Interferential therapy

26. May 2022

physiotherapy treatments using interferential therapy

Interferential therapy is a form of physical therapy treatment that involves the use of electrical impulses to stimulate the body’s muscles, tissues, and nerves.

It’s usually used for the treatment of pain, muscle spasms, and stiffness. Like other electrotherapy treatment types, it has many other health benefits too.

In this article, we’ll explore:

  • interferential therapy and how it’s used in your physiotherapy treatment.

  • other electrotherapy treatment types and explain their differences.

  • how you can access interferential therapy

What is IFT and how it’s used as a physiotherapy treatment?

Interferential therapy is a form of electrical stimulation that uses alternating currents at different frequencies to stimulate muscles and nerves.

It is often used as a physiotherapy treatment for chronic muscle pain, acute injuries, and neuropathies.

How does interferential therapy work?

Interferential therapy works by sending electric currents through the skin at varying frequencies and intensities.

Electrodes are placed on the skin near the site of pain or injury. Where varied medium-voltage, electrical current is sent through the pads to create an interference current.

The interference current frequency range, for this type of stimulation, ranges from 1-100Hz.

How is it used as a physiotherapy treatment?

After an assessment, your physiotherapist will decide if this is to be included as part of your physiotherapy treatment.

Interferential therapy sessions usually last between 10-15 minutes, you may experience a tingling sensation as you get used to it.

Interferential therapy can be used for many types of treatments, such as:

  • Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Osteoporosis

  • Bruising and Swelling

  • Postoperative Pain

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Plantar Fasciitis

  • Constipation/ incontinence

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Joint Injuries

  • Overuse Injuries and Surgical Procedures

  • Edema and Inflammation

  • Tennis Elbow

  • Sports Injuries

  • Bursitis

  • Tendonitis

Source: What is IFT and how does it work? || TensCare

What are the benefits of interferential therapy?

As with other electrotherapy treatment types, interferential therapy is drug-free and non-invasive. It also boasts of many other health benefits.

When used as part of your physiotherapy treatment, you may experience

  • Increased blood circulation

  • Increased muscle stimulation and strength

  • Reduced muscle spasms

  • Reduction of swelling

  • Relief of pain

  • Decreased blood pressure

  • Stimulation of healing hormones

  • Improved range of motion

Source : IFT: Indication, Contra-indication, Therapeutic Effect & Dangers » How To Relief

Interferential therapy improves blood flow to the muscles, helping your body heal faster.

With reduced swelling and inflammation this eases pain, allowing for decreased joint stiffness with improved mobility, range of motion, and functionality.

Are there any risks with interferential therapy?

Overall, interferential therapy is gentle on the muscles and nerves and found to have few risks. Side effects reports show patients experienced

  • Muscle fatigue/ soreness

  • Skin irritation

  • Shock

Mainly reported by those using home machines, these side effects are remedied by using a certified physiotherapist and following precise instructions for your physiotherapy treatment.

Electrode positioning also plays a crucial role in avoiding side effects and should make sure of adequate coverage of the area for stimulation.

To ensure muscle fatigue or spasm is minimum, a current crossover effect needs to be achieved.

If electrodes are incorrectly placed, this will not produce a crossover or frequency sweep and will result in the area receiving a constant signal.

Another disadvantage of interferential therapy is that, for some, it can be uncomfortable, and it takes a while before you start feeling any relief.

Is interferential therapy effective?

There are 5 main clinical applications in which interferential therapy is used

  • Pain relief

  • Muscle stimulation

  • Increased local blood flow

  • Reduction of oedema

  • Healing and repair

Source: Interferential Therapy (

Interferential therapy works by stimulating the peripheral nervous system through the electrodes on the skin.

This prompts the body's natural pain-relieving substances and reduces inflammation in the treated area.

Interferential therapy is believed to be an effective method for treating chronic pain because it has been shown to alter the way that pain signals are processed by the brain.

Difference between other electrotherapy treatment types

Like all electrotherapy treatment types, interferential therapy is a classic model in the fact it electrically stimulates nerves for therapeutic treatment.

However, similarly paired to the TENS machine, which also helps to eliminate pain. Interferential therapy stimulation has deeper penetration than its counterpart and subsequently has greater physiological effects.

Is interferential therapy right for you?

This treatment is a non-invasive, drug-free, and painless solution for pain.

It is also a great way to prevent or decrease the risk of injury.

Interferential therapy stimulates your muscles and tendons, helping them to contract more strongly and more quickly.

The stronger contraction increases blood flow to the area, which provides oxygen and nutrients to help heal the tissue faster.

So, if you are experiencing any kind of muscle or joint pain, it's worth giving interferential therapy a try!

What does CK Physio offer?

CK Physio is your leading physiotherapy clinic in Ealing, providing excellent physiotherapy treatment for various health conditions.

We offer a wide variety of services and treatments, plus multiple electrotherapy treatment types.

  • Interferential therapy
  • Ultrasound
  • Shockwave therapy

CK Physio has a team of highly qualified and experienced physiotherapists, with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide the best possible care to you.

With have excellent facilities, equipped with the latest equipment needed for these treatments.

Let’s get talking

Our CK Physio website is designed to provide an interactive experience for you.

Providing all the information you need about our services in an easy-to-navigate way.

We also operate an online booking system. So that you can book appointments in your own time, without having to waste time ringing.

A virtual consultation is a convenient and non-invasive way to find out if you’re eligible for interferential therapy and if it’s the right physiotherapy treatment for you.

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