Non Invasive Interferential Stellate Ganglion Block

   An interventional stellate ganglion block is used often for chronic intractable pain.   The purpose is to stop sympathetically mediated pain by injecting a local anesthetic.   The actual procedure does involve a considerable degree of risk, including death, if the insertion is not done properly.  Serious life threatening situations can develop and that is why it's crucial the physician become totally aware of the surrounding anatomy to prevent injury during the procedure.  In recent years the inclusion of fluoroscopic dyes has led to better placements and better outcomes while reducing some of the risks.  For a video of how the stellate ganglion block procedure is done go here.

   Samuel Davis, P.T. reported the use of interferential current therapy in his book "Interferential Current Therapy in clinical practice" , 1993, ISBN 09624032-6-1, detailing a study done in 1972 in the clinical setting.  The use of medium frequency interferential current is not new, however it has required clinical visits, or in some cases hospitalization for the treatments.  The machines capable of creating the interferential currents were only available to clinics, not patients for personal use.  Today the Infrex Plus and the Infrex FRM are available for home use.

  The medium frequency interferential currents should be tried before any interventional block is done.  The risk of injury or further harm using interferential therapy is practically non existent.  The higher medium frequency beats allow deeper penetration into the actual stellate ganglion and the decrease of pain, possibly elimination, will be known in less than 20 minutes.  If the interferential current works the patient can self treat, possibly requiring no more than 2 ea. ,  20 minute treatments daily until carryover pain relief is established.  If the procedure does not work then traditonal interventional blocks may be done.   After carryover established the pain may cease to exist or require only monthly 20 minute treatments.

  The medium interferential frequency stellate ganglion block is preferable to interventional procedures due to safety.  The patient and physician know in 1 treatment, without causing any harm to the patient or risks from traditional ganglion blocks.  

  The below video explains how home treatment with interferential therapy produces longer lasting carryover pain relief:




  The below finding may have implications on how electricity also kills cancer cells.   The video on this site by Bill Doyle reports that electricity does affect the death some very aggressive cancer cells,  such as glial blastioma brain cancers, and does not affect healthy, normal cells.


“In 1965, Rosenberg made a chance observation that electrolysis experiments were having a remarkable effect on E. Coli bacteria. The bacteria were seen to grow 300 times their normal length and then burst rather than undergo normal cell division. The platinum electrode was shown to produce very small amounts of solube platinum compounds in solution and this material had the remarkable effect on the cell division. Following up this work in the early 1970, cisplatin was found to stop the growth of rapid cell division in certain type of cancer cells and so after in 1978 cisplatin became one of the first major chemotherapy drugs.”


Production of SDH Enzyme & The Krebs/Szent-Gorygi Cycle


   The scientific background of what happens with the use of electrical currents to facilitate faster healing, or in some cases start healing, is not well understood.  Actually it appears it isn't understood.  With the use of the Infrex FRM and the specific protocols to increase muscle strength we look for reasons the combined use of volitional Isometric exercises and estim accelerate healing and increase strength.   In "A Review of the Use of Electro-Motor Stimulation in Human Muscles" by Giovanni De Domenico, Strauss and Singer originally published in 1986 there is a summary statement on possible enzymatic activities which may account for the positive outcomes reported.

   It appears a given is the maintenance or increased production of the enzyme, succinic dehydrogenase (SDH) enzyme, increases the proliferation of muscle tissue cells for repair or strengthening.  The chemical reactions are initiated by the movement of electrons ( negative charges moving toward positive charges or being repelled by other negative charges).   The Infrex FRM initiates current flow by moving electrons, negative charged particulate matter, from one electrode to the other using the muscles as the route between the two electrodes.   The movement of electrons is the use of a negative charge, stronger than the cellular molecular bonds of the atoms in the cell, and possibly accounts for the increased production of SDH.   With more SDH enzyme,  muscle growth is initiated and other diseases may be eliminated or retarded.  

   The reason for increasing muscle growth is after/during exercises for repair or, gaining strength, the body essentially breaks down cell walls, muscle tissues, and immediately thereafter the healing processes occur.   The use of the flowing negative charged electrons facilitate faster production of SDH and increase the rates of repair.   This can explain how the recovery from surgery from an ACL repair can be cut from 9 months to 9 weeks.   It's the volitional exercising, use of the Infrex Biological Frequency currents, that accelerate repair. 

