history and origin of electrostimulation, also commonly referred to as electrotherapy, is unique. The therapeutic benefits of electricity were not discovered in a laboratory or clinic and were not a byproduct of someone's accidentally coming into contact with a bolt of lightening. In fact, electrotherapy originates as early as 400 BC from contact with the torpedo fish, which could produce electric shocks between 100 and 150 volts. Taken live from lakes and streams and placed on a painful area of the body, the torpedo fish produced a series of electric shocks that reduced and controlled pain.
However, as with any new medical technology, electrotherapy was not readily accepted. This skepticism resulted in a decline of interest in electrotherapy toward the end of the [nineteenth] century (eMedicine Clinical Knowledge Base, 1996).
This therapeutic effectiveness in pain relief has led to other applications of electrotherapy by rehabilitative clinicians, including treating injured or diseased muscle and other soft-tissue conditions (Gersh, 1992).
This course reviews cell physiology and the response of muscle fibers to electrical stimulation, and presents the principles of electrical stimulation to aid the healthcare professional in decisions regarding indications and clinical applications.