Healing with Frequency Specific Microcurrents
On January 19, 2004, in a football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens fractured his fibula (the long, thin bone of the lower leg running parallel to the tibia), ripped his deltoid ligament from the tibia, sprained his ankle, and “shredded” his interosseous ligament. (The ligament connecting the sacrum and ilium and the strongest ligament in the human body.)
During surgery two days later, screws and a plate were installed to hold his tibia and fibula together and the deltoid muscle was put back in place. Unsurprisingly, his surgeon told him he would not be able to play in the Super Bowl which was only six weeks away. At best Owens would be ready to play the following season. But it was also possible he would never play again.
Owens not only played in Super Bowl XXXXIX, he made nine receptions for an overall gain of 122 yards. Then he went on to play pro ball for another eight years.
How was this possible? Answer: He called Carol McMakin, a chiropractor in Portland, Oregon and told her he wanted to play in the Super Bowl.
Within three hours of his fracture she had him receiving frequency specific microcurrent treatments. Within an hour of surgery he started a 24-hour course of microcurrent stimulation. There was no swelling, no bruising and no pain from his injuries or surgery.
“We run frequencies to stop inflammation to increase rates of healing and to stop bleeding in acute injuries,” says McMakin, founder of New Heights Physical Therapy in Portland, Oregon. “After surgery he had four to five hours of frequency specific microcurrent (FSM) treatments daily. By day three he was running on a pool treadmill. By day six he was bearing weight on his leg and wearing sneakers. By week two he was doing proprioceptive retraining (balancing exercises). At four weeks images showed the fracture and ligaments had healed.”
A clinical researcher, lecturer and author as well as a chiropractor, McMakin got involved with frequency specific microcurrent technology when friend and fellow chiropractor, George Douglas, DC, inherited a two-channel current-producing machine built in 1922 and a 1920s frequency list when he bought an osteopathic practice from Harry Van Gelder in 1983. The machine and the list of frequencies languished in a drawer until Douglas stumbled back upon them years later.
“At that point we had a two-channel analog microcurrent machine,” says McMakin. “He looked at the list and said, ‘You know, Harry's old machine had two channels. I wonder if these frequencies would work on this microcurrent machine?’ I said, ‘I don't know. Let’s try it.’ So we started treating each other and nothing bad happened.”
By 1996 she says she had “got a feel for the frequencies” and started treating patients. By the end of 1996 she was doing “impossible” things with chronic pain patients, alleviating nerve and muscle pain, treating fibromyalgia patients and myofascial pain and chronic fatigue patients that nobody and nothing else could fix. At that point she realized she had to know if the effects were reproducible. So she began teaching other chiropractors and naturopathic doctors the frequencies and how to use them.
Within a year, remarkable treatment results were pouring in from other practitioners.
By the year 2000, McMakin was giving lectures about frequency specific microcurrent treatments. Eventually she found herself at the National Institutes of Health speaking to 30 men in white lab coats with pocket protectors, telling them about her 25 case reports of eliminating fibromyalgia pain caused by spinal trauma.
“I’m telling them that patients walk in with their pain levels at an average of seven and chronicity at an average of 12 years and they walk out 60 minutes later pain free and that it only takes two frequencies to accomplish this— 40 Hz on channel A to reduce inflammation and 10 Hz on channel B to address the spinal cord—and that one treatment lasts any place from two hours to two weeks and that if spinal injury is how they got their fibromyalgia that this procedure works 100 percent of the time,” she says.
Realizing that she needed hard data to substantiate her findings, she said to the NIH group, ‘Look, absolutely nobody is going to believe me unless we get some sort of objective data and you are the only guys in the country who know how to do that. Can somebody help me?”
At the end of her talk, Terry Phillips, Ph.D., chief immunochemist at the NIH, came up to her and said, “If you can get me spots of a patient's blood on pieces of blotter paper taken at different times during a treatment, I can tell you what is changing.” McMakin agreed to take blood samples and he sent her the blotter paper in the mail.
Meanwhile, McMakin found a young woman who had been treated for widespread myofascial pain and neck and arm pain. Eventually undergoing surgery in 1999 for two herniated discs, her pain worsened after surgery, spreading body-wide. “Her pain was a seven to an eight on a ten scale and she had stopped taking narcotics because they did not help the pain,” says McMakin. After the FSM treatment began, in a few minutes her neck muscles started to relax and soften, and the pain started decreasing in her feet and legs. After 30 minutes of treatment the patient opened her eyes and, in a state of induced euphoria McMakin says is common in initial treatments, asked incredulously, “Is this legal?”
When her pain was down to zero, McMakin changed the frequency to a combination of frequencies the 1920s list said would reduce “nervous tension” and “emotional tension and concussion” for 20 minutes. Blood samples were taken at intervals throughout the treatment and the woman went home pain-free for the first time in four years. McMakin mailed Phillips the blood samples and anxiously awaited the results.
