How exactly does electricity travel through the human body?

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sbw1001

Joined Sep 19, 2022
19
Hi folks, non-electrician here. Please forgive any inaccuracies in the following. Hopefully my basic point will come across. I am interested in extremely low amp A/C currents, ones that cause no harm to human tissue but are (some claim) useful against microbes, tumors etc. I want to know how best to apply such currents to various areas of the body. E.g. Let's say I have liver cancer and want to flood that organ with high frequency, low amp electricity. Where should I position the anode and cathode? Will the electricity tend to follow veins and arteries, taking the path of least resistance, or will the flesh between the electrodes be (after some time) more or less uniformly imbued with electrical current? If this remains a disputed question among electrical engineers themselves, can someone suggest some basic introductory readings or videos that I might consult? Thanks in advance.
 

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
23,057
Given that we are bags of salty liquid, basically humans are conductive once you get past the skin barrier it only takes a few milliamps going through our heart to be fatal. So we treat electricity with proper caution.
 

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
9,353
Ditto (What she said)

We don’t recommend running current through your body unless you are sure of what you are doing. Beware: many dangerous things are published on the internet.

Capillaries as well as large blood vessels permeate your body. Nerves also run throughout your body. All of these contain electrolytes and are fairly good conductors of electricity.

Just keep the current below a few milliamperes and watch for any dermatitus around electrodes. Use electrodes coated with conductive paste or soaked with salt water so that the current is evenly distributed over the contact area.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
10,427
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Thread Starter

sbw1001

Joined Sep 19, 2022
19
Thanks for the warning. Aren't some parts more liquid than others? In the liver cancer example (just an example: not about to try this at home), if I just placed one electrode over the liver in the front, the other over the liver in the back, how much flesh would actually be electrified in between? Enough to affect the entire liver?
 

Thread Starter

sbw1001

Joined Sep 19, 2022
19
Ditto (What she said)

We don’t recommend running current through your body unless you are sure of what you are doing. Beware: many dangerous things are published on the internet.

Capillaries as well as large blood vessels permeate your body. Nerves also run throughout your body. All of these contain electrolytes and are fairly good conductors of electricity.

Just keep the current below a few milliamperes and watch for any dermatitus around electrodes. Use electrodes coated with conductive paste or soaked with salt water so that the current is evenly distributed over the contact area.
Got it. From what you're saying I gather the entire liver would not be electrified? That the electricity would indeed take the path of least resistance, and affect only certain highly conductive pathways through the body?
 

Thread Starter

sbw1001

Joined Sep 19, 2022
19
That is so interesting! Can you explain, in layman's terms, why that is the case? I almost would have expected the opposite. Back to my liver example: let's say we're talking less than .1 microampere. How much tissue would be affected? Would the current weaken as the distance from a straight line between the electrodes increased?
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
2,387
That is so interesting! Can you explain, in layman's terms, why that is the case? I almost would have expected the opposite. Back to my liver example: let's say we're talking less than .1 microampere. How much tissue would be affected? Would the current weaken as the distance from a straight line between the electrodes increased?
Yes, the current away from the non-straight line does (usually) weaken if the entire bulk of human tissue has the same conductivity. The liver is a very fatty organ and typically belly fat and back-fat is insulating it so I would not expect a very straight path through the liver. Also, the heart is the most delicate part of the body when it comes to electricity. In other words, if there is risk of passing electricity through your body, keep one hand in your pocket snd stand on an insulating mat. That way, any shock you do get will be capacitive charging your body and not flowing though your body. Ir simply flowing into one finger and out another and possibly causing a severe burn as the salt water heats and possibly vaporizes) but, at least your heart was safe.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
15,131
I am interested in extremely low amp A/C currents, ones that cause no harm to human tissue but are (some claim) useful against microbes, tumors etc. I want to know how best to apply such currents to various areas of the body.
This is a topic best left to experts.

Small currents passing through the wrong parts of the body can have serious consequences.
 

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
9,353
The image posted by @nsaspook in post #4 does a pretty good job of explaining.

I have tried some of these trendy treatments and found some to help and others to not really do anything. One thing I would advise is NOT trying an idea on yourself first. Seriously, you don't want to sacrifice your health in a quest for medical knowledge. Let the other guy do it.

As for the liver treatment, take a look around for anybody's personal experience with something similar, and then look at those inputs skeptically. Morbidity statistics are easy to find on the internet. Please do not let the adventure of exploring alternative treatments cause you to delay treatment of any condition you may have.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
2,387
This is a topic best left to experts.

