Dr. Alex Jimenez, El Paso's Chiropractor
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The Ultimate Guide to Electroacupuncture Therapy for Pain Relief

Acupuncture involves the use of thin needles to stimulate specific points in the body to alleviate pain and various symptoms. The electroacupuncture procedure involves inserting needles at specific points; then, small electrodes are attached to the needles and plugged into an electro-therapy machine that generates a mild electrical current that stimulates the chi/qi/energy running through these points. This increases blood circulation, which clears blockages and can help relieve musculoskeletal pain symptoms.


The Ultimate Guide to Electroacupuncture Therapy for Pain Relief


Electroacupuncture can treat various conditions, including: (Tae Soo Hahm 2009)

  • Stress
  • Chronic pain (Ruixin Zhang et al., 2014)
  • Muscle spasms
  • Arthritis
  • Sports injuries
  • Obesity
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Digestive problems like constipation or diarrhea
  • Neurological conditions

Electroacupuncture increases the intensity of the signals sent through the body via the needles and helps increase the communication volume. An advantage of electro-acupuncture is its ability to simulate a larger area. Individuals report the mild electric current in the needles creates a buzzing or pulsating sensation that is not uncomfortable or painful but is a different sensation.

How It Works

Electroacupuncture helps to block pain signals by activating bioactive chemicals in the body. This process can decrease sensitivity to the pain being experienced, as it has been shown to help reduce inflammation. (Luis Ulloa 2021) When receiving electroacupuncture, the treatment activates sympathetic nerve fibers. Activation of these fibers releases endogenous opioids, like endorphins, which help to reduce inflammation and persistent and chronic pain. (Tae Soo Hahm 2009) (Yuan Li et al., 2019) Electroacupuncture studies have found that it may help the body release mesenchymal stem cells/MSCs into the bloodstream. MSCs are adult stem cells mostly found in bone marrow that help the body create different types of tissues and contain healing properties. (Tatiana E. Salazar et al., 2017)

During a Session

The procedure is not done on a patient’s head or throat or directly over the heart. An example of an electroacupuncture session:

  • The acupuncturist will evaluate the symptoms and select treatment points.
  • The acupuncturist will insert a needle at the treatment point and another in the surrounding region.
  • Once the needles are at the correct depth, the acupuncturist will connect the electrodes to the needles and then to an electroacupuncture device.
  • The acupuncturist will turn on the machine.
  • Electroacupuncture devices have adjustable current and voltage settings.
  • Low settings will be used at the beginning, and then the acupuncturist may adjust the frequency and voltage as the treatment progresses.
  • The electric current pulsates, alternating between the needles.
  • A standard session can be as long as a regular acupuncture session, depending on the severity of the injury and/or condition.
  • 30-40 minutes is the normal standard of care.
  • There can be minor bruising or bleeding.


  • The electrode takes over for the acupuncturist’s hand maneuvering of the needle to activate the point/s.
  • A unique advantage of electroacupuncture is its ability to simulate a larger area.
  • It is soothing to the individual, providing a gentle warming vibration and a more fluid treatment.
  • It is a convenient stimulation technique that can be used for a variety of injuries and conditions, neurological disorders, and chronic pain. (Qingxiang Zhang et al., 2023)
  • It is considered safe as long as a professionally licensed provider performs it.


  • Electroacupuncture has garnered positive results regarding the treatment of neurological diseases, chronic pain, spasms, and paralysis. (Jun J. Mao et al., 2021)
  • When combined with acupressure or massage stimulation, electroacupuncture has been proven to increase energy and blood circulation, relieve pain, and warm the muscles, removing blood stasis blockage/poor circulation. (G A. Ulett, S. Han, J S. Han 1998)

Individuals Not Recommended To Use Electroacupuncture

Electroacupuncture is not recommended for individuals:

  • Who are pregnant.
  • With a history of heart disease.
  • That have experienced a stroke.
  • With a pacemaker.
  • With epilepsy.
  • Who experience seizures.

Talking to your doctor before trying a new treatment is recommended, especially if underlying health issues exist.

The Power of Chiropractic Care in Injury Rehabilitation


Hahm T. S. (2009). Electroacupuncture. Korean journal of anesthesiology, 57(1), 3–7. doi.org/10.4097/kjae.2009.57.1.3

Zhang, R., Lao, L., Ren, K., & Berman, B. M. (2014). Mechanisms of acupuncture-electroacupuncture on persistent pain. Anesthesiology, 120(2), 482–503. doi.org/10.1097/ALN.0000000000000101

Ulloa L. (2021). Electroacupuncture activates neurons to switch off inflammation. Nature, 598(7882), 573–574. doi.org/10.1038/d41586-021-02714-0

Li, Y., Yang, M., Wu, F., Cheng, K., Chen, H., Shen, X., & Lao, L. (2019). Mechanism of electroacupuncture on inflammatory pain: neural-immune-endocrine interactions. Journal of traditional Chinese medicine = Chung i tsa chih ying wen pan, 39(5), 740–749.

Salazar, T. E., Richardson, M. R., Beli, E., Ripsch, M. S., George, J., Kim, Y., Duan, Y., Moldovan, L., Yan, Y., Bhatwadekar, A., Jadhav, V., Smith, J. A., McGorray, S., Bertone, A. L., Traktuev, D. O., March, K. L., Colon-Perez, L. M., Avin, K. G., Sims, E., Mund, J. A., … Grant, M. B. (2017). Electroacupuncture Promotes Central Nervous System-Dependent Release of Mesenchymal Stem Cells. Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio), 35(5), 1303–1315. doi.org/10.1002/stem.2613

Zhang, Q., Zhou, M., Huo, M., Si, Y., Zhang, Y., Fang, Y., & Zhang, D. (2023). Mechanisms of acupuncture-electroacupuncture on inflammatory pain. Molecular pain, 19, 17448069231202882. doi.org/10.1177/17448069231202882

Mao, J. J., Liou, K. T., Baser, R. E., Bao, T., Panageas, K. S., Romero, S. A. D., Li, Q. S., Gallagher, R. M., & Kantoff, P. W. (2021). Effectiveness of Electroacupuncture or Auricular Acupuncture vs Usual Care for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain Among Cancer Survivors: The PEACE Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA oncology, 7(5), 720–727. doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2021.0310

Ulett, G. A., Han, S., & Han, J. S. (1998). Electroacupuncture: mechanisms and clinical application. Biological psychiatry, 44(2), 129–138. doi.org/10.1016/s0006-3223(97)00394-6

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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "The Ultimate Guide to Electroacupuncture Therapy for Pain Relief" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, acupuncture, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

Licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN*) in Florida
Florida License RN License # RN9617241 (Control No. 3558029)
Compact Status: Multi-State License: Authorized to Practice in 40 States*

Presently Matriculated: ICHS: MSN* FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner Program)

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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