EST mode of action

When I first started my career as a marketing assistant for a large healthcare company, back in 1985, I was guided to a desk stacked with a daunting pile of scientific papers. The task delegated to me was to read, digest and convert these papers into a presentation, presumably because I had just come off the back of a degree in physiology!

The subject of all this research was the concept of ‘moist wound healing’ which demonstrated that wounds heal faster and with less pain when maintained in a moist environment. This was quite controversial at the time given that the age-old approach to healing was to dry out the wound and let a scab form, to reduce the risk of infection. Well, I really embraced the task, became very passionate, and with resulting presentation in hand, would happily bore anybody foolish enough to listen!

In actual fact, I was a very small part of a much wider effort that was pioneering an important new concept that was both controversial, and to many clinicians, quite counterintuitive. We now know of course, that this concept has stood the test of time and has spawned a huge industry of different types of dressings, all with moist wound healing claims.

Now, at the back end of an almost 40-year career in the wound care industry, I find myself doing something similar – helping to pioneer the role that endogenous electrical fields and bioelectric signalling play in wound healing, and indeed highlighting that through application of small microcurrents to a wound we can significantly stimulate the  healing process. In fact, the benefits are threefold as the application  kick-starts healing in stalled wounds, it accelerates the healing process, and it reduces pain.

Indeed, the more I look into it, the more I believe that this area is a whole lot more fundamental than moist wound healing and is arguably one of the major reasons why moist wound healing is effective in the first place (by enabling better bioelectric signalling and conductivity between the cells).

This may seem like a very new area to clinicians and my industry colleagues and somewhat left field (like moist wound healing did all those years ago) but in actual fact we have known for over 150 years that an electrical current flows when the skin is wounded. Bite the inside of your mouth and you feel the tingling caused by the electrical current. Whilst this phenomenon was initially dismissed as just an artifact of healing, we now know through numerous scientific studies that this ‘current’ of injury’ is a fundamental initiator and driver of the wound healing process; and we also know that, by applying exogenous electrical stimulation to a wound, we can enhance this natural process.

At this point I must underline that I am not a proper scientist (aside from my long distant university degree qualification), so will direct you to resources on our website for those who want to delve into this scientific explanation further with all the references.

I must also reference the advances being made more widely with bioelectricity  – brilliantly recorded recently by Sally Adee in her book ‘We are Electric’, and in a recent article.

https://www.nesta.org.uk/feature/tipping-point/spark-life-why-bioelectricity-could-revolutionise-medicine/

I do hope like me, you will find this area both fascinating and eye opening, so what about its relevance to clinical practice.

Well quietly, under the radar to most in wound care practice, both the science of bioelectricity, and the clinical application of electrical stimulation to wound healing, has been developing. Indeed, with over 35 RCTs demonstrating efficacy, this is now arguably one of the more evidence based technologies in the field.

So why is this technology not used more in clinical practice? Surely, that given there is such an epidemic of non-healing wounds out there, placing a huge burden on society, we desperately need access to more evidence based technologies that can make a difference.

Partly this is because there is still a lack of awareness of the science and the evidence base; partly because formats of the technology have not been available to make it easy to use outside of specialist/research practice, and partly because none of the bigger companies have yet invested behind this area and supported the wider education and awareness initiatives (unlike with the development and awareness of moist wound healing concept, negative pressure, etc)

With the Accel-Heal device, we now have a unique format of delivery of microcurrent electrical stimulation therapy that is both easy to use, safe, and enables use across all care settings.  And with my colleagues at Accel-Heal, and our partners and collaborators, we are on a mission to ensure more patients get access to this evidence based treatment.

We are of course only a small company with limited resources, so my request to clinicians reading this blog, is to be proactive and take a serious look at this area, study the science and review the evidence. Indeed, myself and the team hear every day how Accel-Heal is transforming the lives of patients who have been suffering from painful, non-healing wounds. I’m sure, when you listen to their testimonies, and the testimonies of the early adopters treating these patients, you will be as convinced as I am that Accel-Heal should play an important role in your toolbox in treating painful, non-healing chronic wounds.

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