She got the columns of data back just before a lecture at an international functional medicine symposium. Substances called Interleukins (ILs) a group of cytokines (small proteins in white blood cells that are indicators of inflammation) were radically affected, changing by factors of 10 to 20 times between the first and last readings. Interleukin one, interleukin six, interleukin eight, TNF alpha, (Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha is an inflammatory cytokine produced during acute inflammation), CGRP (a neuropeptide and a highly potent vasodilator), substance-P (a peptide that acts as a neurotransmitter), and the endorphins cortisol and serotonin, were all dramatically affected.
“Every pain specialist knows that substance-P is produced in the spinal cord and that huge changes in substance-P could only mean that the treatment did indeed affect spinal cord function,” says McMakin. “The dramatic reductions in the inflammatory cytokines had to mean that the treatment reduced inflammation, and the huge increases in endorphins had to be the explanation for the induced euphoria.”
Her consistent treatment successes with specific microcurrent frequencies were no longer based in the subjective changes in pain scores of her patients. Objective data now showed that something very real was happening in the body as a result of the treatments. Armed with her new data, she marched into a packed lecture hall at the symposium. “The room was totally silent as the bar graphs showed inflammation and substance-P plummeting and endorphins rising by factors of 10 to 20 times,” she says. “The physicians in the audience knew that these rates of
change had never been seen before and were not possible to create by any other known method of treatment.”
At the end of her lecture, the audience burst into applause.
An old technology renewed
The cells of the human body (and all other animals) conduct electrical currents, and electricity enables the nervous system to send signals throughout the body and brain. “All chemical reactions are also electrical,” says Dr. Steve Haltiwanger, an independent researcher and former practitioner of Orthomolecular Neurology, Environmental Medicine and a specialist in pathology and Biological Psychiatry in El Paso, Texas. “Cells in the body are basically crystal radio sets … cell membranes possess electrical potential and transport energy. You have proteins which are semiconductors. The body is electronic in nature down to the smallest level—like a series of nested energy fields.”
Resting cells are negatively charged on the inside, and almost all cells allow charged elements, ions of sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, to flow in and out through the cell membrane, thereby generating electrical currents. Any sort of disruption in the body’s electrical currents can lead to problems. For example, electrical currents are what trigger the heart muscle to contract and pump blood. Any disruption of this flow of electrical energy can trigger arrhythmia and other heart problems.
Historically, people have been treated with electricity as early as 2750 BC —although back then the treatments involved receiving shocks from electric eels. In 1812, Dr. John Birch of London healed a fractured tibia that refused to mend by surgically implanting needles in the fracture region and passing electric currents through the needles. By the mid-nineteenth century this became a standard method for treating slow-healing bone fractures. [J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Feb; 19(2): 170–177.]
By 1884 it is estimated that some 10,000 health practitioners in the United States were using some sort of electrical therapy in their practices. However, the Flexner Report, which redefined the parameters of medical education in the US and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 led, eventually, to a complete prohibition of using electricity for healing purposes. For over 50 years the practice was labeled as “quackery,” [Ibid.] until discoveries in the 1980s lead to the use of pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy for bone healing.
Most PEMF systems use low frequencies and long wavelengths – from 1 Hz (one cycle per second) up to 10,000 Hz and tend to top out at about the 2,000-4,000 gauss range, roughly the equivalent of .00000133 amps of current. Since its introduction, PEMF therapy has been found to be effective for treating everything fractures, to neck pain to the depression and anxiety accompanying disk herniations. [Turk J Med Sci. 2019 Aug 8;49(4):1095-1101.]
Another electrical healing approach that has become popular worldwide is TENS therapy (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation), which uses low-voltage electrical current (usually no higher than 700 mA) from electrodes placed near an injury site to give temporary pain relief.
Frequency specific microcurrents also utilize exceedingly mild electrical current (around one millionth of an ampere, far less than a TENS unit). The thing that differentiates FSM is the use of two different channels and two different frequency strengths simultaneously addressing the condition (such as inflammation) on Channel A, and the specific tissue involved (such as the spinal cord) on channel B. Unlike a TENS unit, FMS changes the state of the tissue itself.
Scientists are not exactly sure how FSM changes tissue structures and creates healing. FSM does increase the production of ATP in injured tissues. (Adenosine triphosphate, also known as ATP, is a molecule that carries energy within cells and is the major source of energy for all cellular reactions in the body.) Because treatment with FSM can increase ATP production by as much as 500 percent in damaged tissues, this may help with the recovery process. Getting deeper into cellular mechanisms, McMakin says the latest model is “probably correct” because it's the one that fits all of the data.
“The model we have now has to do with the way the frequencies change cell signaling,” she says. “Your cells all have receptors on the outside of the cell that are like little antenna and they’re embedded in the cell membrane. Those cell receptors respond to the external environment and when they encounter certain external factors they are connected to the inside of the cell and they change the kinases (the little factors inside the cell that change the transcription factors that then change the DNA) and that changes the messenger RNA and micro RNA that affect what the cell produces, like proteins or hormones or whatever.”
