SCIENTIFIC BASIS FOR USING ELECTRICAL CURRENTS IN HEALING
- Electrical potentials and electrical currents occur at all levels within the body; from the body as a whole, down to an intracellular level.
- Electrical potentials and electrical currents direct and control cell behavior.
- These electrical potentials and currents are generated and maintained by Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP).
ATP Synthesis is generated by electron flow.
Electrical Potentials and Currents in the Body
- Electrical potentials and the resulting Electrical currents occur at all levels within the body; from the body as a whole, down to an intracellular level.
We all know that electrical currents exist in our bodies; with the measurement of the electrical currents in the heart by an ECG, in the brain by an EEG, in the peripheral nerves by nerve conduction studies, and in muscles by an EMG.
There are also a variety of devices out on the market now that measure the electrical currents running through our body’s meridian systems (VEGA, Orion, Mora), although these are not routinely recognized or used within the orthodox medical system.
Electro Pressure Regeneration Therapy (EPRT) technology does not measure the electrical currents in the meridian system, however, the currents generated by the BodiHealth and the BodiHarmoni are thought to utilize the recipients’ meridian system to deliver its current (or electrons).
The electrical currents occurring within individual organ systems and at a cellular level are driven by electrical potentials created by the cells and organs. Two examples of these are ‘Cell Wall Membrane Potentials’, and ‘Transepithelial Potentials (TEP’s) i.e. this is an electrical potential across an epithelial layer such as the skin. Overall, our bodies are thought to be more negatively charged on the outside than at our centre. An Electrical Potential is the difference in charge (positive [+ve] and negative [-ve]) between 2 areas, e.g. the +ve and –ve terminals of a fully charged battery. It is the electrical potentials that drive the currents just like a battery drives the current around a circuit. The cells create these electrical potentials by ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) driven pumps within [on] the cell walls. These ATP driven pumps actively pump positively charged ions across the cell wall resulting in a greater number of positively charged ions on the outside of the cell wall, or on one side of a membrane than the other. This creates a positive area and the resulting negatively charged area or an electrical potential.
These electrical potentials are critical in wound healing process and in the creation of ATP as described later. It is at these deeper and more subtle electrical levels in the body that the EPRT devices are having an effect.
The Role of Electrical Potentials and Electrical Currents at the cellular level
- Electrical Potentials and Electrical Currents Direct and Control Cell Behavior.
To help understand these electrical potentials and electrical currents we are going to examine their role in three areas:
A series of studies [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] measuring electrical potentials and electrical currents were carried out on Axolotl, Xenopus, and Chick embryos. All studies described electrical potentials and electrical currents. The electrical potentials were found to run in specific and uniform directions; from rostrocaudal (head to tail) and mediolateral (midline to edge). The Electrical currents flowed out of specific areas of the embryos, and these areas were found to be the areas of major tissue movement. The electrical current densities were found to be in the order of 100uA/cm2.
Figure 1 (above).Spatial differences in the transepithelial potential difference (TEP) generate electric fields within intact embryos. A: TEP measurements made using glass voltage-sensing electrodes. The TEP of axolotl embryos was measured relative to a bath ground electrode at the time of early neural tube formation (stage 16) in three positions on the same embryo. Measurement sites are shown in B: a, at the rostral end of the neural groove; b, at the lateral edge of the neural fold; c, at the lateral epithelium; d, halfway along the neural groove; e, at the caudal end of the neural groove near the blastopore. The TEP at each site was positive on the inside of the embryo. [Data from Shi and Borgens (180).] B: TEP measurements made at sites a, b, and c in 8 embryos demonstrating that the TEP is highest in the center of the neural groove (a) and lowest at the lateral edge of the neural ridge (b). Measurements from 20 embryos at site a, d, and e indicates a rostral to caudal TEP gradient. [Data from Shi and Borgens (180); embryo in B and D modified from Borgens and Shi (26).] C: an artist’s impression of the spatial differences of TEP in a stage 16 axolotl embryo. Colors represent the magnitude of the TEP. Yellow is highest, and purple is lowest. The slope of the line indicates the magnitude of the resulting local electric field in the subepidermal tissues. [Modified from Shi and Borgens (180).] D: current loops detected using a non-invasive vibrating electrode. The electrode vibrates rapidly near the embryo in an electrically conductive medium (e.g., pond water). The stainless steel electrode has a small voltage sensing platinum ball at its tip, which is vibrated rapidly over a distance of _20 _m. The electrode (red) is shown at the extremes of its vibration. The voltage is determined at each point, and the current density at the measurement site is calculated using known values for distance from the embryo and the resistivity of the bathing medium. As would be predicted from the spatial variation of TEP illustrated in A and B, there is outward current at the lateral edges of the neural ridges, inward current at the center of the neural groove, inward current at the lateral skin, and a large outward current at the blastopore.
The studies then disrupted the naturally occurring (endogenous) electrical potentials and currents by either enhancing them (hyperpolarising) or reducing them (depolarising) and examined the effects on the embryo’s. The results were astounding.
