What is Action Potential Simulation? What is an APS Therapy machine?
Action Potential Simulation is sending an electrical copy of a nerve signal along the cells of the body, in between two electrodes. An APS Therapy machine is a machine that does this! I am always going on about this because it’s my passion, and also, now, my business, because of the results it has had in reducing pain in my patients with MS.
As an MS specialist nurse, I have always been aware of how much pain can be a problem in MS. The big one is ‘neuropathic’, or unpleasant burning, tingling or shooting pains that are the result of inflammation, or scarring in the nervous system. ‘Normal’, or ‘nociceptive’ type pain in MS can typically include cramping muscle spasm, pain in stiff or very tired muscles, or the sorts of back or joint pains that can be caused by by being less mobile, or putting a strain on certain joints. Because the medications used, especially for neuropathic pain, can cause very problematic side-effects, including increased fatigue, weight gain, cognitive impairment, co-ordination problems and mood problems, I have always been on the lookout for new, natural, or left-field treatments.
I heard about APS Therapy when my friend, manager of the pain team in Hull, called to say that I might be interested in some training they were having in something a bit different which they were about to start a pilot study in for people with rheumatoid arthritis, and people with MS.
It actually took a year before the Hull team were able to start their study, and during this time, my workplace, the Beds & Northants MS Therapy centre, had already allowed us to get started with a clinic machine, running first one, and quite soon, due to popular demand, two machines. Our clinic has now been running for 5 years, now using 4 APS Therapy clinic machines, and one home-use rental machine, and is very busy every weekday, with lots of really happy stories of improved pain and symptoms, and less use of medication.
11 other MS Therapy centres around the country have also taken on APS Therapy as a service they offer, ( Leicestershire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Hampshire, Cardigan, Exeter, Manchester, Sutton and Croydon, Suffolk and the MS-UK Wellness centre in Colchester) I personally also took on the lead for UK training and distributorship, and this year, with supervision from the University of Bedfordshire, we aim to carry out a clinical trial on the effects of APS Therapy in people with MS.
What are action potentials?
APS stands for action potential simulation. Action potentials are the tiny waves of electricity that pass down nerves and other cells, conducting the nerve signal and stimulating cellular functions. Action potential simulation therapy machines send a copy of this wave, or ‘wave form’ , and also stimulate the body’s own action potentials, between electrodes on to the skin. This results in better communication between cells, improved removal of the waste products of inflammation, and increased production of the hormone melatonin, neuro-transmitter leukine encephalin and the energy carrying molecule, adensoine triphosphate, or ATP, which can result in pain relief, faster injury repair and enhanced energy.
The results to the user, when it works, include reduction in, or sometimes complete relief of pain, enhanced energy/reduced fatigue, enhanced recovery from injury or exercise, and in many cases, improvement to sleep quality and quantity.
So what were the results with our patients?
In Bedford, we have been running our clinic now for over 5 years, but at the 2 year point, we compiled and analysed the outcome measurements, and were able to show the statistical significance in pain relief in a paper and also clinical posters, which were exhibited at a number of international MS conferences in 2016.
In the first 2 years we treated 60 people with a 6 week course of APS Therapy 2-3 x a week, for pain.
(We planned for 3 x a week, but in reality this was often 2) We found that 78% of those people had a reduction in pain; 23% to pain free.
The average reduction in pain was 3.22 for ‘usual’ pain, and 4.78 for ‘worst’ pain on the
10 point ‘Visual Analogue Scale’ (VAS)
In practice, there was a great variety, from no change, to dramatic drops from high pain levels to pain free, as you can see on the following charts.
We broke the pain types down to study the effects, and our biggest group was ‘neuropathic pain in feet and legs’. Here is the before and after bar graph for that pain at ‘usual’ level from that group; before is dark blue, and after pale blue.
Average VAS (0-10 scale) pre: 6.06 Average post: 2.65
And here is the same pain at ‘worst’ levels:
Average VAS Pre: 8.3 Post: 3.6
The other pain groups were ‘other neuropathic pain’, ‘joint pain or injury’, ‘back pain’ , ‘headaches’ and ‘other nociceptive pains’; all of these groups had an overall reduction in pain; the greatest was for ‘joint pain and injury’.
We found that whilst joint pain, musculoskeletal pain and injury sometimes needed only a short course of treatment to be resolved, neuropathic pain in MS is very often helped, but if it is long term, is likely to need maintenance after the first 6 weeks, of once a week treatment, which for most people, is enough.
In general, people were extremely happy with the treatment. 33 of these first 60 people reduced or discontinued medication as a direct result, which also added to their wellbeing.
One of the most enjoyable things about being involved in running an APS Therapy clinic at work, is hearing about people with MS reporting not just pain relief, but many other benefits, and the positive impact this has had on their quality of life.
We’ve had reports of reduction in spasms, elevation in mood, improvement to sleep quality, cessation of recurrent UTIs when on 3 x week, disappearance of fatty/benign lumps, improvements to constipation, hormonal balance, and have just had some really big breakthroughs with trigeminal neuralgia.
The most common have been energy improvement/fatigue reduction, and because of this, our clinic is now open for people who want to try APS for these reasons, or to help after relapse, when recovery seems to have hit a plateau.
APS Therapy is not a cure for, nor does it have an effect on the course of MS, however, it is a very exciting treatment for some of the invisible, but also potentially disabling symptoms of the condition, especially as there is no risk, and is generally free of side-effects.
We are lucky to have had a wonderful team of volunteers in our APS Therapy clinic, led by our clinic manager, Heather, to teach and assist people, and in my private business I hire, sell and allow people to trial APS Therapy, teaching them how to use it over Skype, Facetime or Whatsapp videocalling.
It’s my aim to attract researchers to conduct large scale clinical research so that we can explore the possibilities of APS Therapy and make it more widely known about; in the meantime, I will be conducting a small clinical trial in 2019 with colleagues in the NHS.
At www.painfreepotential.co.uk there are lots of words from people with MS but a recent one that made me smile was from Nina Pearce, from Chelmsford, who said: