The history of microcurrent must, of necessity, begin with the history of electricity itself. Long before there was a science of electricity humans recognized this force by observing it in the natural world and by the sensation it produced. Historians tell us that the ancient Egyptians knew of the shock produced by electric fish in the Nile River. Later, ancient Greek, Roman and Arab naturalists also noted the power produced by electric fish and eels. The first medical application of this force dates back to ancient times. Headaches, seizures, gout and other conditions, were routinely treated by having the patient stand in a basin of water to which an electric eel was introduced. Around 600 BCE, Thales produced static electricity by rubbing a piece of amber. The sensation of static electricity seemed to be therapeutic. Rubbing a piece of amber also rendered it magnetic, attracting various objects to it. Magnetic healing may be older than healing with electric current. The Egyptians, Greeks and Chinese all used magnetite or loadstone for healing.
The Arabs in the fifteenth century were the first to recognize that lightning was electric but in the West, electricity would remain just a curiosity until around 1600. At that time British scientist William Gilbert distinguished the forces involved in rubbing amber from that produced by loadstone. Many others experimented with electricity including Benjamin Franklin who confirmed in 1752 that lightning was indeed electricity. Electrical research was helped greatly by the development of the Leyden jar. Discovered independently by German cleric Ewald Georg von Kleist and Dutch scientist Pieter van Musschenbroek of Leyden in 1745, the Leyden jar allowed static electricity to be stored and thus provided a source for further scientific study.
In 1791, Luigi Galvani proved that electrical current was the way that neurons conveyed information to muscles thus explaining, in part, the therapeutic effects of electricity witnessed by ancient physicians thousands of years before. In 1800 Alessandro Volta created the first battery or voltaic pile which was a much more reliable source of current for research compared to the older static electricity generators.
The 19th century saw an exponential increase in the amount of research and knowledge about electricity. The relationship between electricity and magnetism allowed electric generators to be developed. Although the first electrostatic motor was devised in the 1740s, it wasn’t until the mid and latter 1800s that the first practical DC and AC motors and generators were introduced into commerce. Electricity conveyed over wires, became a method of communication called the telegraph soon to be followed by the telephone. By the beginning of the 20th century large scale power generation and distribution had become a reality. Many, many researchers and inventors contributed to the progress, whose names we still recognize today: Oersted, Ampere, Ohm, Faraday, Henry, Morse, Bell, Edison, Tesla, and Westinghouse among them.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, there was no shortage of medical devices and contraptions on the market. We are all familiar with vintage advertising images for electric belts that were supposed to cure back pain, kidney disease, hernias and sexual dysfunction and for electric hairbrushes promising to cure headaches and hair loss. There were also professional devices for use by physicians and many of them have long since been relegated to the trash pile of useless medical equipment.
There is the work of one physician, however, that’s not so easy to dismiss. Albert Abrams, MD is still considered to be a quack by medical historians but what is one man’s quackery can be another man’s genius. Around the beginning of the 20th century, Abrams discovered that when he was percussing the abdomen of a cancer patient, the sound was somehow different. Being a professor at a local medical school, Abrams had access to all sorts of pathological tissue samples so he had a healthy assistant hold a piece of cancer tissue while he percussed the assistant’s abdomen. It made the same sound as the cancer patient’s abdomen. Abrams soon mapped out locations on the front and back of the chest and torso where reflexes for specific diseases could be found. His diagnoses based on these reflexes seemed to be accurate. He invented electrical devices to diagnose and treat various conditions. By tuning the treatment devices to certain frequencies that extinguished the reflex, the corresponding disease could be treated and cured. He believed that all healthy and diseased tissues had a corresponding frequency and that this could become the foundation for a system of diagnosing and treating human disease. He established the Electronic Medical Foundation, a teaching organization that taught his system and leased his equipment.
Many MDs and quite a few DOs took his course and used his equipment with success. Others were skeptical and by the time Abrams died in 1924 there were already several legal investigations into his methods. The medical establishment maintained that only electrical current strong enough to spasm muscle and burn the skin could be of benefit to patients. So-called scientific “experts” at the time examined Abram’s diagnostic circuitry and could make no sense of it. They felt that his treatment devices used current that was too low. They had no understanding of the various frequencies he was using. In the 1920s, 30s and 40s many competitors produced their own versions of the Abrams machine with some manufacturers making excessive claims for their equipment. The mainstream medical establishment was outraged and the doctors were partly responsible for their own difficulties by their marketing practices. You see, this was long before the discovery of antibiotics and the development of modern pharmacology and these doctors were treating cancer, tuberculosis, syphilis, influenza and many other difficult chronic diseases with their devices. Local prosecutors aligned with the AMA set about to close down these doctors throughout the United States. By the 1960s these devices where exiled to the closets and back rooms of medical offices all over the U.S. as the legal risks of their use far outweighed the financial benefits to the individual doctors. This is where the history of FSM begins.
Harry Van Gelder (1905-1995) was born in Indonesia to Dutch parents. He later moved to Australia where he studied science and engineering at the University of Sydney. Around the age of 23, he became interested in the herbal medical system native to Indonesia as well as homeopathy. Harry received degrees in osteopathy, naturopathy, and physiotherapy in the UK. He was also familiar with Ayurveda. He and his sister, Dora Van Gelder Kunz (the co-developer of Therapeutic Touch) were both students of C.W. Leadbeater and lifelong members of the Theosophical Society. He and Dora were medical intuitives.