The embryo’s exposed to electrical fields reported 87-95% abnormality rates, while the control embryos reported 11-17% abnormality rates. The abnormalities seen consisted of; absence of cranium, loss of one or both eyes, misshapen head, abnormal brachial development, incomplete closure of neural folds, incomplete notocord development, and cells were seen to migrate out of the embryo and developed autonomously in the dish while other cells that had differentiated were reduced to a formless mass of apparently dedifferentiated cells. They also showed that the axis of cell division can be determined by applied and endogenous Electrical Fields.
In summary, endogenous electrical fields with normal polarity and magnitude are essential for normal development and the pattern of electrical potentials within embryos provide a gross template or blueprint for the development of the embryos guiding differentiation and movement of the cells within the embryo.
It has been known for over 150yrs that endogenous electrical currents played a part in wound healing, with a German physiologist Emil Du-Bois Reymond measuring a 1uA current flowing out of a cut in his own finger!
These electrical currents arise as a result of a standing electrical potential that is constant and maintained across the epithelial layer of the skin. This electrical potential is called a ‘Transepithelial Potential’ or TEP’s. On the surface layer of the epithelium there is passive influx of positively charged sodium (Na+) and potassium (K+) ions. On the basal cell membrane there are Na+/K+ ATPases that actively pump Na+ out of the cell into the matrix. This results in a higher concentration of Na+ inside the skin relative to the outer surface creating a TEP. Intact skin therefore represents a biological battery. This is powered by ATP.
Injury currents occur when there is a break in the epithelial layer resulting in an out-flowing of Na+ ions from the inner layer of the skin (high concentration) to the outer layers of the skin (lower concentration). This out flow of positively charged ions is an electrical current, and this electrical current creates a bioelectrical field. Electrical fields are important as having both magnitude and direction. They can impose directional movement on chemicals in the extracellular environment, on receptor molecules, on cells and on tissues . This explains how the great German physiologist Emil Du-Bois Reymond measured a 1uA current flowing out of his own cut finger in 1843, and Robert Beckers observations of the currents flowing out of the wounds of amputated salamander tails and limbs in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
The instant a wound is created a Direct Current Electrical Field (DC EF) is set up. McCaig claims that “In evolutionary terms, membrane resealing to close an electrical leak is among the most primitive activities that cells undertake.”
So what do these electrical currents mean in terms of the healing process?
Two studies [9,10] looking at wound induced electrical fields (EF) in bovine cornea and guinea pig and human skin not only proved the existence of electrical fields which dropped exponentially with the distance from the wound, but also came to the following conclusions:
- All cell behaviors within approximately 500um of a wound edge in skin and cornea take place within a standing gradient voltage. These include epithelial cell migration, epithelial cell division, nerve sprouting, leukocyte infiltration, and endothelial cell remodeling with associated angiogenesis i.e. the whole gamut of cellular responses to injury.
- Because the voltage gradient dropped exponentially with the distance from the wound any cell behaviors governed by the endogenous EF would be regulated differently with the distance from the wound.
- Increasing or decreasing the TEP would inevitably increase or decrease the voltage gradient profile at the wound.
Studies [11, 12, and 13] were then done on rats cornea’s manipulating the endogenous EF’s by either enhancing or reducing the endogenous EF’s or by applying exogenous electrical currents.
These studies looked at;
i. Healing rates,
ii. Proliferation of cells,
iii. Axis of cell division,
iv. And nerve growth.
i. The direction and rate of migrating epithelial cells into the wound was affected by the EF. Enhancing the EF healed the corneal wound 2.5 times faster while reducing the EF slowed the rate of healing to 18% of normal.
ii. The proliferation of epithelial cells. Similarly there was a 40% increase in cell divisions within 600um of the wound edge in the corneas whose EF was enhanced, and a 27% suppression of mitoses in the corneas whose EF was reduced
iii. The axis of cell division. It was found that in the dividing cells, the mitotic spindle aligns parallel to the EF, and the cleavage occurred perpendicular to this. The orientation of the dividing cells reduced the further away from the wound edge, as the strength of the EF reduces. Again cells in an enhanced EF roughly doubled the proportion of dividing cells whose cleavage plans were perpendicular to the EF, and corneas treated in a reduced EF
iv. The proportion of nerves sprouting at the wound, and the direction of growth of nerve sprouts towards the wound edge. The corneas in an enhanced EF showed neurite growth enhanced with more sprouts appearing, they appeared earlier, and orientated towards the wound edge earlier. Reducing the EF did not prevent early collateral nerve sprouting, but the nerve growth was not directed towards the wound edge.
v. EFs were found to stimulate secretion in the extracellular space of growth factors (VEGF) from endothelial cells .
vi. EFs were found to upregulate expression of growth factor receptors (EGFR) on corneal epithelial cells .
vii. In an applied DC EF with the cathode at the wound edge the wound healed faster, but with the anode at the wound edge the wound not only failed to close but actually opened up .
It was concluded that because electrical signals arise immediately in a wound and control multiple cell behaviors in vivo, the physiological EF may orchestrate an integrated response of interdependent cell behaviors that includes the epithelial and nerve interactions essential for wound healing. Consequently, the EF is at the head of a hierarchy of cues that interact to promote wound healing .
