HealthTouch - Technical and Research Information
The HealthTouch system of treatment is based upon the principle of acupuncture. Acupuncture is the most widely used medical treatment in the world. It is also the most widely researched medical treatment in the world. Most hospitals in the UK use acupuncture to treat patients. This research and wide use has shown that in the majority of cases it is more effective than drugs and is certainly safer, with no documented side effects.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Based in Geneva, Switzerland, promotes acupuncture as the recommended primary treatment for over 40 chronic ailments including such diverse conditions as arthritis and asthma.
A brief introduction to acupuncture is helpful in understanding how HealthTouch works.
Acupuncture is an ancient system of treatment. It is part of the discipline of traditional Chinese medicine. This embraces many other forms of healing, quite apart from acupuncture, for example Chinese herbal medicine. Acupuncture is not, nor has it ever been, a complete system of medicine in its own right. It is, however, effective in many conditions which have often not responded to conventional approaches.
Acupuncture's main use is in treating chronic and painful conditions such as arthritis, headaches and migraines. After tooth decay and the common cold, these are the most common afflictions of the human race. Its effectiveness has enabled acupuncture to survive against, at times, enormous odds. It was banned by law in China at the beginning of this century but continued to be practiced as folk medicine. Interest by Western doctors in acupuncture was stimulated by President Nixon's visit to China in 1972. Since that time, medical interest in the subject has grown apace, underpinned by a number of important discoveries pointing to the effectiveness of Acupuncture.
The ancient Chinese hypothesized that energy circulated in the body via specific channels, which they called meridians. They considered that the balance and transmission of this energy from side to side, top to bottom and from the inside to the outside of the body was of great importance. They expressed this idea using their doctrine of Yin and Yang, which considers that everything is an amalgam of opposites (the opposites being called Yin or Yang). Yang was associated with activity, fire, the sunny side of the hill or the male principle and Yin was associated with physical substance, water, the dark side of the hill or the female principle. The balance between these two opposites was considered to be constantly fluctuating, in other words it was a dynamic balance. If one was out of balance, in an energetic sense, the principle of treatment would be to re-establish that balance.
The Chinese had an essentially vitalistic approach to the body and its physiology in keeping with many ancient systems of medicine. It is interesting to reflect that modern Western medicine is the only such system ever to have existed without a vitalistic approach to health and disease.
The Chinese developed a highly complex and sophisticated system of empirical laws based on countless observations of illness and response to treatment. These laws resulted in a number of ground rules aimed at guiding a doctor to the improvement of his patient's condition. The astonishing fact is that the application of these apparently odd-sounding laws do appear to work in a highly significant proportion of people. It would be fair to say that if it did not work, acupuncture would not have been adopted within both Western and Eastern cultures to such a degree.
The Chinese believed that in addition to being in balance, the energy or life force (which they called chi) had to be able to circulate freely around the meridians. If a break occurred anywhere in this circulation, illness would result. An example is backache, which is viewed by the Chinese as a blockage in the 'chi' circulating in the bladder meridian. The remedy was, to put it in the simplest of terms, to insert a needle at the point of discomfort in order to encourage the flow to re-establish itself. Surprisingly enough, this relatively crude approach does work in a sufficient number of cases to create a curious, rather than passing interest.
Each meridian refers to a particular organ, and the energy flowing through that meridian can be taken as indicating the functional state of that organ. Inserting a needle into a point on the liver meridian for instance could be expected to affect the function of the liver, the effect would depend on the actual point used and the state of the patient at the time of treatment.
Dr Kenyon's research has shown that there are significant advantages of Electro Acupuncture over traditional needle acupuncture.
Traditional acupuncture involves the placing of needles into the body at various pre-determined points, depending on the ailment being treated. This is obviously an invasive process - and one which many people cannot bear to undergo.
The placing of the needles is highly critical. Modern research has shown that a typical treatment point is only 1/2 mm across (1/50 of an inch) and the level of skill required to locate such points is extremely high. Even a slight error of judgment means that the point may be missed and the subsequent treatment less effective.
Good accurate needle acupuncture can be over 85% effective. However, it is most effective when treatment can be given daily for a few weeks. High-quality, daily treatment is usually impractical for the vast majority of people due to time restraints and the high cost. In addition, as we mentioned before, many people are not happy with the thought of being punctured by needles on a daily basis.
What is electro-acupuncture?
This is the method of using minute elctronic pulses to stimulate the body's own healing system. Instead of an invasive needle being placed into the flesh, a simple probe is placed on the surface of the skin and a series of pulses is transmitted through the skin into the damaged cells.
This method is obviously much simpler and, being non-invasive is readily accepted by prospective users - they are totally at ease during treatment, which in itself is a contribution to the healing process.
HealthTouch has been designed to not only treat acupuncture points, but also - and in fact, most importantly - to locate the treatment points precisely and quickly. The result is that anyone can quickly and simply treat themselves accurately and obtain results equivalent to that obtained from the very best exponents of the art of traditional acupuncture.
