At SuperiorMagnetics.com we make our Piezo-Stimulator. The piezoelectric stimulatior has been used for the stimulation of acupuncture points in the medical profession. The Piezo-Stimulator uses electricity to re-establish our electrical flow. Our Piezo Stimulator will emit a minimum of 30,000 discharges with an output voltage of 16kv. It uses no batteries or AC current.
We use a Chinese acupuncture technique called circle the dragon. Simple press the red button while making firm contact with the copper coupling beneath the black washer releasing electrical stimulation 10-20 times on and around the desired area. In Asian medicine it is blocked electrical flow or Chi that causes blood stagnation and resulting inflammation. Our body is a bio-electric system. Electricity is produced throughout the body from organs such as the heart, the brain and each individual cell. The body also generates voltaic current by muscular contraction and neural stimulation Stress, injury and age cause tissue to become depleted of electrons and negative ions. The Piezo-stimulator restores this balance. Acupuncture treatment is based on stimulating specific areas of the body with needles to generate electric current for relieving pain.
Richard C. Niemtzow, MD*
Ruben T. Ong, MD+
Peter A. S. Johnstone, MD*
Background Piezoelectric stimulation is a useful clinical technique to treat acupuncture points.
Objective To demonstrate the usefulness of piezoelectric stimulation on acupuncture points for simple and safe clinical use.
Patients Three cases of treating pain are depicted.
Intervention Two-hand approach technique.
Main Outcome Measures Variable duration of pain and nausea-free periods.
Results Rapid reduction of pain and other symptoms with variable relapse periods.
Conclusion Piezoelectric stimulation is a useful clinical modality that can be integrated into the clinical medical acupuncture practice.
Piezoelectric Stimulation, Quartz, Pain, Cancer, Nausea and Vomiting, Hoarseness, Headaches, Musculoskeletal Pain
Piezoelectric stimulation of acupuncture points has immediate medical applications in the clinic. It offers rapid relief of acute pain, migraine headaches, musculoskeletal pain, nausea and vomiting, and hoarseness due to viral laryngitis. It should not be considered a substitute for comprehensive acupuncture treatment; nevertheless, the clinician will appreciate its clinical usefulness if applied properly. This article discusses the appropriate technique to employ such devices.
There are many piezoelectric devices readily available to the clinician. The authors have not found any particular manufacturer superior. These devices do not require an electrical source.
The word piezo is derived from the Greek word for "pressure." In 1880, Jacques and Pierre Curie discovered that pressure applied to a quartz crystal creates an electrical charge in the crystal; they called this phenomenon the piezo effect. Mechanical squeezing of certain crystals can produce electrical energy, arising directly from the crystal structure. Piezoelectricity depends on the absence of a certain kind of symmetry: inversion symmetry. The inverse of a figure is its inverse mirror image. If the figure and its inversion look the same, as with a cube, then the figure has inversion symmetry. If they do not look the same, as with a tetrahedron, then the figure does not have inversion symmetry. Crystals that lack inversion symmetry usually can be mechanically squeezed so that the positive and negative charges of the atoms do not shift equally, generating an electrical potential.1
In the typical piezoelectric device used with acupuncture points, the case contains a spring plunger that mechanically impacts and deforms the quartz crystal. The metal housing of the crystal is conductive and may be considered positive with respect to the negative output of the crystal. The negative voltage output of the crystal is carried to the insulated tip of the device by means of a wire. Interesting to note is that the case of the piezoelectric stimulator is grounded to the metal housing of the crystal that the operator grasps. The output of a typical piezoelectric stimulator is in the range of about 6000 V.2 The current is extremely low as not to be dangerous. However, the authors caution that stimulation over and near the heart, carotid arteries, and head should be scrupulously avoided. The output of the piezoelectric stimulator is difficult to measure and is best achieved by an oscilloscope; its wave pattern is similar to an electrical spark emission. The emission is chaotic and brief, covering a wide frequency spectrum with overlying harmonics. This is contrasted to the typical square wave pattern that acupuncturists typically employ in treating ear and body points.
Acupuncture Point-Stimulation Technique
The correct technique of employing the piezoelectric stimulator is to grasp the device with one hand with the thumb on the plunger. When depressed, the device produces a "click" when it is activated. The tip of the stimulator is placed on the acupuncture point of interest. The index finger of the other hand is used to touch another acupuncture point. The unit is activated and a series of stimulations are produced up to 1 minute or longer. Both the operator and the patient will feel the electrical stimulation. This technique was first described by Dr Ong.
Piezoelectric Stimulation of Clinical Useful Points
The authors have found that stimulation of LI 4 bilaterally with the piezoelectric device is useful to alleviate migraine headaches when auriculotherapy points are added; namely, Shen Men, Point Zero, and Omega 2 in both ears.3 Stimulation of LI 4 and acupuncture points on the neck and back are useful for back musculoskeletal and metastatic cancer bony spine and hip pain. LI 4 and ST 43 appear helpful to alleviate hoarseness due to viral laryngitis. Musculoskeletal pain of the upper and lower extremities may be treated with combinations of LI 4 and appropriate acupuncture points on the meridians at the choice of the clinician. The authors have also found that combinations of points other than LI 4 are of clinical interest.
