The BioWave Difference
There are many differences between BioWave’s neurostimulators and TENS, IFC and NMES devices. BioWave “blue boxes” utilize a proprietary signal mixing technology that delivers two continuously summed, high-frequency alternating current signals through skin into deep tissue where the body creates a new set of signals, one of which is in the form of a low-frequency electrical field. This field is optimized for blocking pain and providing functional improvement including a greater range of motion and a reduction in stiffness and muscle spasm for up to 72 hours with percutaneous electrodes and for up to 24 hours with noninvasive electrodes following a 30-minute treatment. In addition to providing long-lasting efficacy, these signals are significantly more comfortable leading to improved patient treatment compliance.
BioWave High-Frequency Signal Technology
BioWave is a frequency conduction pain block. BioWave’s signal technology is based on the discovery that when two sinusoidal high-frequency signals are summed (added) together in the device and then delivered into the body through a single electrode, the signals will pass into deep tissue and affect all polarized tissues including nociceptive pain fibers. As the summed signals pass through the body, polarized structures like the membrane of the C-fiber, A-delta fiber and muscle tissue act in a non-linear fashion and force the further multiplication of these signals, resulting in a new spectrum of signals. Multiplication of the high-frequency signals results in the formation of an active therapeutic low frequency electrical field focused in approximately a 3.5-inch diameter hemisphere beneath and surrounding each electrode, not across the surface of the skin between the electrodes. This active electrical field is thought to hyperpolarize C-fibers inhibiting action potential propagation along these pain fibers (Frequency Conduction Block Theory). The active electrical field also induces hypoesthesia 5 minutes into the treatment and causes an increase in blood flow in the volume of tissue beneath and surrounding each electrode. Hypoesthesia remains at the treatment site for up to 20 minutes following a 30-minute treatment. Additionally, muscle tissue is held in tension during the treatment, so the treatment feels like a deep smooth pressure sensation.
Active Feedback Control
Both BioWavePRO and BioWaveHOME utilize the company’s patented signal technology which includes active monitoring and control of the electrical signals to ensure the accurate and safe delivery of therapeutic energy into deep tissue. BioWave neurostimulators calculate current density at the surface of each electrode in real time and automatically prevent patients from receiving too much current which could lead to a burn.
How do BioWave Neurostimulators Work?
BioWavePRO and BioWaveHOME neurostimulators deliver the two, summed high-frequency signals to the first electrode; they mix in the volume of tissue beneath that electrode, then pass to the second electrode and return to the device, completing the circuit. Instantaneously, the summed signals are delivered to the second electrode; they mix in the tissue beneath that electrode, then pass to the first electrode and return to the device.
The device alternates the summed high-frequency signals so quickly between the two electrodes that the patient cannot distinguish that the signals left either location. The net effect is there are two active electrodes, each of which can treat a distinct volume of tissue simultaneously and there is no noxious twitching sensation.
TENS vs BioWave
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
TENS devices deliver pulsed low-frequency signals across the surface of skin typically between two surface electrodes placed on either side of the painful area. The result is a surface effect based on Gate Control Theory and the patient feels a noxious twitching, electrical sensation between the electrodes. The sensation produced by TENS may act as a distraction from the pain while the device is on, however, there is little residual benefit or functional improvement once the therapy session is over.
Subcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
Low frequency signals (1-180Hz in frequency) are required to inhibit transmission of pain signals along nerve fibers in the body. However, electrical signals in this frequency range cannot pass through the skin because of the skin’s impedance and capacitance. High-frequency signals (greater than 1000Hz in frequency) easily pass through the skin. Trouble is, these signals used individually do not elicit an electrical or mechanical response from either nerve fibers or muscle tissue to inhibit pain transmission.
Interferential Current (IFC)
IFC devices use four surface electrodes (two pairs of electrodes) that are placed in an “X” pattern surrounding a painful area. IFC delivers two separate pulsed, high-frequency signals, one between each pair of electrodes. The two pulsed signals cross paths on the surface of the skin. At the point of intersection, an interference pattern develops resulting in a new low-frequency signal equal to the difference between the signals. This is called the beat frequency. Since the two signals intersect on the surface, the resulting beat frequency produces mostly a surface effect similar to TENS and based on Gate Control Theory.
Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES)
NMES devices use up to eight electrodes typically placed at proximal and distal ends of a muscle to cause repeated cyclic contractions to increase blood flow and reduce atrophy. NMES devices are not indicated for pain relief.
With the BioWavePRO Stimulator, depending on the nature and location of the painful area, the electrical signals can be focused to different parts of the body by pairing electrodes of different sizes and types with one another. If two same type electrodes of equal area are used, then two distinct volumes of tissue of similar pain magnitude can be treated simultaneously. For example, if a patient has bilateral low back pain, two equal area electrodes can be placed over the respective painful areas on each side of the spine. Two equal area electrodes can also be used to treat one larger volume of tissue by placing these electrodes closer together so that there is only 1.0 inch of space between them.
BioWave Percutaneous Electrodes
With BioWave Percutaneous Electrodes, the electrical signals can be focused by not only pairing different area electrodes with each other but also by combining percutaneous with noninvasive electrodes. Since the summed high-frequency signals pass through the skin more easily when using the percutaneous electrode, the impedance is lower in this area than at the opposing surface electrode. By having an impedance difference between the electrodes, the therapeutic low frequency field is more concentrated where the impedance is lower. Therefore, the electrical field in the volume of tissue under the percutaneous electrode, which is placed directly over the painful area, allows the nerve fibers and muscle tissue to be more readily encompassed by the therapeutic low frequency electric field.
BioWave Noninvasive Electrodes
With BioWave No-Invasive Electrodes, by pairing an electrode of smaller area with an electrode of larger area, the density of the therapeutic low frequency field is greater in the volume of tissue beneath the smaller area electrode. Therefore, the smaller electrode needs to be placed directly over the primary painful area. The larger electrode is still active (it is not a grounding pad) and may be placed over a secondary location of pain. If there is no secondary location of pain, then the larger electrode must be placed over a bony prominence near the treatment site, which is a comfortable location to receive stimulation. Placement of the larger electrode over a bony prominence allows the patient to more comfortably increase the intensity of the signal to higher levels allowing a stronger electric field to encompass the pain site under the smaller primary electrode.
"Since trying the BioWave machine, I have had immediate relief from the pain and have experienced about a 90 to 95% reduction in the pain. I have stopped taking the above mentioned medications and am feeling much better. Now, I am only on the 3rd day with the machine but the pain improvement is nothing short of miraculous."
George R. Dean
San Ramon, CA
"BioWavePRO is a great therapeutic tool for reducing pain and simultaneously improving range of motion and strength in our athletes. With multiple daily treatments, the athlete can perform rehabilitation exercises with less pain, allowing him to return to play more quickly."
Former Coordinator of Rehabilitation,
New York Giants
"BioWavePRO has been a wonderful tool to manage difficult pain conditions in my patients. For example, I have treated frozen shoulder patients who have been resistant to other therapies and whose range of motion was limited. However, when we applied BioWavePRO for eight minutes at the beginning of the PT regimen, and then while the treatment continued, we began PROM and exercise therapy with the patient. The patient was able to move more resistance through a greater range of motion with significantly less pain. I have found it to be a wonderful tool to facilitate motion and allow my patients to complete my therapy protocols much more comfortably."
Managing Clinic Director, Team Rehabilitation Physical Therapy,
Royal Oak, MI, and Team Physical Therapist, Detroit Lions