How does HT locate the points?
We mentioned earlier that modern research has show that acupuncture points are only 1/2 mm across, this has been discovered by measuring the electrical conductivity of the skin using highly sensitive modern voltmeters and, more recently, the very latest electronic photographic techniques. The picture below shows an actual side view of a treatment point.
The dark area at the bottom is the skin, and the white area is the region of intense electrical activity that is the center of the point - this has the advantage of being highly conductive to electricity and the HealthTouch unit uses this fact to locate the treatment point.
Dr Kenyon also discovered that if you apply a highly specific electronic pulse to the point, the person being treated will experience a brief 'sensation' on the point, which is conclusive proof that the point has been accurately located. Even a tiny error in location will result in the sensation not being felt.
Once the point has been located, the unit is then designed to transmit a series of pulses to the point for around 30 seconds. During the treatment, there is no sensation.
What can HT be used to treat?
The surprising answer is almost anything! Because HT simply stimulates our body's own healing system, it can be used for many widely differing ailments and injuries. Any ailment that can effectively be treated using traditional acupuncture will respond well to HealthTouch.
BIO PHYSICAL MECHANISMS FOR THE ACTION OF ACUPUNCTURE TO EXPLAIN THE MODE OF ACTION OF THE HealthTouch
An information and control system using direct current (DC) analog electrical signals which runs in connection with the nervous system has been postulated to explain how acupuncture might work, by Robert Becker. Becker is a retired Professor of Orthopedic Surgery working in New York State. His hypothesis is based on work with limb regeneration in amphibians and on the phenomena of the current of injury.
Becker's hypothesis leads to a whole range of theoretical assumptions as to the phenomena of acupuncture points which have led to the useful practical outcome of the HealthTouch, using its particular wave form and particular method of point detection. Becker proposed that the signals in the DC system are carried via the neuroglia which are cells surrounding nerve fibers. Currents known to be produced by injury are said to be produced by this glial system, which is associated with growth and repair.
For example, if an injury is created and there is no current of injury, then no growth or repair occurs. Also electrical currents and associated fields have been shown to be fundamental to differentiation and development in both plants and animals. Becker described a number of spectacular examples or repair abilities, including the regeneration of amputated limbs in newts, and finger-tips in children.
The integration of the glial system with acupuncture was proposed by Becker with acupuncture points considered to be analogous to booster stations along the meridians, which are lines connecting acupuncture points, and these meridian lines are likened to transmission lines for these DC signals. Acupuncture points in meridians do show specific electrical properties, and changes in these characteristics can be used for diagnosis.
Acupuncture points appear to have little or no electrical activity when the tissue or organ which they represent is healthy. When an injury takes place, or disease occurs, a current is produced local to that damage. At the same time the properties of the related acupuncture point change, and there are also some possible changes in polarity of the acupuncture points in relationship to the surrounding skin. Corresponding acupuncture points are usually distant to the site of the injury. This is not always the case but is often so.
A number of conventional electrical circuits can be fitted to this model, and the diode gate is the best explanation. A diode gate is one of the basic building blocks in micro-processors. It seems that in painful conditions a semi-conductor effect blocks the free flow electric charge, thereby leading to a build up of charge, and therefore pain.
The concept of semi conduction is very important to this explanation of mechanism of the acupuncture point. One of the pioneers of modern concepts relating solid state physics, ie, physics not involving moving parts or gasses, sometimes called semi-conduction and biology, was Albert Szent Gorgyi. He won a Nobel prize for work on Vitamin C and biological oxidation. He first introduced the concept of semi-conduction into the biological arena during the 1940s'. Before semi-conduction was suggested, only two methods of conduction of electrical current were known:
- Metallic conduction which can be viewed as clouds of electrons moving along a wire.
- Ionic conduction which is the conduction of electricity using charged particles (ions). Nerve impulses are conducted in such a manner. Ionic currents work well over short distances, such as the membrane serving nerve fibers, but soon become dissipated over greater distances.
- Semi-Conduction is a third means of generating and conducting a current and requires materials to have a very orderly structure so that electrons can move from one atom nucleus to another. Crystals have the necessary orderly structure. Much body tissue is in the liquid crystal state.
Semi-conductors have characteristics of both insulators and conductors, depending on temperature; they are inefficient in that they can carry only small currents but the current can be readily carried over long distances. Semi-conduction has been an essential cornerstone in the development of all aspects of electronics over the last 40 years.
The idea of a diode, which is a semi-conductor which allows the passage of current in one direction only, is central to the basic explanation of how acupuncture works. This is shown by the three following diagrams:
The current source is the body's own metabolism.
The load is the part of the body which is connected to a specific acupuncture point which is shown on the right of each diagram.
If the load or the specific tissue under question is healthy then the acupuncture point registers no abnormality. If the load is injured in some way, such as in the second diagram, then a current of injury is produced and this blocks the flow of current into the affected area. As a result the current flow from the body's metabolism (current source) backs up and the acupuncture point becomes electrically active.