   Cited below are more materials one can use to understand how the processes may work.

What is the SDH gene? 


What is the normal function of the SDHC gene?

  The SDHC gene provides instructions for making one of four subunits of the succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) enzyme. The SDH enzyme plays a critical role in mitochondria, which are structures inside cells that convert the energy from food into a form that cells can use. The SDHC protein helps anchor the SDH enzyme in the mitochondrial membrane.

  Within mitochondria, the SDH enzyme links two important cellular pathways in energy conversion: the citric acid cycle (or Krebs cycle) - and oxidative phosphorylation. As part of the citric acid cycle, the SDH enzyme converts a compound called succinate to another compound called fumarate. Negatively charged particles called electrons are released during this reaction. The electrons are transferred through the SDH subunits, including the SDHC protein, to the oxidative phosphorylation pathway. In oxidative phosphorylation, the electrons help create an electrical charge that provides energy for the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the cell's main energy source.

   Succinate, the compound on which the SDH enzyme acts, is an oxygen sensor in the cell and can help turn on specific pathways that stimulate cells to grow in a low-oxygen environment (hypoxia). In particular, succinate stabilizes a protein called hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) by preventing a reaction that would allow HIF to be broken down. HIF controls several important genes involved in cell division and the formation of new blood vessels in a hypoxic environment.

  The SDHC gene is a tumor suppressor, which means it prevents cells from growing and dividing in an uncontrolled way. 

The below url explains more on SDH and how it is least studied but gaining more importance due to disease prevention qualities such as cancer preventive:

    This is a very good article found on by a writer who was attempting to explain what, and how, does muscle stimulation work. 

   I've reprinted it below so you can have another perspective on understanding what happens when electricity enters the body to fire motor nerves in conjunction with volitional exercising. 

  Red fibers are type 1 fibers or,  slow twitch fibers,  white are type 2 fast twitch fibers.



  • Individual Sessions - Preparation

   EMS works best as the last training element of the day, separated from other work by at least two hours. This is usually done at night before bed, as it can be done at home and the supra-maximal stimulus it provides is

excellent for promoting the release of growth hormone during sleep.  Use a hot shower as warm up preparation, being careful to remove any oils or creams from the areas to be treated to ensure proper conductivity (oils left on

the skin can cause the current to jump around the skin surface causing considerable discomfort). The increased blood flow in the muscles after the shower heats the muscle motor neurons, lowers electrical resistance, and makes

them more receptive to EMS.

  Start the EMS session with a gentle pulsing mode for three to five minutes to complete the warm-up before starting the maximal contractions. Warm down using the same pulsing method.


  • Contractions - Timing

   Each muscle group is stimulated maximally for ten reps of ten seconds duration with a fifty second rest period between contractions. It's critical to maintain the rest periods as prescribed as this is the absolute minimum

recovery time needed to maintain a maximal contraction on the next rep. A shortened rest period may, in fact, change the nature of the exercise so that it enhances the wrong fiber type.

  Sprinters use the full ten second contraction time, though shot putters and linemen find that six seconds is about the longest they can maintain a maximal contraction. In either case, the same fifty second rest period must
be maintained.

  • Procedure

   Though modern stim equipment allows for a number of muscle groups to be stimulated simultaneously, never work more than two muscle groups at a time. The athlete must be able to determine where the stimulus is coming from.

Keep the limbs straight and unsecured. Never stimulate antagonists at the same time for safety reasons. This also allows the athlete to concentrate on the contraction in isolation for learning reasons.

When stimulating the soles of the feet, have the athlete stand on the pads to prevent cramping. The athlete must always control the intensity of the contraction as the amount of current necessary for a maximal contraction

varies widely between individuals depending on fiber type, fat distribution (fat is an insulator), muscle size, and injury history.   As a rule, sprinters require much less current to achieve a maximal contraction because

their higher percentage of white fiber provides less resistance. The better the sprinter, the more this is so. EMS units have a "rise-time" feature (the time it takes to ramp up the contraction from zero to max) that is

either preset or adjustable. Where it's adjustable, choose the shortest time the athlete can tolerate, usually half to three-fourths of a second.

  • Crank It Up

    Most users never come near the level of contraction they need for best results, especially in clinical settings. To understand the intensity the athlete needs to experience, have him contract the quads as hard as he

possibly can voluntarily, and then have him imagine a goal 30% higher than that! The contraction is massive, and it feels that way! Don't worry about "burning" the muscle though, as it takes only five-millionths of an amp to

maximally contract the quad.