All cells have an electrical potential across their cell membrane that makes the outside of the cell relatively positively charged compared to the inside of the cell. This again represents a biological battery. The charge across a healthy cell membrane is approximately -70mV. To put this into perspective, if the membrane is 7-10nm thick then the corresponding voltage is 10 million volts per meter . Maintenance of this cell membrane electrical potential is essential for the normal workings of the cell.
This amazing membrane potential is generated and maintained by the disproportionate pumping of sodium ions (Na+) out of the cell and potassium.
ions (K+) into the cell. Three (3) Na+ are pumped out of the cell for every two (2) K+ pumped into the cell. This results in a greater number Na+ outside the cell compared to the number of K+ inside the cell and therefore a greater positive charge outside the cell. This pump that lives in the cell wall is called Na+/K+ ATPase, and as the named suggests is powered by ATP. Interestingly Magnesium also plays an integral role in the process binding onto the Na+/K+ ATPase pump with ATP.
There are a multitude of other ion channels in the cell wall membranes that transfer ions from one side of the cell wall to the other. While not powered by ATP they are affected by the electrical potential of the cell membrane (Voltage gradient) and also produce electrical currents of their own. These ion channels open or close by changing their shape as a result of the activation of a receptor part of the molecule or changes in the cell wall membrane potential. They also contain a voltage sensitive gate which as the name suggests opens or closes with changes in voltage gradients (or electrical potentials).
Erwin Neher and Bert Sakmann  won the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1991, “for their discoveries concerning the function of single ion channels in cells”. They essentially devised a method of measuring the electrical currents in a single ion channel in the cell wall. What they found was there existed electrical currents in the range of picoAmpere occurring inside the ion channels that corresponded with the opening and closing of that ion channel.
In summary, we can see that not only do electrical potentials and electrical currents exist in cell wall membranes, but they control and direct the membranes ability to transfer ions across the cell wall membrane, the influx and efflux of nutrients and toxins, and so as a result influencing the internal and external environment and overall health of the cell.
In conclusion we can see that the body generates and maintains electrical potentials at the cell wall, across epithelial layers, as well that through the body as a whole. That the more subtle electrical potentials and currents control cell behavior in embryonic development, in wound healing, and within the cell in the cell wall membranes.
If you are working to change cellular, organ behavior or patterns with nutrients, herbs, or drugs, you do not have a hope if the electrical message being generated at a cellular level is opposite to that which you are trying to achieve. Our aim is to support the natural electrical processes of the body by working at its level of operation, NOT to override or destroy them.
The Role of ATP in Electron Potentials
- These electrical potentials and currents are generated and maintained by ATP.
The majority of ATP is produced via the Electron Transport Chain (ETC). The ETC is a series of protein complexes and ubiquinone (or CoQ10) found in the inner membrane of the mitochondria. The main product of the Citric acid or Krebs cycle is a molecule called NADH (the reduced form of Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide or NAD+). NADH is a high energy molecule that contains 2 electrons. NADH donates these two electrons into the first complex of the ETC. The two electrons then flow down an energy gradient to be received by a relatively low energy Oxygen molecule in the last complex to form water. At different stages throughout the ETC as the electrons step down an energy level Protons are pumped across the inner membrane against the electrochemical gradient. It is the high concentration of protons in the inter-membrane space that drives the ATP synthase to synthesize ATP from ADP (adenosine diphosphate) and Pi (inorganic phosphate). So the number of ATP produced by the reduction of Oxygen from NADH is proportional to the number of electrons flowing down the ETC.
In diseased states there is most likely electron leakage out of the ETC resulting in a less efficient process. If by exposing the mitochondria to an electrical current that can flow electrons through the ETC without asking the mitochondria and the Krebs cycle to work any harder then we can improve the efficiency of ATP production. This has been backed up with work done by Ngok Cheng  who showed that ATP production was dramatically increased in a rat skin model as a result of passing micro-currents through those cells.
From the moment of our creation, the electrical fields our cells and body generate govern the cellular decision making processes that direct the expression of our genes, our development and growth, the day to day operating of our cells, and our healing. It all starts at the level of the mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell and therefore, the body), as it is the ATP that the mitochondria produces, powers the cells ability to generate the electrical fields.
The aim of EPRT therefore, is to assist the mitochondria in maximizing their ability to produce ATP, this increases the cells ability to generate and maintain the electrical fields it uses to direct the healing process, which will result in an improved outcome for that person. Prof. Tim Watson describes this process as ‘Cellular Tickling’ .
“Cellular tickling is gently tickling the cells and cell walls with low energy fields producing membrane excitement, and therefore cellular excitement stimulating the cells into a higher level of activity. Rather than the electrical device doing the work, you are tapping into the natural resources and innate knowledge of the cells to do the work.”
This is what EPRT Technologies is doing; tapping into the meridians of the body, flowing electrons through the body into the mitochondria, enabling them to produce more ATP, exciting the cells into generating their own electrical response which stimulates the healing process of the body.
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