What is Frequency Specific Microcurrent Therapy?


FSM was developed by Dr. Carolyn McMakin in 1995 using frequencies passed on from an osteopath in Canada who had a practice that came with a machine made in the 1920’s. Dr. McMakin developed protocols for the treatment of myofascial pain in 1996 and presented her clinical data at the American Back Society national meeting in December 1997. In 1998, she published the paper on the “Treatment of chronic resistant myofascial pain in the head, neck, and face” in Topics in Clinical Chiropractic. In addition to other published FSM papers.


Dr. Carolyn McMakin
Dr. McMakin's textbook "Frequency Specific Microcurrent in Pain Management" was recently published by Elsevier. Dr. McMakin began teaching FSM in 1997 to see if the effects of FSM were reproducible. By June 1997 it was clear that the effects were reproducible and the seminars have evolved into a four-day intensive class in the use of frequency protocols, the differential diagnosis of pain generators and neurologic conditions.


The frequencies were developed in the early 1900’s and were used with funky looking electronic equipment that fell out of use in the 1940’s. Microcurrent was introduced as a battery operated physical therapy modality in the 1980’s in Europe and the USA. Microcurrent devices deliver frequencies and current in millionths of an amp and have been shown in published studies to increase energy (ATP) production in cells by 500%.
Since 1997, hundreds of practitioners around the world have taken the FSM seminar and use this amazing new technique to help patients recover from myofascial pain, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, concussion and many other health concerns. The FSM seminar teaches frequency protocols, differential diagnosis of pain complaints and hands-on use of the microcurrent equipment. Our students evaluate the seminars consistently with 5/5 value approval ratings.

Carolyn McMakin, MA, DC is the leading authority and developer of Frequency Specific Microcurrent (FSM). She maintains a part-time clinical practice, participates in research and teaches seminars on the use of FSM in the United States, Australia, Ireland and Europe. She has lectured at the National Institutes of Health and at numerous conferences in the US, England, Canada and Australia on the subjects of fibromyalgia and chronic pain syndromes.

Carolyn McMakin, MA, DC

The FSM Core Seminar covers basic microcurrent information and the use of specific frequencies and protocols thought to address specific tissues and conditions based on the principles of bio-resonance.

The first part of the course focuses on the frequencies and protocols used to treat chronic myofascial pain, new injuries, and injuries less than six weeks old, discogenic pain, post-concussive syndrome and neuropathic pain. The second part of the course focuses on the frequencies needed to treat visceral conditions and functional medicine applications.

The course is geared toward medical, chiropractic, osteopathic and naturopathic physicians, acupuncturists and physical therapists and the assistants who function in all of these clinical settings.

Frequency Specific Microcurrent (FSM) has been taught in seminars since 1997. FSM is now taught as a four-day course available for 32 hours of continuing education credit for many disciplines in most states and it is available as a video course. Practitioners are advised to check with their board if continuing education course credit is important to them.

The course has been taught to chiropractic, naturopathic, osteopathic and medical physicians, physical therapists, acupuncturists, occupational therapists and massage therapists and the assistants who function in their practices.

The course includes lecture time and 6 hours of hands-on practice time. The lecture includes the frequencies, frequency protocols, research data and conceptual framework within which the observed and documented FSM effects can be used and explained.

The conceptual framework comes from physics, biophysics, and thermodynamics but is structured in lay terms. The frequencies and treatment protocols for myofascial pain, disc, facet, and nerve pain are taught on the first day. The protocols and frequencies for treating new injuries, the nervous system and visceral conditions and emotional issues are taught on the second and third days.

FSM effects are very specific to the condition and require an accurate clinical diagnosis to be optimally effective. The course includes refreshers for the accurate diagnosis of discogenic and facet generated pain, neuropathic pain and ligamentous laxity, myofascial trigger points caused by overuse, joint dysfunction and visceral referral.

The 6 hours of practical sessions include how to use the protocols to treat pain complaints in various body parts. The treatment method and application is different than any other way of treating muscular pain for example because the contacts are placed in such a way as to allow frequencies and current to flow through the tissue being treated and pressure is used only to move the tissue while the frequency is breaking up the scar tissue.

There are at least 8 FSM Core seminars taught each year in every region of the US and abroad by Dr. McMakin. The FSM Core seminar is also available as a video course with practical hands-on instruction provided by a certified FSM practicum instructor.

For those in Ireland and the U.K. Denise Curtis MSc, PT teaches an FSM Core seminar at the national training Centre ( ntc.ie ) in Dublin, Ireland that is held over two weekends.

