Little ABC for your spa-break questions ...
In their treatment discriptions, wellness hotels often use technical terms, which are hard to understand for potential guests. We have therefore collected and defined the most relevant terms in our small wellness ABC. A tip: Our wellness dictionary also supports word requests. You don't need to know the exact wording.
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Definition: What is electrotherapy?
Electrotherapy is the medical application of electric current. Here, the doctor or physiotherapist treats one or more parts of the body with different forms of electricity. A distinction is made between galvanic, low, medium and high frequency currents.
How does electrotherapy work?
To carry out electrotherapy, the current is passed through the body either by means of electrodes that are stuck to the skin or by means of electrodes in a water bath. The types of application differ in the type of current.
Types of electrotherapy
Galvanic currents as direct current therapy cause pain relief through the movement of electrically charged particles (positive and negative ions). They can also support healing by stimulating and increasing blood circulation.
Low-frequency stimulation currents stimulate nerve and muscle fibres and cause the muscles to contract. Especially in weakened and partially paralysed muscles, this can help maintain function and reduce weakening.
With medium-frequency alternating currents, depending on the application, the pain-relieving or stimulating effect with muscle contraction and subsequent muscle relaxation predominates. This promotes blood circulation, reduces swelling and loosens the muscles.
The high-frequency therapy leads to a warming of the tissue that lies deep inside the body. It stimulates blood circulation, relieves pain and promotes muscle relaxation.
In a hydroelectric bath, the water serves as the carrier of the current. For this purpose, the patient sits in special bathtubs with lukewarm water, which is evenly flooded with the direct current.
Who can carry out electrotherapy?
Electrotherapy may only be carried out by authorised therapists. Even if the current is only ever used weakly, it can cause damage if used uncontrolled.
If used improperly (e.g. too high a dosage), electrotherapy can lead to skin damage. Inflammatory processes can be promoted by the treatment. Electrotherapy must not be used on metals in the patient's body, acute inflammation, thrombosis or open skin areas.
What does electrotherapy do?
Electrotherapy is attributed with a variety of positive properties. These include among others
- Stimulation of the blood circulation
- Support of the metabolism
- Muscle activation
- Warming effect on the skin
- Alleviation of pain
As a rule, active exercises complement passive electrotherapy.
Accordingly, electrotherapy is used for pain syndromes of the musculoskeletal system, muscle tension and strains, muscle weakness and muscle paralysis, as well as for incontinence or paralysis of the pelvic floor muscles, for example.
Do health insurance companies cover the therapy costs?
In principle, statutory health insurance companies cover the costs of electrotherapy, provided that it has been prescribed by a doctor and the measures appear to be appropriate.