7 Golden Rules of Orthopedic Electro-acupuncture - Rick Bernard

7 Golden Rules of Orthopedic Electro-acupuncture - Rick Bernard

Electro-acupuncture is one of those treatment protocols that was barely covered in TCM school. There's not many textbooks on the subject either so it's not surprising that few acupuncturists know how to properly use an electro-stimulation device.

In comes Rick Bernard, former Golden State Warriors basketball player turned leading electro-acupuncture expert in the field of acupuncture orthopedics, who has dedicated over 10 years of his TCM career to finding the secret to the powerful effects of electro-acupuncture.

With over 25 years of clinical experience and 65,000 + patient visits for Kaiser Permanente's chronic pain and Occupational Medicine clinics, as well as a thriving private practice, Rick Bernard offers real world, cutting edge insights on treating painful conditions using electro-acupuncture. Although Rick spent 10 years researching what he knows today, he shared his findings and clinical pearls with us in one short day!

Here are some highlights below:

  • Use needles with a metal handle. Clip the leads to the handle, NOT shaft. (Rick uses 36 gauge for body points).
  • When inserting the needle, be sure to insert all the way in with just a bit of the shaft exposed. Once again, attach clips to handles ONLY.
  • For pain conditions, be sure to needle INTO the trigger point. Cross and bi-directional needling is also recommended when using e-stim because it has a better outcome since more area is covere d during treatment.
  • It doesn't matter where you put the leads but Rick prefers BLACK (negative) distal and RED (positive) proximal.
  • When using e-stim on the hands and arms, do NOT e-stim bilaterally! It's okay on the legs, but not the arms/hands because of the heart.
  • After placing leads on the needle handle, turn the EAC device on and increase amplitude SLOWLY until the patient feels something. When they do, increase the amplitude just a smidge more.
  • The most common pulse mode is "continuous" for pain conditions. "Mixed" pulse mode is typically used in conditions involving impairment or loss of nerve function like in Bell's Palsy.
  • When treatment is done, decrease amplitude on all leads to zero, turn off EAC device, disconnect clips from needles, then remove needles.
  • 0.5-4 Hz low frequency produces enkephalins and beta endorphins which has pain relieving effects.
  • 100 Hz high frequency produces dynorphins
  • 200 Hz produces serotonin

MISSED THE CLASS? No worries, it was all recorded so this wisdom has been preserved for a lifetime. You can get Rick's class, 7 Golden Rules of Orthopedic Electro-acupuncture, here. If you are a Gold Pass Member, find all of Rick’s videos here to begin your complimentary viewing.

Let me know how these electro-acupunncture tips and advice have helped your practice!
Donna Chow, L.Ac.