During the practicum portions of the FSM Core seminar, there is generally at least one instructor for every 8-10 students. The Core seminar is available on video and practitioners can learn how to use FSM by reading the frequency Specific Microcurrent in Pain Management textbook. FSM Core video learners can make arrangements with a trained FSM practicum instructor to be trained in the manual techniques and protocols for FSM in physical medicine in a private or small setting tutorial.

Once a year, there is a two day 16 hour FSM Advanced course that provides the complete list of frequencies and protocols not taught in the Core seminar. In the afternoon there are 90-minute advanced in-depth workshops presented by various expert practitioner faculty.

Every other year on this same weekend, there is a two-day International Symposium with guest lecturers and presentations by practitioners sharing case reports and research findings and workshops for both diagnosis and treatment.

There are a two-day instructor training and certification for people wishing to be considered as instructors for the practical sessions.


Core Syllabus for Frequency Specific Microcurrent

Course topics, goals and objectives:

The course covers basic microcurrent information and the use of specific frequencies and protocols thought to address specific tissues and conditions based on the principles of biologic resonance. The first part of the course focuses on the frequencies and protocols used to treat chronic myofascial pain, new injuries and injuries less than six weeks old, discogenic pain, post-concussive syndrome, and neuropathic pain. The third day of the course focuses on the frequencies needed to treat visceral conditions and functional medicine applications.

At the end of the class:

  1. Students will independently operate a two-channel 3 digit specific microcurrent device. They are observed to be able to turn the unit on, modify the frequencies, amperage, wave slope, and polarity functions.
  2. Students will independently position and place the contacts on the patient and choose appropriate protocols for cervical, thoracic, and lumbar radiculopathies and diabetic neuropathies.
  3. Students will demonstrate at least two protocol selections for low back pain caused by facet joint inflammation.
  4. Students will explain at least three key contraindications, precautions to treatment, or known side effects of using frequency specific microcurrent.
  5. Given one sample patient, students will distinguish between pain caused by spinal facet joints, discs, and lax ligaments.
  6. Students will independently choose at least two appropriate protocols for each of the following conditions: cervical, thoracic, and lumbar radiculopathies and diabetic neuropathies.

The goal of Frequency Specific Seminars is to educate all of our students so that they will be able to accomplish these objectives independently within the scope of their own practice.

  1. Introductions/Introductory Information - 2 Hours

   Proposed mechanisms of action for FSM

   Basic science behind resonance effects

   Creating a stable state for lasting effects

  1. Basics of FSM – 1.50 Hours

   How to set up the device, effects of the current

   Frequency conventions for FSM

   Basic treatment strategies for myofascial trigger points

   Published papers and data supporting use in myofascial trigger points

   Pregnancy precaution

   Frequencies and data supporting use to remove or soften scar tissue and adhesions

   Frequency sequence strategy for treating myofascial pain and trigger points

  1. Setting up the device - .50 Hour

   Demonstration of the use of the manual device

   Current and frequency applied to the group

   Going over the differences in an individual's ability to detect differences between frequency effects

   Demonstrating the effects of 6 different two-channel frequency combinations

  1. Frequencies and protocol sequences for myofascial pain – 2 Hours

   How to tell if a frequency is correct or if it is working

   Protocol for treating muscle and fascia in myofascial pain

   Includes contact placement and current flow directions

  1. Hands-on Practicum – 3 Hours

   Treating myofascial pain in the neck and shoulder with the patient prone

   The role of the subscapularis in shoulder pain and impingement

   Treating adhesions

  1. Diagnosis and treatment protocols for disc generated pain – 1.5 Hours

   Protocols for acute, subacute, and chronic disc disease

   Exercise protocols for disc pain patients

  1. Differential diagnosis of acute and chronic facet joint generated pain – 1.5 Hours

   Protocols for acute and chronic spinal facet joints as perpetuating factors in myofascial pain

  1. Differential diagnosis of ligamentous laxity, how to recognize it, and when and how to treat it – 1.5 Hours

   Recognize and treat alar ligament instability and dural adhesions at CO-C1 – 2

   Protocol for ligamentous laxity as a perpetuating factor in myofascial pain

  1. Recognizing and treating visceral perpetuating factors in myofascial pain and trigger points - 1 Hour
  2. Treating extremity joints – 1 Hour

   Treating the shoulder and the knee

   Treating arthritis in any joint

   Treating myofascial pain in TMJ

  1. Introduction to the available microcurrent equipment useful for FSM practitioners - 1 Hour

   Practical considerations in choosing equipment for any particular practice

  1. Supine cervical Practicum – 1 Hour

   Treating the neck and shoulders with the patient in the supine position

   Review of the facet, disc and ligament laxity contributions to cervical spine myofascial pain and dysfunction