The third diagram shows the acupuncture point being treated with a biphasic signal.
This is of great importance as a signal with either positive or negative polarity, and not with negative and positive polarity, which is what we mean by a biphasic signal, is the most likely input to unblock the diode and send a current into the affected area which then helps that area to heal.
One other characteristic of the biphase impulse given by the HealthTouch is the very sharp rise and fall tides. This gives a very resonant wave form with a very rich fourier transform. This is basically a frequency content of the wave form. A particular wave form used is very rich in harmonics, and therefore is a very resonant wave form. Resonance is a very important phenomena in biology, therefore the HealthTouch makes use of this, so the point is able to resonate with one or a number of the many frequencies contained within the HealthTouch wave form. This explanation suggests that acupuncture points become particularly active after injury or disease, which is exactly what is found in practice.
Acupuncture points are usually negative with respect to the surrounding skin, with a value of -0.05 millivolts as being fairly average. Higher negative values represent increased electrical activity in the corresponding anatomical area with readings of -0.25 millivolts. This is found in functional pathology where there is no actual organic change or damage. In acute conditions, this level can go up to as high as -0.75 millivolts. In extreme cases readings over-100 millivolts is usually associated with severe pain. In other situations a high positive value is found, particularly with infections, psoriasis, asthma and allergies, and readings of +0.5 millivolts are not unusual. A low permanent positive value such as 0.001 millivolts is present in some chronic conditions such as in chronic Osteo-arthritis.
What this means is that it is possible to detect acupuncture points looking at voltage change. However, the most common method used to find acupuncture points is looking for areas of high conductance or low resistance (these both mean the same thing). This is what is used in the HealthTouch, and the sensitive skin resistance meter is built in to the HealthTouch with the operator connected to the HealthTouch (part of the hand grip on the HealthTouch is electro-conductive and therefore forms one side of the circuit). Many studies have shown acupuncture points to be areas of low resistance.
The fact that semi-conductor properties are present in acupuncture points can be shown by taking the reading over an acupuncture point with a simple voltmeter. If the electrodes are reversed, and if ionic conduction was solely responsible, then the reading would remain the same but would have a different polarity, ie, from negative to positive. In practice this rarely happens and the second measurement with the electrodes the other way round is often different in varying degrees to the first orientation of the electrodes. This indicates a partial, or in some cases total, semi-conductor effect.
What we do know from traditional Chinese acupuncture theory is that meridians do have a direction of flow going from the first numbered point on the meridian to the last numbered point on the meridian such as in the bladder meridian ( the largest meridian in the body). This starts at bladder one and ends at bladder 67. The flow is from one through all the intervening points to bladder 67. Therefore reverse measurements as described here provide evidence for a greater flow of current in one direction than the other, therefore substantiating the ancient Chinese view of the point numbering.
What is found is that if a bi-polar electrical current is driven through a semi conductive tissue then normal conductive properties will be restored, the stored charge in the damaged area will be discharged and the resultant symptoms will disappear, often with sufficient treatment this can result in a complete disappearance of the problem. This phenomena is illustrated in the diagrams. To summarize, therefore:
- Acupuncture points only become electrically active when a dysfunction is present in the body.
- The size and shapes of acupuncture points appear to vary considerably. Electrical measurements reveal them in some cases to be zones within which a number of highly localized points may exist, and in other situations they appear to be highly localized points even localized within a small number of millimeters
- Different acupuncture points in the zone appear to become active in different situations. The points are dynamic, becoming particularly active after injury or disease.
- We do know that stimulation of a specific acupuncture point results in functional alterations in the organ or part of the organ, or soft tissue, or whatever structure is connected with the acupuncture point. This functional alteration is always in the direction of normality and can, in some cases, lead to the resolution of actual organic pathology.
In conclusion, this simple biophysical model of acupuncture can be confirmed by any reasonably committed investigator, using a simple multi-meter. This confirms the semi-conductor properties of acupuncture points and their related tissue. It also provides a scientific basis for the use of a biphasic current of stimulation, and the use of a highly resonant wave form so that each point has a selection of frequencies (harmonics) from which to choose.
This model also explains why, through repeated treatment, functional, and in many cases organic, pathology can respond and resolve. Essentially what an acupuncture point is expressing when it becomes active (in other words where disease, functional or organic, is present), is it is trying to resolve biophysically the electrical abnormality produced by the injury or disease in the affected tissue.
The use of a biphasic current over the affected point facilities this process, which in turn leads to resolution of the original pathology.
This theory, therefore, has the beauty of having considerable scientific evidence, and of it being able to be confirmed by simple experiments which can be carried out by anybody of reasonable intelligence using a multimeter.
This, therefore, in turn leads to a sensible design for pieces of equipment such as the HealthTouch.
Dr Julian Jessel Kenyon MD Southampton, UK. February, 1995