Effectiveness of Piezoelectric Stimulation
Piezoelectric stimulation may provide quick and temporary relief, and sometimes may be the only treatment necessary to the patient. Its usefulness is especially appreciated when the debilitated patient is unable to undress or lay on a treatment table without considerable discomfort. It is beneficial for some patients in that it frequently relieves enough pain for them to undergo definitive acupuncture therapy without discomfort.
Patient 1 was an 81-year-old man with a recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the lip in a submental lymph node. This lesion underwent excision with bilateral supraomohyoid lymph node dissections revealing no other metastases in 49 sampled nodes. He was undergoing postoperative radiotherapy and noted that his shoulders were too painful and restricted in range of motion for him to carry out his physical therapy. He underwent piezo stimulation of LI 4 and SI 3 bilaterally, with the circuit completed at SI 13 on the right and SI 11 on the left (these were Ashi points). Fifteen seconds of stimulation was provided bilaterally. After this, he noted that his pain had decreased from 7/10 to 5/10 with a robust increase in his bilateral shoulder range of motion.
Patient 2 was a 62-year-old woman with a history of T1, N2b, carcinoma ex-mixed right parotid gland. She underwent right parotidectomy with modified radical neck dissection on the right. Subsequently, she received radiotherapy: 60 Gy to the right side of the neck and 50 Gy to the left side of the neck, completed in August 1996. The patient presented in the radiation oncology clinic with a 3/10 chronic muscular neck pain irradiating to the shoulders and upper extremities. There was no clinical radiographic evidence of cancer recurrence. Piezo stimulation was administered on LI 4 bilaterally. Ten seconds of stimulation was provided. After this, the patient reported that the pain was reduced to 1/10 and localized only to the cervical neck area, with a substantial increase in comfort. There were no complications. Subsequent follow-up visits demonstrated little if any relapse of pain confined to the neck area. The neck remained supple.
Patient 3 was a 37-year-old man with sarcoma of the right hip undergoing radiation. The patient complained of nausea and vomiting while undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Piezoelectric stimulation of MH 6 was conducted bilaterally for approximately 1 minute; the patient stated that his nausea disappeared. The patient relapsed about 48 hours later and the treatment was successfully repeated.
All living cells produce small electrical voltages across their membranes. These electrical voltages, called transmembrane potentials, can be correlated directly with the state of the membrane and the metabolic process that alter the movements of molecules across the membrane and the inherent membrane permeability.4 The complex chaotic electrical stimulation of the acupuncture point may act as a "trigger" on the acupuncture channel that assists in regulating total organic homeostatic balance; this electrical stimulus may interact at the membrane level on cells and organs corresponding to the meridian channels. It has been demonstrated that the acupuncture point consists of blood, lymphatic, and nerve components. The role of the neurovascular bundles in blood supply regulation, and thus in the function of organs, can explain some spectacular clinical results in acupuncture practice for reversible dysfunctioning or trophic and metabolic disturbances.5 The exact mechanism of piezoelectric stimulation is poorly understood.
Piezoelectric stimulation as described herein is a valuable technique in the acupuncture clinic. It can be delivered in a safe and quick therapeutic manner for a variety of pain symptoms. Its rapid action and ease of application make it a useful technique for very ill patients under certain conditions. The stimulation of acupuncture points with electricity warrants further research. The optimum current combinations, frequencies, and acupuncture points are future clinical research challenges.
1. Quartz crystals. In: Compton's Encyclopedia 2000 Deluxe [computer program]. Broderbund; 2000.
2. Piezo-DX manufactured by ITO Co, Ltd, 3-3-3 Toyotama-Minami. Nerima-Ku, Tokyo 176, Japan (Available at: http://www.itolator.co.jp). Web site accessibility verified November 28, 2000.
3. Oleson T. Auriculotherapy Manual: Chinese and Western Systems of Ear Acupuncture. 2nd ed. Los Angeles, Calif: Health Care Alternatives; 1996:57,143.
4. Niemtzow RC. Transmembrane potentials of human lymphocytes. In: Niemtzow RC, ed. Transmembrane Potentials and Characteristics of Immune and Tumor Cells. Boca Raton, Fla: CRC Press; 1985:69-85.
5. Terral C, Rabischong P. A scientific basis for acupuncture. J Altern Complement Med. 1997;3:55-65.
Dr Richard C. Niemtzow is a Colonel in the United States Air Force (USAF) on loan to the United States Navy for a special acupuncture project. Dr Niemtzow is the first physician practicing acupuncture full-time at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, California, with special interest in oncology patients.
Richard C. Niemtzow, MD, PhD, MPH*
1835 E Main St
El Cajon, CA 92021-5255
Phone: 619-447-6806 o Fax: 619-447-6881
Dr Ruben T. Ong is a surgeon in Yardville, New Jersey, with more than 20 years of acupuncture and surgical experience.
Ruben T. Ong, MD+
4228 So Broad St
Yardville, NJ 08620
Dr Peter A. S. Johnstone, MD, MA, is a Commander in the United States Navy, and is Chief of Radiation Oncology at the Naval Medical Center, San Diego, California. Dr Johnstone recently completed the UCLA Medical Acupuncture Program.
CDR Peter A.S. Johnstone, MC, USN*
Naval Medical Center San Diego
Radiation Oncology Division
34800 Bob Wilson Dr, Suite 14
San Diego, CA 92134-1014
Phone: 619-532-7274 o Fax: 619-532-8178