  1. Treating Injuries and trauma in week 1 to week 6 - post-injury including post-operative pain and fractures - 1 Hour

   Frequency protocols, precautions and treatment considerations in sub-acute injuries

   Protocols for subacute trauma from week 2 to week 6

   Differential diagnosis of shingles when it presents so that it appears to be a new injury

   Treatment protocol for shingles

  1. Management and treatment protocols for acute injuries – 1.5 Hours

   Protocols for acute trauma in the first week after injury

   Protocols for athletic injuries

   Differential diagnosis and treatment of shingles when it presents as if it is a new injury

   Protocol and published paper on prevention of delayed onset muscle soreness

   Protocol for post-operative care as a new injury

   Protocol to enhance healing in acute fracture

   Protocol for healed fractures that remain painful

   Protocol for plantar fasciitis

  1. Supine Lumbar Practicum – 1 Hour

   Treating the lumbar spine with the patient in the supine position

   Reinforcement of visceral contributions to myofascial pain in the lumbar spine

   Review of the mechanics and considerations in facet and disc contributions to lumbar spine dysfunction

  1. Introduction to treating the nervous system with FSM – 1.5 Hours

   Basic organization of the central nervous system

   Frequencies for the nervous system

   Concepts in treating concussion, TBI and MBTI

   Frequencies associated with pathologies for CNS and ANS dysfunction

   Review of functions of different brain areas

   Treatment protocol for post-concussive syndrome

   Treatment protocols for sub-acute and chronic neurodegenerative conditions

   Data documenting effects of FSM in a post-stroke patient with aphasia

   Treatment protocol for migraine

  1. Introduction to diagnosis and mechanisms of vestibular injuries – 1 Hour

   Possible side effects in concussed patients who also have vestibular injuries

   Diagnosis and pathophysiology of vestibular injuries

   Management of vestibular injuries

  1. Nervous system protocols – diagnosis and pathophysiology – 1.5 Hours

   Treating “brain fog” in a clinical setting

   Treatment protocol for sleep disturbance

   Diagnosis and treatment of PTSD

   Data demonstrating effects of FSM in PTSD

   Treatment protocol for PTSD

   How to test and track improvement in PTSD symptoms

  1. Differential diagnosis and pathophysiology of Fibromyalgia and its different causes – 1 Hour

   Treatment protocol for fibromyalgia associated with spine trauma -Protocol and technique for treating dural adhesions

  1. Protocols for treating neuropathic pain including cervical, thoracic and lumbar radiculopathies – 1.5 Hours

   Protocols for treating neuropathic pain including cervical, thoracic and lumbar radiculopathies

   Review of published paper on neuropathic pain

   Brachial plexus traction injuries

   Resolving neural adhesions

   Protocol for reversing neuropathic atrophy

   Treatment protocol for post–herpetic neuralgia

   Treatment protocol for compression neuropathies, carpal tunnel, thoracic outlet and Morton’s neuroma

   Treatment protocol for diabetic neuropathies

   Optional review of RSD / CRPS mechanism and treatment

  1. Practice setting up treatment applications – 1 Hour

   Practice setting up treatment applications for different neuropathic pain treatments

   Dry lab no treatments

   Optional brief extremity treatment practicum

  1. Visceral Applications and FSM treatment protocols – 1.5 Hours

   Visceral Applications and FSM treatment protocols/Immune system

   Gastrointestinal system (Crohn’s, IBS, ulcerative colitis, constipation)

   Liver treatment protocols and data on reducing liver enzymes

   Gallbladder

   Gout

   Pancreas

   Insulin resistance

   Treating the skin

   Enhancing wound healing, treating oral and genital herpes

   Treating skin scar tissue and acne

   Skin anti-aging protocols

   Treating eczema and psoriasis

  1. Practicum -1 Hour

   Practitioners work together in small groups and choose who and what to treat within their own group based on the chosen

person’s symptoms.

  1. Diagnosis and treatment protocols for visceral tissues and systems – 1 Hour

   Treating the endocrine system (adrenals, thyroid, goiter)

   Protocols for breast health

   Treating the Lymphatics and lymphedema

   Protocols for the reproductive system (vaginal scarring, vulvadynia, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids)

   Protocols for the respiratory system (Asthma, bronchitis, COPD, sinus, common cold)

   Treating the cardiovascular system – precautions and protocols

   FSM protocols for emotional conditions and emotional conditions associated with pain complaints

   Wrapping up – dates for advanced course, certification process

*These protocols and statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Resonance Therapy is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or condition and is to be used as an adjunct therapy.


