Aussie Current is a kHz frequency burst modulated alternating current (BMAC) defined by the parameters; 1-kHz AC, 50-Hz bursts of 4ms duration and a 20% duty cycle (Ward, Robertson & Ioannou, 2004). Aussie Current, developed by Australian Dr Alex Ward, is used as a method of muscle strengthening by electrical stimulation. This neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) modality was based on the principles of Russian Current, a form of NMES which gained interest in the western world during the 1970's (Ward, Oliver & Buccella, 2006).
Waveforms Of Electrophysical Stimulation.
|Aussie is a BMAC as seen in waveform C. (Ward, 2009). Click to enlarge image.|
These parameters were developed through research examining the effectiveness of a range of low- and medium range frequencies and duty cycles, investigating torque production against perceived participant discomfort and hypoalgesic effects. The review of the literature provided evidence that Aussie Current is as effective as true interferential current (Ozcan, Ward & Robertson, 2004) and more effective than Russian Current when providing maximum electrically induced torque (MEIT) in healthy muscle (Ward, Oliver & Buccella, 2006). Aussie Current also proved to create less discomfort than pulsed current (PC), such as transcutaneous nerve stimulation (TENS), during MEIT (Ward, Oliver & Bucella, 2006). In addition, Aussie Current was found to be equally effective as TENS for pain relief (Ward & Oliver, 2007) and functional electrical stimulation (FES) for muscle rehabilitation (Ward & Robertson, 2000).
Although we could not find any specific precautions for the application of Aussie Current, it is similar to other forms of electrical stimulation and therefore similar contraindications would apply. For example: Transthoracic applications, use within 3m of operating short wave diathermy equipment, pregnancy in the vicinity of the uterus, placed in the vicinity of an inbuilt stimulator or pacemaker, an unreliable patient, or undiagnosed pain (Robertson, Chipchase, Laakso, Whelan, & McKenna, 2001).
From the data gathered by the research conducted thus far Aussie Current shows promising applications for muscle strengthening in healthy muscle, injury rehabilitation and pain relief (Ward & Lucas-Toumbourou, 2007).
Ozcan, J., Ward, A. R. & Robertston, V. J. (2004). A comparison of true and premodulated interferential currents. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 85: 409-415.
Robertson,V.J. Chipchase,L.S. Laakso, E.L. Whelan, K.M & McKenna, L.J. (2001). Guidelines for the clinical use of electrophysical agents. Australian Physiotherapy Association
Ward, A. R. (2009). Electrical stimulation using kilohertz-frequency alternating current. Physical Therapy. 89(2): 181-190.
Ward, A. R., & Lucas-Toumbourou, S. (2007). Lowering of sensory, motor, and pain-tolerance thresholds with burst duration using kilohertz-frequency alternating current electric stimulation. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 88: 1036-1041.
Ward, A. R. & Oliver, W. G. (2007). Comparison of the hypoalgesic efficacy of low-frequency and burst-modulated kilohertz frequency currents. Physical Therapy. 87(8): 1056-1063.