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Faradic Currents - How To Apply Them

Sequel to "Building a Medical Coil Set"

An extensive article accompanied by working drawings and photographs appeared in the June issue of this journal, covering the construction of a high grade electro-medical or faradic coil. Methods were there explained for testing out the polarity of the coil, and thus it becomes easy for even the novice to properly apply the positive and negative electrodes as required in the following directions for the treatment of various ordinary ills, such as, headache, nervousness, rheumatism, etc.

The accompanying illustrations show how several people may join hands so as to form a series connection to the medical or shocking coil, and as many as eight or ten people—or more, may thus join hands in a circle, evolving a great deal of amusement at parties and social gatherings. One of the illustrations shows how a second person may apply the faradic current for facial or other massage with the hand. There are two ways of giving this massage, and one of the accompanying diagrams shows the second method, whereby the person applying the currents forms a shunt circuit to the patient. Where a mild current is desired, the shunt method is preferable, while the series connection gives a harsher or stronger current.

For the purpose of giving massage treatments, there is available on the market special wrist electrodes, which have a binding-post terminal on them, to which one of the secondary wires from the apparatus may be connected. Many other forms of electrodes, including foot-plates, sponge electrodes, hair brushes, massage rollers, etcetera, are shown in one of the accompanying illustrations.

The faradic secondary current produced by medical induction coils is, as explained in textbooks, in the form of an unsymmetrical alternating current.*

Where much of this work is being done, it is always best to invest in a sensitive milli-ampere meter which can be connected in series with one of the handle cords, so that the current strength in milli-amperes being administered, can be regulated. The proper current strengths for different ailments is given in any of the works on Electro-therapeutics, which may be consulted at almost every library.

General Considerations

In treating diseases of an inflammatory nature and fevers the positive pole is generally utilized. This includes such ailments as swellings, bruises, sprains, extraneous growths and enlarged glands. In this treatment arrange the poles, if possible, the positive above the negative: while in debility, numbness, inaction, tendency to decomposition, treatment is given with the negative pole. The rule of the positive above the negative cannot always be followed in this treatment.

The primary current starts at the dry cell, passes thru one coil of wire (primary coil) thence thru the circuit-breaker thru the patient. The secondary is the induced current in the finer wire of the coil and is of much greater tension (voltage) than the primary, but not of so much volume (amperage).

The primary current is used particularly in the treatment of scrofula ulcers, cancers, extraneous growths, enlarged tonsils, enlarged joints, granulated eyelids, enlarged glands, strictures, etc.*

The secondary current is applied in the cure of nervous and inflammatory diseases and acts as a tonic upon the system. There are two methods of applying electrical currents to the body viz: 1. General Electrization; 2. Localized Electrization.

By the first method the current is past thru the entire body or part of it. By the second method, the object is to influence special nerves, muscles or organs, limiting the action of currents to these parts, or, instead of trying to influence a muscle, we may stimulate the nerve supplying it, thus reaching the same indirectly.

When the refreshing effects of the current are desired to relieve fatigue or ward off approaching paralysis some suitable exercise of the muscles should be combined with the galvanic current. Short sittings are better than long ones. In ordinary cases from two to eight minutes or at the outside fifteen minutes is long enough for a treatment.

The exceptions to this rule are in the treatment of some chronic diseases, as chronic articular rheumatism, etc., and in general electrizations, where a little longer time might be allowed.

No definite rule holds as to the frequency of sitting, as much depends upon the nature of the disease, the sex, age and habits of the patient. Some acute cases require daily-sittings, seldom more than that. In chronic cases from two to four times a week may be enough.


Connect the rectum electrode to the negative pole of the battery and place it in the anus. At the same time the positive over the stomach, liver and bowels. Use the secondary current. A small internal dose of cascara sagrada will sometimes prove beneficial. However, the use of cathartics, as a rule, is not advisable, and the above treatment is much better without them. Eat good plain digestible food. A dish of oatmeal and milk eaten in the morning will help to regulate the bowels.


Place the foot upon the foot plate, it being attached to the negative pole of the battery and apply the positive pole directly to the corn, using a small piece of sponge fastened to the ear electrode. Treatment should last about ten minutes daily. Use the primary current.