In 1982 Ngok Cheng published, “The Effect of Electric Currents on ATP Generation, Protein Synthesis and Membrane Transport in Rat Skin in Clinical Orthopedics” (volume 171: pages 264-272). This study showed that microcurrent increased ATP production in rat skin by 500%. ATP is the chemical that the body uses for energy. The current also increased amino acid transport into the cell by 70% and waste product removal. The implications for human healing and repair are obvious. ATP production was increased as long as the current was below 500 microamps. When the authors increased the current to 1000 micro amps, or one milliamp, a current range delivered by TENS devices and other types of electrical stimulation therapies, the ATP production was actually reduced.

Category: FSM FAQs
The Precision Microcurrent machine has a 510K certificate from the FDA meaning that it is approved for sale. All class II microcurrent devices will have a 510k certificate allowing them to be marketed to physicians. The FDA does not approve devices for sale the way it approves drugs for sale. The 510K just means that it can be used in a medical setting and is substantially equivalent to other devices that have been marketed before it. FDA has approved all microcurrent devices for sale in the category of TENS devices. TENS devices are for pain control only and deliver milli-amperage current. ALL TENS devices carry the same warnings precautions and contraindications. Microcurrent devices deliver micro amperage current not milli- amperage current but the warnings for the device are same because all microcurrent devices are approved in the category of TENS devices.

The FDA regulates claims that can be made about therapies, drugs and devices. The claims made for the device can only be those claims that could be made for any device approved in that class of devices and what has been published in a peer reviewed journal regarding its use. Precision Microcurrent and Precision Distributing cannot and do not make any claims about the uses of the Precision Microcurrent device or any microcurrent device or microamperage current beyond what is allowed by the FDA for the class of TENS devices and what has been published in articles in peer reviewed journals. All TENS devices are approved for pain management. .
Category: FSM FAQs
Frequencies are pulses per second measured in hertz. They can be sound waves or electronic pulses. The frequencies used in FSM are electromagnetic pulses used on two channels firing at the same time. The frequencies are delivered using a ramped square wave that includes high frequency harmonics to create the square wave. The makes the frequencies more accurately pulses rather than the pure frequencies achieved with a sine wave generator. Most microcurrent devices use square wave pulses because they have been observed to be more effective clinically.

The frequency thought to address or neutralize the condition is put on channel A. The frequency thought to address the tissue is put on channel B. The frequencies used in FSM are all less than 1000 Hz. There are frequencies from the list alleged to address over 200 conditions from very common conditions like “inflammation”, “scar tissue”, “mineral deposits” and “toxicity” to very unusual and hard to document conditions like “polio virus”, “trauma” and congestion. There can be no claims made for the effects of the frequencies until research has documented their effects. All that can be said is that use of this or that frequency had this observed effect in this patient with a certain condition.

There are a few frequencies that are used as A/B pairs. A is not a condition, B is not a tissue but the combination of the two frequencies appears to have a therapeutic effect. There is one such frequency combination that takes away shingles pain. When this combination is used before the blisters break out for an hour a day for three days the pain is gone in 20 minutes and the blisters never break out. When this combination is used for two hours on active shingles, after the blisters appear, it eliminates the pain and shortens the course from the normal 6 weeks to four to five days. The pain never returns. Shingles is the only thing this frequency combination is good for and, so far, there has not been a patient who did not respond in an expected way.
Dr. McMakin didn’t develop the frequencies. The frequencies were developed between 1910 and 1934 by medical and osteopathic physicians using an entirely different machine and system of treatment. The frequencies are used clinically; the effects are documented in chart notes and serve as a basis for the development of protocols that appear to be effective for different clinical conditions. The protocols are taught during FSM seminars and then it is determined if the effects are reproducible based on feedback from practitioners. There are four peer-reviewed published papers documenting the effects in the treatment of myofascial pain from trigger points, neuropathic pain from fibromyalgia associated with spine trauma and delayed onset muscle soreness.

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Category: FSM FAQs

There can be no claims made for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition using frequencies. Science is a method of study not a body of information or a viewpoint. In any scientific endeavor an objective trained observer can make observations of effects. All science starts with observation of a phenomenon and then asks whether the phenomena can be measured and whether it is reproducible and predictable. The scientific method finally sets out to measure and observe the phenomena in a controlled fashion eliminating every other possibility for the observed effect besides the hypothesized mechanism being studied. FSM is in the early stages of this process. The phenomena are physical changes in biological tissue observed to occur only in response to certain specific frequency combinations applied with a microcurrent device delivering square wave pulses on two channels simultaneously. There are certain frequencies that produce effects that can be objectively measured, that are reproducible by any trained practitioner treating the same condition in a hydrated patient and that are predictable. Controlled trials are planned to finally confirm the frequency specific response.

