Galvanization is one of the electrotherapy treatments using a direct current. This therapy involves a forced current flow through the tissue. Electrodes are placed on the patient’s body with the use of sterile, well-moistened pads.
Parameters and wave form
To carry out galvanization treatment we use direct current or medium frequency current. The only parameter of the direct current is its value. In the case of galvanization, the electrode polarity is essential.
Effect and application
The galvanization treatment may be transversal or longitudinal. In the longitudinal method, the galvanization may be either ascending or descending.
Ascending current flow is used to:
- reduce the excitability
- relax muscles
- reduce pain
Descending current flow is used to:
- increase the excitability e.g. paresis
The anode decreases the excitability and reduces muscle tension.
The cathode causes an increase in the muscle tone and redness of the skin
- pain syndromes associated with inflammation of nerves, and nerve plexus and roots
- degenerative changes of limbs and spine joints
- difficult bone union
- peripheral circulation disorders
Method of performing treatment
Galvanization is mostly used in the limb area. The head is another frequently encountered area of electrode application. In the case of facial nerve paralysis it is recommended to apply Bergoni’s electrode – halfmask. Passive electrode should be placed in the area over the shoulder blade or on the opposite shoulder
We distinguish the following dosage depending on the current density:
- small dose – 0.01 – 0.1 mA/cm2 (of an active electrode surface)
- standard dose – 0.1 – 0.3 mA/cm2 (of an active electrode surface)
- high dose – 0.3 – 0.5 mA/cm2 (of an active electrode surface)
For example, a large dose in the case of an electrode 7x7cm and a current of 0.5 mA/cm2 will be:
7×7 cm = 49cm2
49cm2 x 0.5 mA = 24.5 mA of a total current
The most important is not the dosage but the patient sensation which determines the upper current limit.
Patient while performing a treatment should feel a tingling sensation. The current value during the galvanization treatment is a very important factor because the direct current may cause burns. Such wounds heal very poorly.
Galvanization treatment lasts 5-30 minutes.