This is caused by indigestion. Let the patient live upon a light milk diet for a few days. Thoroly wash the mouth and throat frequently with borax or boracic acid diluted with water. Electrical treatment: Place the positive at the nape of the neck on the spine and apply the negative to the stomach. This treatment should last about ten minutes. Use secondary current.

Another treatment is to place the tongue electrode in the mouth having previously attached it to the positive pole of the battery and apply the negative to the neck and throat. Use primary current. A general tonic treatment two or three times a week will be beneficial.


Diabetes seems to be a nervous disease, and for that reason we recommend what is called Central Faradisation. The object is to bring the whole central nervous system under the influence of the primary current.

Place the negative pole at the pit of the stomach and pass the positive over the head and forehead, down the back of the neck and along the whole length of the spine. Use a very light current about the head and increase gradually. Do not apply the current to the head more than one or two minutes at a time. The spine will stand a much stronger current than the head. The back may be treated about five or six minutes. After this give tonic or general treatment for ten minutes, with the secondary current.


People who have to all appearances been dead, have been restored to life by electricity. The test is as follows: Place the sponge electrode (positive pole) to the back of the neck, and apply the negative to the body over the lungs and heart. A mild secondary current is first used, gradually increasing it until the patient shows signs of life. Keep this treatment up for about five minutes, also apply the negative electrode to the arms, wrists and hands.

Now sponge the whole body with the negative while the positive electrode is at the base of the spine. The room should be well aired, and the patient's feet and hands should be kept warm with hot water and^ bags.


The treatment of headaches depends upon the cause. -If caused by disordered stomach or bowels, what is called a sick headache, place the positive electrode at the base of the brain and apply the negative over the stomach, liver and bowels, using a mild secondary current. General tonic treatment of the whole body with secondary current will cure or help some patients, while central faradization (as described in treatment of diabetes) will help others.


Place the positive at the back of the neck and sponge the region of the stomach and bowels with the negative. Another method is to place the positive electrode on the tongue and the negative at the pit of the stomach. Use secondary current. If the patient is debilitated give general tonic treatment of the whole body.


If properly treated, neuralgia is one of the diseases that yield most readily to electrization. There is one difficulty in the treatment of neuralgia by electricity and that is the intensity of the pain. Often the first few treatments aggravate the pain, especially if the current is too strong or the treatment is continued too long. Not over one treatment a day should be given.

Give a general tonic treatment of the whole body every other day. For local treatment, where there is no swelling, apply the negative to the painful parts, and the positive at the hands or feet. If there is swelling apply the positive to the disease, and the negative at the hands or feet, using a secondary current.

Rheumatism—Inflammatory and Acute

Either of the above kinds of rheumatism may be treated with the positive electrode. If the trouble is about the head, neck, arms or shoulders, hold the negative in the hands and apply the positive to the painful parts.

If the pain is below the arms, apply the negative electrode to the feet and the positive to the affected parts. Drink freely of lemonade. Avoid alcoholic liquors, meats and fatty food. A rigid diet for a few days is to be recommended.


Chronic rheumatism is much more obstinate and resists a cure more than the acute kind. Very often the general tonic treatment will give relief. For local treatment, treat with the negative electrode instead of the positive as in the acute form. Also use the primary and secondary currents alternately. If the joints are enlarged treat with the positive electrode, using the primary current. Keep the body warm and the feet warm and dry. Do not allow the patient to expose himself to any dampness. The electric bath is to be recommended.


In most cases of sunstroke, electricity is a valuable agent in restoring persons who have been overcome with the heat. General tonic treatment should be given, also central galvanization as described in the treatment of diabetes. Local treatment to the head may be given and a very light secondary current should be used, positive electrode at the head and negative at the base of the spine. In all cases have the attention of a good physician.

* For further details on the action of induction coils, including the wave form of the secondary or induced current, as well as the primary current, reference may be made to several works on induction coils including the following: "How To Make Induction Coils and Transformers," by H. W. Secor, and a later revised edition by J. S. Curtis, "Induction Coils in Theory and Practise," by Prof. F. E. Austin, "Induction Coils," by H. S. Norrie, "Induction Coils," by Armagnat, also several other works including those by A. Frederick Collins, Allsop, and Trevert.

*See Electro-Therapeutics Handbook, by Trevert. Also Handbook of Electrotherapeutics by Dr. Strong.

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