Effects of Low Threshold Electrical Noise on Improving Balance Function


American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)


New Orleans

Publication Date / Copyright Date

February 2011


Purpose: Stochastic resonance stimulation, which uses subsensory vibratorary or electrical noise applied to the skin to enhance somatosensory inputs, has proven to be useful in enhancing balance in the elderly, and post stroke patients. Instrumentation used in the past was not available for clinical practice. This study investigated the effect of subsensory stimulation using commonly used micro current device on balance function, in elderly subjects. Methods: This was a single group, random order, test-retest exploratory study tested 15 Subjects 65 to 87 y/o, with and without micro current. Electrical stimulation applied at the ankles; balance function was tested using single and double leg stance with eyes open and closed; tandem stance with eyes open and closed; functional reach; anterior-posterior and medial-lateral translation on center of pressure and latency on the step excursion test. Results: The micro current electrical stimulation, as compared to no stimulation, significantly increased the time on tandem stance with eyes closed. No other balance test results were significantly different between the two testing conditions. Clinical Relevance : The results may have functional implications in patients with balance deficits when faced with or challenged by situations requiring a narrow base of support and could be implemented in most clinics that have commonly available micro current stimulators. Funding source: Grant from the FPTA


Physical Therapy

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Peer Reviewed