In the 1940s, Harry moved to Vancouver BC and bought an osteopathic practice from a retiring Canadian DO. Along with the practice came a number of electro medical machines. He taught himself how to use them and along with osteopathic manipulation, homeopathy and nutrition, he treated patients from the US and Canada with many types of ailments including cancer and developed a local reputation as a healer. In 1955, he moved back to Australia with his family returning in 1972, to Ojai, California.
In 1980 chiropractic student, George Douglas heard about Harry’s reputation as a healer and went to Ojai to study with Harry. He spent three months with Harry learning his methods. He wrote down some of the frequencies that Harry used for treatment. George Douglas, DC graduated from Western States Chiropractic College in 1983 and began to teach there. Carol Mc Makin met him at the student health service there when she was a chiropractic student in 1991. The next year, George purchased a microcurrent device used to give anti-aging facials because it was the only machine he could find that had 2 channels like Harry’s old machines. Around 1996, Dr. Mc Makin began using microcurrent in her chiropractic practice. Since that time she has not only reintroduced Van Gelder’s work to the world but she has researched and further developed his approach – medical microcurrent using tissue specific frequencies on a 2 channel/4 electrode system.
The history of how she did all of this work is told in her books: Frequency Specific Microcurrent in Pain Management (2011) and more recently The Resonance Effect (2017). I first learned about Albert Abrams more than 30 years ago. Some of the famous homeopaths of the golden age of homeopathy investigated and used his machines. When I first went into practice there were all sorts of these devices for sale. They were supposed to help you select the correct remedy for the patient. They were all overpriced and not very trustworthy in my opinion. In 2013 while searching the internet I came across Dr. Mc Makin’s work. It made sense, had some research behind it and was based, in part, on Abrams’ work further expanded by an osteopath/homeopath named Van Gelder. When I noticed that an introductory workshop was being offered in Hartford, Connecticut, I jumped at the chance. At that intro course I could feel the frequencies delivered to the tissues just like I can feel the energy of the correct homeopathic medicine for my patients. I bought a small home unit and treated my big toe with a gout protocol. I don’t have gout but I do have an arthritic big toe on my right foot, a remnant from Lyme disease many years ago. When the treatment was over, I flexed my toes and that big toe let out a loud crack with instant improvement in range of motion. I was convinced. This year when a spare room opened up in my office, I started integrating FSM (frequency specific microcurrent) into my practice.
The state of biophysical knowledge has been vastly expanded since Abrams’ time. TENS units (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) were invented in the mid- 1970s and were later approved by the FDA for the treatment of pain. TENS units don’t make muscles twitch or burn the skin, they block pain signals. They are now available over the counter in drug stores and on the internet. The units used in FSM are cleared by the FDA as TENS units, although they operate at 1/1000th the level of current.
There is actually a science of “energy medicine” best described in books such as James L. Oschman’s Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis (2016). Just as there is the biochemical study of living tissue, there is also the bio electromagnetic study of living tissue. It is a parallel discipline slowly developing in the background with the foreground being dominated by the biochemical model preferred by big pharmaceutical interests. The history of this science is too long and detailed to be part of this blog. Suffice it to say that we now know that there is a DC microcurrent- nervous system within each of us. Here are two “proofs of concept” that relate to Abrams’ original ideas.
Can cancer be cured with microcurrent?
Yes! Just check out this Ted Talk – https://www.ted.com/talks/bill_doyle_treating_cancer_with_electric_fields . It shows you how an electrical therapy cured a man’s glioblastoma, a brain tumor that is always fatal. This therapy was developed by an Israeli company, Novocure, using their proprietary frequency set. They have received FDA approval for the treatment of glioblastomas and they are involved in clinical trials for most major cancers. Their frequencies create what they call a TTF (tumor treating field) that disrupts the cell division of malignant cells. Is this the same exact thing Abrams was doing? No, but they are using the same concept that was considered quackery 100 years ago. https://www.novocure.com/
Is there some kind of reflex that can tell you what frequencies are needed?
Yes! In 2009, Alexandre Barbault and colleagues published an article in the Journal of Experimental &Clinical Cancer Research, showing that they could determine the best frequencies of electromagnetic fields for specific types of cancers. https://www.scribd.com/document/137671231/Cancer-Scan. They used a biofeedback device that measured pulse rate, blood pressure and electrical skin resistance to tell them when they had found the specific frequency for each patient with a specific cancer type. They treated 28 stage 4 patients along with conventional cancer therapies. Patient lives were extended from 11 to 34 months. In 2007, this system was used in a clinical trial to treat hepatocellular carcinoma. Is this the same system that Abrams used? NO. The point is, however, that measuring blood pressure, pulse and skin resistance is a way to check the reaction of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS helps regulate body systems that are not under voluntary control. What Abrams was doing by his percussion procedure was a form of muscle testing. An early method of assessing a patient’s ANS which couldn’t be influenced by wishful thinking on the part of the patient. This ANS testing was not understood 100 years ago and was part of the reason his work was called into question.
FSM is not used for the treatment of cancer because there aren’t any clinical trials to support such use. However, it can be used to treat the pain associated with metastatic cancer and thus reduce the reliance on opioid medication. It can also help recovery from the toxic effects of chemotherapy and radiation as well as support the immune system and promote better sleep.
For more than 20 years, Dr. Mc Makin has taught basic and advanced FSM courses to professionals all over the world and continues to amass a database of useful frequencies and successful case study reports. It is through this empirical method that the knowledge base of FSM has expanded. Currently, there are protocols for all body systems as well as protocols for anxiety and depression. It is not a cure all. It works if the diagnosis is correct and if the proper frequencies are selected. For me, it is another tool along with homeopathy, osteopathy and conventional medicine that I use to promote healing from within.