The History of Electrostimulation

Electrostimulation is in reality an ancient practise that was already being used many centuries ago, even if in a rudimental manner.
It was in the 18th Century, however, that the scientist Luigi Galvani demonstrated how passing electric current pass along the spinal marrow of a frog resulted in muscular contractions. This experiment was repeated in many universities, even if the reason for this result was not understood. Observing the reaction to electric discharges in the muscles of lifeless creatures, it was found that the muscle maintained its ability to contract with electric current for a certain period of time. It had, at this point, been demonstrated that the basis of the nervous impulse was the electric current, and that the current was an essential component of the physiology of living beings.
In the Nineteenth century, in the times of Galvani and Volta, the instruments required for measuring the electric current in the human body had not yet been invented. Those scientists managed to demonstrate that a current did exist, but they did not limit themselves there; they were able to demonstrate that the type of energy passing through the human body was similar to the current produced by lightning and by rubbing an amber bar. The merit of crucial discoveries for the birth and study of new branches of medicine, such as neurophysiology and neurology is given to these scientists.
Finally, between the 19th and 20th Centuries, some important technological progress made it possible to use electrostimulation as a therapeutic element in treating different pathologies, above all for pain.
We must, however, wait for the mid-twenty-first century to see the first applications of electrostimulation in sport. During the 60s the so-called “Russian current” made their appearance, a treatment that owed its name to the use that the Russian trainers gave it during the Soviet Union period during training. The athletes had to undergo discharges at an intensity that was close to torture before events, where they would not just have to demonstrate their own athletic superiority, but also that of the Soviet society model, destined to collapse a few years later together with the Berlin wall.

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