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Ionotherapy – Origin, Benefits, Efficacy, Methodology
The principles of ionotherapy were established over a century ago and has been used in clinical settings for more than 60 years. Typically, it is used as a therapeutic intervention to transfer medicine to a specific site in the body.

What Is Ionotherapy? Where Did It Originate?
Ionotherapy refers to the technique of treating illnesses by introducing ions into the body via an electric current.1 The substances that are administered are medications such as local anesthetics and anti-inflammatory steroids. The movement of medication through the skin and into the tissues lying underneath is facilitated with the use of electric current.2

This technique is a relatively safe and painless way of delivering medicine in a clinically significant dose to cutaneous and subcutaneous tissues.2

How Is Ionotherapy Beneficial?

  • Ionotherapy can be used to get rid of excess fat, flabby skin, and cellulite.
  • It helps decrease inflammation and decreases pain associated with inflammation.
  • It helps treat infections.
  • It facilitates wound healing.
  • It helps treat recalcitrant skin ulcers.
  • It helps reduce certain types of edema.
  • It also reduces sweating of armpits, hands, and feet in patients suffering from hyperhidrosis.

Studies/Research On The Efficacy Of Ionotherapy

  • According to a study conducted by Akinbo SR and his colleagues (2007), ionotherapy was found to be effective in treating patients with knee osteoarthritis.
  • According to a study conducted by S Hariharan and fellow researchers (2006), ionotherapy with diclofenac gel helped reduce pain.
  • According to a study conducted by Schultz A.A. (2002), ionotherapy along with lidocaine is safe for young children.
  • Another study conducted by Jogunola O.O. (2013), ionotherapy is useful in reducing pain and increasing the range of motion in patients with osteoarthritis of knee.
  • Shorty M.B. (1998) conducted a study that showed that the group which received ionotherapy showed increased improvement.

How Is Ionotherapy Performed?
Ionized oxygen is injected under the skin. It uses water that has been charged with negative ions. This is done by infusing the water with minerals and seaweed.

  • When the patient is administered this charged water, the skin absorbs the negative ions.
  • Thus, the body is able to replenish whatever has been lost in the battle of everyday life.

The negative ions get diffused from from the epidermis to the dermis, thus entering the body. It helps establish an equilibrium.

There are 3 mechanisms by which ionotherapy can be used to transfer drugs across the skin:

  • Electromigration
  • Electroporation
  • Electroosmosis

Electromigration occurs when the charged or ionized form of the drug is repulsed and transferred to the skin by a similar electric field. Many drugs are also composed of ions, hence this technique works well.

Electroporation involves the formation of non-permanent pores or channels in the outer layer of the skin, known as stratum corneum.

Electroosmosis refers to the movement of solvent or fluid driven by an electric field acting on ions in the solvent.

How Can People Get Started With Ionotherapy?
Ionotherapy has attracted much attention in the last 20-25 years for the treatment of musculoskeletal diseases. It is considered to be more advantageous than other methods of treatment because:

  • It is painless.
  • It is sterile.
  • It is non-invasive.

The technique uses a direct current of low amperage to transfer topically applied physiologically active ions through the surface of the skin.

In order to achieve penetration, ionotherapy makes use of sweat ducts, hair follicles, sebaceous glands, and imperfections in the skin.

Many devices for ionotherapy have received 510 (k) marketing clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to aid in the introduction of ions of soluble salts or other types of drugs inside the body.

For the management of acute postoperative pain in adults who need opioid analgesia, ionotherapy of fentanyl may be considered necessary.

Any Precautions, Contraindications, Or Interactions
Ionotherapy is associated with the following side effects:

  • Breakdown of muscle, bone, tendon, or other collagenous tissues
  • Suppression of the production of hormones

1.Dictionary of Medical Terms. A & C Black Publishers Ltd; 2010. 480p

2. Robinson A.J. Clinical Electrophysiology: Electrotherapy and Electrophysiologic Testing. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008. 555p.

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