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Dynamic Chiropractic – June 20, 1990, Vol. 08, Issue 13

Electrotherapy and Chinese Herbal Formulas in Sports Medicine

By Pi-Kwang Tsung, PhD

Some sports activities are more dangerous and some are less. All statistics indicate that light injuries consist of 75 percent of all sports injuries. About 560,000 U.S. high school sports players had suffered injury at least once from football, basketball, and wrestling in their high school years.

Since electrotherapy plays a major part in sports medicine, and light injuries consist of 75 percent of all sports injuries, the introduction of a simple, inexpensive, safe, and convenient form of electrotherapy as a first aid equipment will be beneficial to sports players.

Electrotherapy is the application of current into the body, flowing from an area of increased electrons to one of fewer electrons. Electrotherapy modalities currently in use are low-voltage therapy, high-voltage therapy, iontophoresis, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), electromyography, nerve-conduction velocities, and neuroprobe. The modern electrotherapy has been applied primarily for pain, stiffness, spasms, and spasticity, as well as for exercising innervated muscles or eliciting their functional activities.

It is assumed that once the tissue is injured, the state of its negative and positive electric charge arrangement is damaged, resulting in a difference of electric potential which in turn produces an electric current change that causes pain.

Practitioners may now opt to utilize an electrostatically charged polymer membrane pad which can be applied over an injured area. When the pad is in tight contact with the skin it completes an electrical circuit with the body. These pads are considered to be able to return the electric charge arrangement to normal in addition to stimulating pain reliever release.

Using this method, the orthopaedic departments of Beijing Union Medical College Hospital, Beijing Red-Cross Chao Yang Hospital, and Beijing Jishuitan Hospital treated 251 soft-tissue injured patients with a remarkable 90 percent effectiveness rate. Dr. Winston W. Green of Houston, Texas, has used electrostatically charged pads in his sports-injured patients with a 90 percent positive response.

They are also very effective in treating tennis elbow. The peony licorice combination also has been used in treating tennis elbow with remarkable success by Dr. H. Osada in Tokyo, Japan.

The most commonly used Chinese herbal formula for bruises is the cinnamon and hoelen formula. For the painful bruises, the peony and licorice combination can be used in addition to the cinnamon and hoelen formula. For the muscle pain and lower back pain the combination of the cinnamon and hoelen formula and the peony and licorice combination is the most commonly used. The cinnamon, atractylodes and aconite combination can be combined with the licorice and aconite combination for the treatment of the joint pain.

In conclusion, electrostatically charged pads can be included in the first-aid equipment of sports medicine because it's simple, convenient to apply, and effective.


  • P.K. Tsung, Ph.D. "Theory and Application of Anionic Therapy." (Introduction of Electro Acupad). East-West Medical Digest No. 1, 1989.
  • P.K. Tsung, Ph.D. "Sports Medicine, Electro Acupad and Chinese Herbal Formula." East-West Medical Digest No. 5, 1989.

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