   To give you an example of what I mean by cranking it up, my athletes would often have to bite down on a piece of leather or a stick while being "stimmed". Is it really that painful? Well, it should feel like riding up a very steep and long hill on a

bike. That's the type of "burn" you should feel.

  • Electrode Pad Placements

    Most EMS (Electronic Muscle Stimulators) come with a series of electrode pads secured by Velcro straps. This is a very cumbersome and time-consuming arrangement that can be greatly improved with the purchase of self adhesive pads. Choose pads that are two inches and be sure to replace them when they lose their stickiness.

    When choosing pad placements, a lot of experimentation will be needed to find the most comfortable and effective setup, though four pads per large muscle group usually helps. Since the EMS contraction is always strongest

around the negative pole, you should place the negative pad over the largest bulk of the muscle to keep the contraction even throughout the muscle.  When treating the quad muscles, keep the pads towards the outside part of

the upper quads to keep the current from jumping over into the groin area unexpectedly. In a four pad setup, crossing the pairs of leads in an "X" pattern may help ensure a tolerable, but complete contraction.

  • Recovery with EMS: The Fallacy

    The search for ever greater specificity, compounded by a basic misunderstanding of exercise itself, has driven athletes away from low intensity work, much to their detriment. For decades, exercise programs have been based

on the false premise that exercise doesn't count unless it's carried out at 70% of maximum voluntary contractile force or lasts at least twenty minutes, the threshold for protealysis (the breakdown of proteins in the muscle).

Once considered to be the precursor of muscular development, it's now known to be a side effect to be avoided if possible. In fact, steroids eliminate proteolysis and no one would suggest that steroids limit muscular growth!

  • Twofold Effect

   Low intensity exercise has a positive effect not only on recovery from high intensity work but on the high intensity work itself. While high intensity exercise is anti- circulatory as it pumps up the muscles (restricting

blood flow), low intensity exercise promotes circulation, which aids in nutrient transfer and hastens recovery.

    Exercise of a low enough intensity will not lead to detrimental fiber type changes! In fact, the enhanced capillary density it creates leads to precisely the opposite effect! The enhanced capillary density raises the

temperature around the motor neurons, lowering electrical resistance, allowing more fiber to take on the characteristics of fast twitch fiber in response to high intensity work.

  • The Treatment

    EMS used in a pulsing mode for ten to twenty minutes at very low intensity assists with recovery by stimulating circulation and the exercise it provides promotes capillary density. The effects can be enhanced if the legs

are slightly elevated during treatment. These sessions can be carried out at the end of the day, before bed, at least two hours after your last workout.

  • Rehabilitation

    EMS can play a role in the rehab of a variety of injuries and is used extensively in clinics to treat the VMO with knee cases. But its value in the rehab of hamstring injuries is poorly understood and under appreciated.

The selection of isokinetic machines over EMS contributes to a lengthening of injury downtime as the fluid resistance on which these machines rely hits the muscle all at once, causing muscle shortening and irritation. Often,

effective treatment including EMS can have the athlete back in action within ten days.

  • Injury Assessment

    Immediately after the injury, with the leg in its normal straight position, run your hand along the hamstring to feel for a depression in the muscle to determine if there's been actual fiber separation (a third degree tear).

  In all but severe cases this won't have happened, meaning it's a first or second degree strain where a quick recovery can be expected.   This must be checked before swelling sets in and fills up any depression and
afterwards the muscle should be wrapped, iced, and elevated in the usual fashion. Do not test or stretch the muscle, as further damage could occur and, regardless of the findings, the initial treatment remains the same.

  Surprisingly, it usually takes only 72 hours for the injury to heal, but extension injuries can occur above and below the original site and adhesions can form if the tissue isn't mobilized sufficiently.

   During the initial 72 hours, the athlete should stay off his feet as much as possible and an EMS pulsing mode can be applied above (not on) the injury site three to four times per day to reduce swelling and promote the

transfer of nutrients to the site. After 72 hours, very gentle EMS pulsing can be applied to the injury site once per day while retaining the pulsing routine four times per day above the site.

    From the third day on, high intensity EMS can be applied to all other muscles to maintain fitness during the recovery period. Additional therapy should include Active Release Technique (ART) if possible, to further reduce

the prospect of adhesions.