The effect on the cells is immediate, which is why, as McMakin puts it, FSM is “so freaking fast.”
“When you give somebody a drug to reduce TNF alpha, it takes one to three months to work because the drug works as an anti-body that attacks and destroys TNF alpha as a chemical. In comparison, the frequencies just reduce it. They take it from 10 times normal, 20 times normal down to the normal range and then it stops. The frequencies never take it below the normal range. So the model we have at this point says that the frequencies affect the outside cell membrane receptors like your key fob opens your car door and it changes the receptor and that changes what the cell does.”
A wide range of applications
So far studies show that FSM softens muscle tissue that is hard, tough, and scarred as well as connective tissue and fascia within minutes. [J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Feb; 19(2): 170–177] It reduces or relieves myofascial pain in the head neck and face, [https://www.researchgate.net/publication/290798011_Microcurrent_treatment_of_myofascial_pain_in_the_head_neck_and_face/citation/download] and assists in burn healing. [https://frequencyspecific.com/the-use-of-micro-current-and-autocatalytic-silver-plated-nylon-dressings-in-human-burn-patients-a-feasibility-study/]
It alleviates symptoms of fibromyalgia associated with spinal trauma. [Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies (2005) 9, 169–176;] It delays the onset of muscle soreness. [J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2010 Jul;14(3):272-9.] Microcurrent therapy promotes rapid pain control and acceleration of healing. [Journal of Advancement in Medicine Volume 8, Number 2, Summer 1995] It even produces significant vision improvement in dry age-related macular degeneration. [Clin Ophthalmol. 2015; 9: 2345–2353.]
“With neurological trauma it sometimes produces miraculous results,” says Dr. Shirley Hartman, a family and holistic medicine practitioner in Jacksonville, Florida. “I had a patient who was so spastic walking into my office that it took her about five minutes to walk down the hallway. I did acupuncture and I ran microcurrent. Before the treatment she had abnormal cerebellar signs. She couldn't do a finger to nose or heel to shin movement with any fluidity and when she was done she could do them. And she was able to walk normally. It was nothing short of astounding.”
Hartman also uses FSM for shock trauma and for healing old scar tissue. She also uses it to heal neurological pain caused by calcium and iron deposits left over from trauma bleeding and bruising. The iron in the blood from the dried bruise remains in the tissues long after the trauma is healed. “Trauma is sometimes like pouring a bunch of iron filings into nerve tissue,” she says.
She recalls a patient who had been bludgeoned who sustained a hematoma in his cerebrum and who was having seizures. “I ran microcurrent for old iron in the cerebrum and he stopped having seizures.”
MaryAnne Tack, DC of Newberg, Oregon says she uses FSM to treat people with headaches, fibromyalgia, disk problems, nerve problems, muscle spasms and cramps, shingles, and old injuries that are not healing properly. She also uses microcurrents to treat accompanying emotional issues.
“When you're dealing with organs and when you're dealing with tissues, you're not just dealing with the physical,” she says. “You're dealing with the emotional as well. If you go back to acupuncture and other cultures, all our organs are understood to have an emotional component to them. Like when somebody has kidney stones— the kidneys have to do with fear. If you’re dealing with the lungs you’re dealing with grief and loss, things like that. So I incorporate the frequency codes that not only treat the conditions but treat the accompanying emotions. It's incorporating the whole body-mind to treat the patient.”
McMakin says that treating a patient with microcurrent is actually the easy part of her work. Knowing what she needs to treat is the trick. She says she really can’t go by a medical diagnosis that a patient walks in with, because diagnoses are often incorrect. As an example she talks about a 70 year-old woman in London who walked into a class she was teaching saying she had chronic fatigue syndrome, specifically a diagnosis of myalgic encephalomyelitis that had been given when she was 40 years old following the delivery of her seventh child.
“She experienced right arm pain such that she could not lift the child,” says McMakin. “She also experienced horrible body pain and weakness in her arms—a painful condition that continued, unrelenting, for 30 years. I asked her, ‘Do you get sore throats?’ She said, ‘No.’ I asked, ‘Do you ever have fevers or swollen glands?’ And she said, ‘No.’ So I said, ‘Then why did they diagnose you with myalgic encephalomyelitis?’ And she said, ‘I don't know.’”
McMakin told her she had fibromyalgia, not ME, and treated her accordingly. An hour later the woman was pain free.
“We did one more treatment on her and that was it,” says McMakin. “It wasn't hard. But the diagnosis was wrong. Nobody ever treated her correctly because ME is incurable. Which means nobody ever stopped to consider other possibilities. And that’s the wonderful thing about FSM. Once you have a tool that lets you do this stuff, then you have a tool that is worthwhile and a whole world of possibilities opens up.”