acupuncture with electric current

I've begun treatment with a chiropractor who also uses an electric stimulus device on acupressure points on my earlobes to reduce pain from a pinched nerve. He uses the device on one earlobe at a time. I am concerned about possible interference to my medtronic dual-lead pacemaker and wondered if anyone has information that might be helpful. I appreciate your help.


seems like a bad idea to me

by markjbaker - 2009-07-09 07:07:17

One of the warnings I got for my ICD is not to use the following devices:

- TENS pain control machines,
- Fat monitoring scales (they measure your resistance with an electric current)
- Electic shock toys.

It is possible electric pulses may be picked up by the PM's sensors and confused for an erroneous heart beat. With an ICD that may cause a shock - not nice. Not sure what effect that would have on a PM, best not to find out!

BTW, does the acupuncture work. If that works for you but you feel the need to give it up for your PM, you could try homoeopathy instead, which is completely safe.

call the mfr

by Tracey_E - 2009-07-09 10:07:28

When in doubt, don't do it. I would call your pm mfr and ask them. It's probably ok if it's more than 6 inches from your device. That's what they told me when the physical therapist wanted to use something similar on my broken foot.


by ElectricFrank - 2009-07-09 11:07:33

If the only electrodes used by the chiropractor are connected to one ear at a time, then the current won't flow through a body area that includes the pacemaker, leads, or heart. If he applies a "ground lead" somewhere else below the neck such as on an arm or leg then the current flows though the rest of the body and might affect the pacer.

This is one case where the "keep it 6 in from the pacer doesn't apply. You could put one electrode on each wrist with both arms stretched out and even though they are 2 ft from the pacer and the stimulator may be over on a table, you will still be passing current through the pacer area of the body.

hope this helps. This is an area where "ask you doctor" is also not a good idea. Unless he/she understands electrical theory their answer will only be a guess.


Thank you

by susan-59 - 2009-07-10 03:07:34

Thank you for the helpful comments about my question about the possible effects of electric-stim and acupuncture by my chiro. It's so great to have access to such a helpful network of folks!


by pete - 2009-07-10 07:07:46

Electroacupuncture is not recommended for any patient with a pacemaker. They treatment is well known to interfere with the function of pacemakers. Find a better acupuncturist, he or she should know better. Cheers Peter


by Tracey_E - 2009-07-10 10:07:36

Frank, St Judes told my physical therapist that extremities were ok, torso was not because it's too close. But that might have been a different type of treatment than we're talking about here, I wasn't paying much attention! It felt all prickly.


by ElectricFrank - 2009-07-11 01:07:36

You have said what I was trying to say only simpler. You don't want to pass current through the torso. This i is a bit hard to prevent where I live. With the humdity down to 5% just walking across a carpet and touching a metal lamp is good for nice jolt of static electricity. This can run into the 10,000 volt range right down the left arm into the pacer. So far I am more affected by it than the pacer. Ouch!

My computer doesn't like it though. A few times I have zapped one of these jolts into the keyboard and rebooted it.


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