  • Bodybuilding Applications

    Most of what I've covered has dealt with non-strength athletes and rehab settings, but what about bodybuilding? Yes, EMS does have its cosmetic uses. Much like high intensity weight training, EMS increases muscular
density or "hardness". Think of Ben Johnson. If you slapped him on the back you'd think you were hitting a brick wall. Although he had a great physique, he wasn't "puffy" like Arnold; he was as hard as a rock. So the thing to
think about with EMS is density, not size. Think of it as maximal strength training and not hypertrophy training.

   Also keep in mind that EMS is for large muscle groups only. Although an expert might be able to pull it off, the average user will not be able to use it on small muscle groups like the biceps, triceps and calves. These

muscles will "roll up" on you, plus even if you could do it (like by placing your foot in a ski boot for calves) it would be excruciating.

    Bodybuilders could also use EMS to help them break through a barrier. For example, if a guy's upper body is weak as compared to his legs, he could use EMS to maintain his legs for a few weeks while focusing on upper body

training. Basically, he'd be allowing all his body's recovery mechanisms and central nervous system to focus on his upper body. He wouldn't lose any size in his legs and may even see some improvement in density during this

time of upper body specialization.

   Here's another trick that may help competitive bodybuilders. EMS can be used to temporarily "burn off" a layer of fat in small areas. What happens is that about two millimeters of subcutaneous fat is mobilized in the area

directly under the pads. You can compare this to the effect seen when shooting growth hormone, i.e., there's local mobilization of the fat at the point of injection.

    Now, since that layer of fat is a protective mechanism, this isn't permanent. In fact, the effect doesn't last long at all. Once the area under the pad starts to cool, the fat starts storing again. So if you're already
very lean and are competing in a bodybuilding show, you'd have to use the machine (possibly even backstage) and then cover up and keep warm until you hit the stage.

  • Selecting a Machine

    Are the machines in the muscle magazine ads powerful enough? Most are. This is because they're designed for fat, non-athletes. It takes power to get through all that fat, after all. For an athlete who has a lot of white fiber (which conducts better) and very little fat, most machines are fine in terms of power. The machines we used with athletes were converted Slender Tone machines that were originally designed for fat women!

   When looking for a machine there are a few things to keep in mind. First, I've seen good ones for as little as $280 as well as over a thousand. Some of them only allow you to use two seconds on/two seconds off pulses and

rest periods. You don't want that (although that's fine for abs since abs should be trained as endurance fibers for ten to fifteen minutes at a time). Instead, look for a machine that allows you to control the rest periods.

You'll want to be able to get ten second contractions with fifty second rest periods.

   The price may also affect the comfort level of the machine, though this isn't always the case. More expensive machines may be more comfortable to use. A machine with higher hertz is usually more comfortable and better for

sprinters, but the battery life will be very short. A low hertz machine has better battery life. Lastly, look for quality in the leads and pads.

  • Conclusion

  No, EMS will not give you Arnold's biceps while sitting on the couch, but as you can see, it does have many uses in athletics, rehabilitation, and even for bodybuilding. Just remember, crank it up!

The views & opinions in this article are those of Charlie Francis of Medword.






   Often the breakdown of a joint's cartilage can lead to osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of arthritis.  The breakdown of the cartilage leads to bone on bone and deterioration of the bones.  The protective cartilage is suppose to 

prevent the damage and act as a shock absorber between the bones.  As the cartilage deteriorates that may lead to additional stretching of other tendons and ligaments in the supporting structures.   The additonal stress now placed on the 

ligaments and tendons can also contribute to the pain the patient feels.  If left untreated there eventually will be chronic pain and gradual loss of motion inhibiting the patient's ability to do things and care for him or herself.  Osteoarthritis generally 

occurs in mid age and older people, more prevalent in women than men, and rare in younger people.  Osteoarthritis basically affects most mobile joint areas, as distinguished from non mobile such as cranial bones.  

   A progressor of osteoarthritis is being overweight.  The actual causation though is not the weight, but the lack of supporting musculature to support the additional weight.  If the muscles do not support the weight then the joints bear the burden

of supporting it and the cartilage is exposed to more impact and compaction.  Tendons and ligaments stretch due to the prolonged weight.   Over time, this is why middle age/older disease the cumulative effects occur and,  the diagnosis becomes


   There is one simple way to prevent the occurence, or correct the anatomical problems associated with osteoarthritis.  The longer, more time involved process is simple exercising such as what is listed below from Todd P. Stitik, MD, professor

of physical medicine and rehabilitation at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School.   This type exercise specific to knee osteoarthritis illustrates the exercise logic and methodology.