Category: FSM FAQs
Frequency Specific Microcurrent is a new system of treatment using microamperage current and the resonance effects of frequencies on tissues and conditions to create beneficial changes in symptoms and health. Frequency Specific Microcurrent (FSM) seminars teach frequency protocols and discuss the observed effects of frequencies and biological resonance on physical tissue based on clinical observations and research. FSM seminars are NOT about the use of microcurrent or microcurrent devices.
These are answers to some of the most common questions.
Category: FSM FAQs
The frequencies appear to change a variety of conditions and tissues and change pain and function in a large number of clinical conditions. FSM is especially effective at treating nerve and muscle pain, inflammation and scar tissue. There is a kind of fibromyalgia associated with spine trauma that is particularly painful and difficult to treat even with narcotics. There is one frequency combination, and only one frequency combination, that has been observed to eliminate pain in patients with this condition. Shingles responds very well to only one frequency combination that eliminates the pain in 20 minutes and causes the lesions to dry up and disappear in approximately two to three days. There is one frequency combination that so far has been 100% effective in eliminating kidney stone pain. This frequency combination does nothing to remove the stone; it only eliminates the pain. The frequencies have created observed effects in asthma, liver dysfunction (reducing elevated liver enzymes), irritable bowel and many other conditions. It has been observed that patients who are treated within four hours of a new injury including auto accidents and surgeries have much reduced pain and a greatly accelerated healing process.

Frequency Specific Seminars makes no claims about the use of frequencies in the diagnosis and treatment of any condition. The frequencies appear to have beneficial affects when used in a clinical setting as an adjunct to appropriate medical diagnosis and treatment. More research is needed to document specific effects.

There are no guarantees that any protocol is going to be effective in any given patient on any given condition. In general, the frequencies either work or don’t work and if they don’t work they simply have no effect. In the seminars, physicians are advised to use good judgment and use FSM as an adjunct to appropriate medical diagnosis and treatment. As long as appropriate proven therapies are not delayed or withheld, FSM can be very helpful. Every practitioner is trained in the concept that FSM is to be used as an adjunct to therapeutics appropriate to their discipline for the patient after proper diagnosis. The FSM motto is “Can’t hurt; might help.”

It is NOT recommended that the frequencies be used to treat cancer. The condition is too serious and too complicated to be addressed with this technique. Dr. Arlene Lennox of Fermi Labs in Chicago published a paper showing that patients treated for scar tissue following neutron therapy for cancer that still had active tumor during the microcurrent treatment with Acuscope device had no increase in tumor growth and actually tolerated radiation therapy with fewer side effects.
Category: FSM FAQs

The machines, approved as TENS devices, can only provide symptomatic relief of pain. The current can increase ATP production as shown in the peer reviewed article published by Ngok Cheng in 1982.

Category: FSM FAQs
Frequency protocols are sequences of frequencies observed to have a certain clinical effect in various conditions as determined in Dr. McMakin’s practice and by input from other FSM practitioners. The sequences of frequencies are taught in the FSM seminars and the students are provided with a summary sheet of frequencies and the most common protocols for conditions found to be successfully treated. The most commonly effective and useful protocols have been pre-programmed into an automated microcurrent unit that sequences through frequencies automatically for unattended in office care. There are no claims made for the effectiveness of the frequency protocols. They are to be used so that the effects can be observed in clinical practice.

For example the question, “Does this frequency combination reduce inflammation in the liver?” the only truly honest answer is, “That has not been determined with certainty.” It can only be said that when these particular frequency combinations are applied to the right upper quadrant of the abdomen for a period of 30 to 60 minutes the liver becomes non-tender instead of tender and seriously elevated liver enzymes have been reduced into the normal range within hours instead of days or weeks. This phenomenon has been observed in multiple patients, treated by different physicians in different areas. It is now thought to be reproducible as demonstrated by objective measurement of liver enzymes. More study is required before any definite statement can be made.
Category: FSM FAQs

Micro current is current in millionths of an ampere. An ampere is a measure of the movement of electrons past a point. Microamperage current is the same kind of current your body produces on its own within each cell. This is current in millionths of an amp. It is very small; there is not enough current to stimulate sensory nerves so the current flow cannot be felt. You can tell it is running by watching the conductance meter on the machine.

Category: FSM FAQs

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