We know this from top athletes: when they overtrain, they have extreme creatinine levels, sometimes even to the point of kidney failure. This also applies to very long-lasting Tens treatments, where there are also significant increases. Microcurrent below one milliampere, on the other hand, causes ATP to be released, which means that we are basically doing two things: We ensure that the production of ATP, i.e. of adenosine triphosphatase, is increased and at the same time we ensure that cells that have a lot of ATP can release ATP due to the change in the osmotic conditions around them. There is also a beautiful study, which is always quoted. There are some dubious providers who write: “500 percent ATP increase with our device". Of course, that’s complete nonsense, not a word of it is true.
Dr. Thorsten Stüker: The 500 percent ATP increase came about, how? Someone did a study and measured the ATP content in the Liquidum in the tissue before a therapy, then did a therapy, measured in the Liquidum after a therapy and then said: “The ATP production is increased by 500 percent, here is the scientific proof". Of course, that is wrong. What he measured was basically the release of ATP, because there is normally almost no ATP in the Liquidum. This is a relatively rare commodity in the free bloodstream. But if there is a corresponding change in the conditions, then ATP can also be released, which is then found in the liquid. By the way, an increase in ATP production of 30 to 60 percent is realistic. There will certainly be more about this later, but the basic fact is that we can ensure that ATP is released and the production of ATP in the body is also promoted again through the extremely low currents in this therapy. We also have another effect that we always have to consider. This is basically the thermodynamic effects. The thermodynamic effects actually occur because wherever electricity flows through, it is the case that this electricity that flows generates heat energy.
Dr Thorsten Stüker: We know this from the immersion heater, from the kettle. Electricity flows through it, it gets warm, you can heat water with it. Unfortunately, you sometimes get burnt by it, that doesn’t happen with microcurrent, of course, but despite all that, we also have a corresponding heating here, but it takes place at a much lower level and, above all, the thermal effects have a corresponding influence intracellularly. These have an additional influence on the osmotic conditions in the tissue and also have an effect on neighbouring cells. It has therefore been proven, among others by Dr. med. univ. Voracek, who has dealt a lot with Luxxamed microcurrent devices. So that is a relatively secure finding. Then, in principle, we have a corresponding change in the osmotic conditions, which is actually responsible for a large part of our immediate effects. To do this, we first have to know what is permeable. Many people don’t know this, which is why I am explaining it here. A non-permeable membrane is not permeable, a semi-permeable membrane is conditionally permeable, that is, a semi-permeable membrane is conditionally permeable with appropriate diffusion processes.
Dr. Thorsten Stüker: Now we know that with cell walls, for example – especially since the Covid story, we know this very well – that the calcium binding domains on the cell walls, for example, are quite capable of letting in a virus like this, but they are actually very, very stable in their form, in their shaping and above all very, very stable in what they let in or don’t let in and how much of it. The whole trick that goes on here is basically a constant osmotic pressure or constant osmotic pressure conditions. If we get sick and the cell needs additional substances, then these conditions change and suddenly the cell can absorb exactly these substances from the surrounding liquid. It sounds simple, but it is really that simple. It is actually the case that these substances can be absorbed without any problems. In principle, the permeability is increased, that is, we apply, that is, we apply our microcurrent, the cell, the cell envelope becomes more permeable, becomes more permeable and now, in principle, we have the following effect due to the osmotic pressures: If I have a lot of ATP in the cell, then there is a negative osmotic pressure on the outside, as far as ATP is concerned, then ATP will leak out of the cell, ‘vice versa’, the other way round, if we have no ATP at all in the cell and a lot of ATP around it, the probability that the cell will take up a little ATP is very high.
Dr. Thorsten Stüker: That ensures that the microcurrent treatment and that is immediate effect, which we all know in principle, can take care of that. Let’s take a look at how microcurrent is applied. We have a signal that is switched on and off again and again. – I have already said that. I said pulsed or pulsating direct current. – In principle, this signal is repeatedly switched on and off by the electronics. Before a polarity change, i.e. when we are in the positive polarity in the therapy and want to change to the negative polarity, the possible current is reduced, then the polarity is reversed, so to speak, and it continues. We have controlled this electronically in such a way that as few as possible of the otherwise unpleasant effects occur for the patients. In the end, however, we basically switch on any desired frequency in any desired polarity. These parameters, the frequencies, the polarity, the currents, all of this is automated in the units. In addition, we also have correspondingly high accuracies through high-precision microprocessor processing for the frequencies, so everything is relatively complex.
Dr Thorsten Stüker: We always try to bring order into the system. Order is, for example, also the compensation of ATP deficits, order is also, above all, straightening out the electrochemical conditions at the motor plates and the synapses. What happens there? When we use microcurrent, the current system is more or less overrun, because suddenly impulses come in that have a certain direction, a certain frequency, a certain impulse processing and these impulses now penetrate this motor plate and force the motor plate to function electrochemically correctly. Since we repeat the impulses again and again, it works at some point, i.e. it may not work with the first impulse, or with the fiftieth, but at some point during the therapy the whole thing usually gets back into order. In order to achieve the effect in the long term, one must of course do several therapies. This order in this system provides for several effects, which you all know too.
Dr. Thorsten Stüker: We know that the pain memory can cause us considerable problems, that is, that people suffer pain over a long period of time and in microcurrent therapy we know that this pain goes down bit by bit. This also has to do with the fact that the pain memory is erased bit by bit, because unfortunately God’s electrochemical connections function in such a way that this disorder manifests itself in the electrochemical connection. That is one of the advantages we have by using microcurrent. On the basics, I can thank you so far for listening. Now I have to… Here I am again. If there are any questions, I would be very happy if they were asked afterwards, and now I would like to pass the whole thing back to the moderator, Mr Patrick Walitschek.
Patrick Walitschek: That was the lecture, that was the explanation by physicist Dr Torsten Stüker about the effective parameters and the biophysical background of microcurrent therapy in general. I think the view of the change in osmotic pressure conditions and the fact that muscles, or rather muscle fasciae, form a kind of insulator, can influence the whole system and thus also influence the capacitive effects in the tissue, is super exciting. I think that also sheds a little light on the mode of action and what actually lies behind it. Then I say thank you very much for tuning in to this episode. In the next episode, we will probably deal with the topic of ‘biohacking’, because I see that the topic is becoming more and more, I will say, ‘hyped’ in Germany, especially in the social media. In the USA it has been established for a relatively long time through the author and podcaster Tim Ferris, Timothy Ferris, who wrote the book “The 4-Hour Week" and the “3-Hour Body", and also had a very good podcast. I think it was also the most clicked, or listened to podcast in the world at least for a while. And we want to deal with this topic and see to what extent microcurrent therapy actually fits into the field of ‘biohacking’? It will definitely be exciting, we will also present some studies on this and see what comes out of it. That’s what you can expect in the next episode, so thank you once again for tuning in and see you next time.