   The single best curative and prevention is to do as recommened in traditional exercise however supplement the exercises with about 7 - 10 reps using functional electrical stimulation.  This is simply using a device such as the Infrex

Plus or the soon to be released Infrex FRM to strengthen the muscles quicker and with less pain.  The same concepts that allow an ACL reconstruction surgery patient to return to full function in 3 months, not 9 months applies.  


Supporting Knee Structures

Image from

This is the actual timeline of events for This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. recovering and returning to basketball following surgery for acl, lateral meniscus, and torn knee fragment tissues in knee.  Video here on her "younger playing days"!!


The physician with Orthopaedic Specialists of North Carolina was:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Nurse Practictioner of Dr. Wheeless is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The physical therapist, owner of Orthopedic Physical Therapy was This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Functional Restorationist clinician was Richard O'Quin, ATC. - Email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Click on Functional Restoration for more information on the process.




The injury occurred on Saturday, July 14, 2012 in an AAU basketball tourney in Greensboro, N.C.

The surgery was performed on Thursday, July 26, 2012.

Scoliosis Spinal Curvature

    Last week at my daughter's high school I met a young man, about 17 y.o., who had undergone corrective wrist surgery for scoliosis complications and he told me he had an implanted rod for his back curvature.   I told him of a study done 20+ years ago in which a functional electrical stimulation machine was used to strengthen the back muscles to correct some of the excessive curvature of the spine. 


The Practice Of Homeopathy

    I want to tell you how we became interested in homeopathic medicine which you may believe in,  or may not,  but here's how we became interested in it.
    We had our herb shop, Cameron Park Botanicals, and tried our darndest to stay outside the medicinal use of herbs basically due to the FDA restraints at that time.  One of the restraints was if we had an herbal elixir like Echinacea we were not allowed to have the medicine on a shelf with any book or article on how to use for medical purposes. Contrast that today with most pharmacies where the herbal supplements are front and center, displayed in the most prominent location in the pharmacy.   The cost of the herbal extracts also was minimal to us and the customer, which meant lots of time talking for a gross profit of $2 or $3.00 per bottle.  If our time was worth minimum wage, our advice was more expensive than the profit we made on the extract.  
   However the big problem was we had many customers wanting us to carry herbal medicines as well as homeopathic remedies.  Of course, as we all know, the customer wins so off we went on our medicinal herb and homeopathic remedies. 
   At that time it was generally unknown but in North Carolina before one could present oneself as a homeopathic practictioner he/she had to have a medical degree.  In other words the Homeopath was a licensed M.D. who chose advance training in homeopathic medicine.  Generally this training occurred in Europe, often in Germany,  the birthplace of homeopathic medicine.  
   One of the ways we introduced homeopathy to our customers was to invite Dr. George Guess from Asheville, N.C. to lecture on homeopathic principles and educate our customers to the science behind the use of homeopathic remedies. 
   Dr. Guess did a very fine lecture and was a good resource for us over time when we had questions to ask   However at that time the practice of homeopathy was frowned upon by the N.C. Medical Board and Dr. Guess found himself constantly in trouble, incurring large legal bills defending himself and his practice of homeopathy.   Eventually he became tired of spending his time fending off the Board and chose to relocate to a friendlier environment.  He moved his home and practice to Charlottesville, Va.
   There was quite an uproar he left behind in N.C.   Many patients, former and present, were disgusted they were not allowed to see their Dr. who had helped them with their ailments unless they went to Virginia.  The legislature was petitioned by many concerned citizens who felt N.C. residents were being denied their choice of treatments due to the practices of the N.C. Medical Board.  The results of that disgust was a law that became known as the "George Guess Law".  
   In a nutshell the Legislature told the N.C. Medical Board to lighten up or there would be laws passed to insure N.C. citizens had choice.  North Carolina went from one of the most restrictive states to possibly the most liberal in allowing choice in medical treatments by the consumer.  
   For more on what is homeopathy please go to this homeopathic article on our web site blog.  You can comment on this email and the article on our blog at bottom of article in the blog post space.
  So now you know more of the story as to how alternative treatments became permissive in the state of North Carolina. 



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