TECAR, (Transfer of Electricity – Capacitive and Resistive), is a high frequency current using two electrodes/modes – CET (capacitive) and RET (resistive). The first mode operates superficially, and the latter mode passes through the deep tissue, its intensity will depend on the resistance of the tissue.

TECAR therapy is an incredibly unique equipment that we have used in our clinic for many years and we are proud to be the leading TECAR clinic in London! However, many of us have not even heard of this therapy much less know how it can help us… Rest assured, after reading this article of studies you will know if TECAR can help you.

TECAR Therapy has been used in practice for over 20 years. It increases the temperature, improves the circulation, and has analgetic effect. The diathermic effects result immediately in vasodilation and the current also accelerates the lymphatic drainage. Furthermore, the current promotes cellular exchange by stimulating intra- and extracellular transfer of the ions. The indications for TECAR Therapy are various musculoskeletal injuries/pains, circulatory problems, degenerative conditions such as OA, sport preparation and physio-aesthetics purpose.

Effective in musculoskeletal disorders

The systematic review done by Beltrame et al. [1], reviewed 13 articles using TECAR for various musculoskeletal disorders and knee OA, from which, 9 were randomized controlled trials. The results revealed this treatment to be effective in decreasing pain, increasing quality of life, and improving disability in patients with MSK disorders. This study suggests further research in different fields, such as neurology and rheumatology [1].

Temperature, Perfusion and Microcirculation

The randomized controlled pilot study from Clijsen et al. [2] focused on perfusion of the skin, microcirculation, and intramuscular blow flow after applying TECAR therapy. This study compares placebo, capacitive application, and resistive application on ten healthy subjects. There was a statistically significant difference in perfusion of the skin microcirculation between placebo and capacitive and resistive. For the intramuscular blood flow, only resistive application induced significant change compared to placebo [2]. This confirms resistive’ s ability to have a deeper impact.

Non-specific Lower Back Pain

The study by Tashiro et al. [3] compared the effects of combining TECAR therapy with exercises on non-specific chronic lower back pain. Twenty-six subjects were divided into two groups, the group of 15 have been doing only exercises, while the group of 11 have been doing exercises combined with TECAR Therapy. The measured outcomes were: pain intensity, functional disability and trunk function at base, post-intervention and at one- month follow-up. Only the TECAR group has significantly improved functionally at post-intervention, and that stayed same at follow-up. The results suggest that TECAR combined with exercises has proven to be more effective on non-specific lower back pain in comparison to exercises alone [3].

TECAR and Lymphedema

An interesting study conducted on severely obese patients with lower limb lymphedema bilaterally – done by Cau et al. [4]. Forty-eight subjects (BMI>40 kg/m2) were assigned to three groups: lymphatic drainage, pressure therapy and TECAR. Alongside these treatments, the patients had been doing a multidisciplinary rehab program as well. Further to this, results had been compared to a control group of 12 subjects undergoing a rehab program only. There was a significant reduction in volume after 6 TECAR sessions in the whole limb and in the thigh, what suggest that TECAR contributes to an early reduction of the edema, thus improves the function and reduces pain [4].

Knee Osteoarthritis

A randomized controlled trial by Coccetta et al. [5] applied TECAR Therapy on patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) for 2 weeks measuring the pain, function, strength, stiffness at base, post- and at follow-ups of one and three months comparing the results to the placebo group. The TECAR group significantly improved in all measured aspects. This study highlights the low-cost of the treatment and long-term benefits of TECAR therapy to the patients [5].

Another randomized controlled study by Kumaran et Watson [6] investigated thermo-physiological responses after applying TECAR treatment on 45 patients with knee OA assigned to TECAR, placebo TECAR and control group. The measured outcomes were: skin temperature and blood flow, deep blood flow, core temperature, blood pressure and pulse rate at pre-, post- and at 20 minutes follow-up. Compared to a placebo and control group, the TECAR group resulted with an increased skin temperature and blood flow, further intensity, and volume of deep blood flow [6].

Achilles Tendon

Bito et al. studied the acute effects of TECAR therapy on the Achilles tendon in 16 healthy men who underwent both, placebo and TECAR treatment [7]. Studied was: tendon elongation and blood circulation features such is haemoglobin volume, de- and oxygenated haemoglobin for 5 minutes before the trial and 30 minutes post. The TECAR trial resulted with significantly higher total haemoglobin volume and oxygenated haemoglobin, and tendon elongation [7]. This confirms that TECAR improves the blood circulation in the Achilles tendon region, thus this knowledge can be used in the treatment of various tendinopathies.

Shoulder Impingement

A retrospective comparative study by Paolucci et al. looked at the pain intensity and the function (disability questionnaires and scales) in 46 patients divided into TECAR and placebo groups with shoulder impingement at pre-, post- and at 2 months follow-up [8]. Patients received 3 treatments of either TECAR or placebo per week, for the period of three weeks. Both, functional scores, and pain intensity improved at follow-ups for the TECAR groups, which was not true for the placebo group [8]. This study highlights the small number of sessions with long-lasting benefits of the treatment.