Small currents passing through the wrong parts of the body can have serious consequences.
It was quite an interesting experiment when we dissected live frogs back in the 1960s and ended their life's with 9v batteries and twitched their leg muscles and more but, I don't think the ASPCA lets schools do that anymore and, if it shouldn't be done to animals, well, I'm not sure if it should be done with humans. Especially by someone who has not much plan for controlling current.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
4,412
I think you will find that electricity cannot discriminate between healthy and diseased tissues. It is an indiscriminate killer of tissue once it reaches that level. Leave the electrification of tissues to the Medical Engineers! It is possible to survive extreme shocks and have lingering tissue damage that the body is not capable of repairing.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
10,427
Got it. From what you're saying I gather the entire liver would not be electrified? That the electricity would indeed take the path of least resistance, and affect only certain highly conductive pathways through the body?
Electricity is simply the movement of charge. What causes that charge to move is an electrical potential (field force, per charge" (E = F/q) and accelerate (gaining kinetic energy for heating and burns) in the direction of the force) between point A and point B.

Look at the simple case of a livers sheet resistance (uniform to make it easy) with potential points on it.
1663612808785.png
https://phet.colorado.edu/sims/html/charges-and-fields/latest/charges-and-fields_en.html
When you map or calculate the paths you will see there is not single path the charges flow. WIth paths of lower resistance the equipotentials that dictate energy movements change but there will be still be the alternative paths for current.
 

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
9,353
This is not an endorsement. The speaker is a music professor.
Edit: Note that this talk was given 9 years ago and though the video demonstrations are dramatic, the anticipated use has not been realized.
 
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russwr

Joined Aug 29, 2017
10
Get, read , make purchases. Alternative therapy for cancer, since 1995. "The cure For All Diseases ", by the late cellular biologist Dr. Hulda Clark. Treat yourself at home. Don't borrow copy from library, you will want to keep your new one. New or used from Amazon.com. Hands skin surfaces have what's called acupunture points that low level current and voltage travels down meridians to different organs and parts of body. The Battery operated Clark Zapper is about 5-6V DC output as pulsing type positive only waveform that energizes body cells and kils microorganisms responible for cancer. Get the one with only copper handles for about $65 and switch for different low frequencies. (This is not same as tens unit for pain) The therapy pack of 3 bottles to use at same time as zapper, should be about $40-$65. Mild electrotherapy with injestion of 3 herbs of fresh/dated cloves, wormwood capsules and black walnut tincture. Hospital Bed patient in Canada with liver cancer later chasing nurses down hospital wards. His doctor had special ordered therapy for him awhile back in time. So now you know.
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
6,991
OK before doing anything on your own you may want to consult an actual physician, someone who actually is competent in the practice of medicine. Do not believe everything you read as most of it is snake oil promoted by those wishing to separate you from your money. Again, speak with competent medical authority as in a real doctor.

You may want to look into what is called a TENS Machine. A TENS machine and a few similar devices produce minor electrical shock for nerve stimulation. Again, research any and all information you get. While this forum boast some very, very good electrical engineering types I don't know of any regulars with M.D. following their name. :)

Ron
 

BobaMosfet

Joined Jul 1, 2009
2,033
Hi folks, non-electrician here. Please forgive any inaccuracies in the following. Hopefully my basic point will come across. I am interested in extremely low amp A/C currents, ones that cause no harm to human tissue but are (some claim) useful against microbes, tumors etc. I want to know how best to apply such currents to various areas of the body. E.g. Let's say I have liver cancer and want to flood that organ with high frequency, low amp electricity. Where should I position the anode and cathode? Will the electricity tend to follow veins and arteries, taking the path of least resistance, or will the flesh between the electrodes be (after some time) more or less uniformly imbued with electrical current? If this remains a disputed question among electrical engineers themselves, can someone suggest some basic introductory readings or videos that I might consult? Thanks in advance.
Few people get into this field of study. From Medical related to Utility 'Step & Touch' studies, the technical answer is this:

Current takes *all* pathways simultaneously, in inverse proportion to the resistance/impedance therein. The keyword being 'All'. This is not a question for this forum, as it has liability attached. I suggest you do your research in electrophysiology and 'Step & Touch' reports from utility companies.
 

Thread Starter

sbw1001

Joined Sep 19, 2022
19
Few people get into this field of study. From Medical related to Utility 'Step & Touch' studies, the technical answer is this:

Current takes *all* pathways simultaneously, in inverse proportion to the resistance/impedance therein. The keyword being 'All'. This is not a question for this forum, as it has liability attached. I suggest you do your research in electrophysiology and 'Step & Touch' reports from utility companies.
Thank you: that is all very informative, and very useful - especially your very first point. That some micro-currents are likely to be fatal to microorganisms but harmless or even beneficial to human tissue seems to me a no brainer. Of course, there are plenty of quacks willing to profit from this reasonable intuition without doing proper research. But the larger portion of shame is surely due to the medical and scientific community for not pursuing this technology in earnest. How hard would it be, really, in an age of computers and space travel, to study, in detail, low amp current flow through the human body? Almost makes you think that those who fund medical and scientific research would prefer to leave that stone unturned...
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
2,387
But the larger portion of shame is surely due to the medical and scientific community for not pursuing this technology in earnest.
How do you know they haven't? If it worked, there would be plenty of patents and treatment facilities and experts on the topic. Electrical treatment methods to various ailments, diseases or injuries has been looked at for more than 120 years. The point is, you can look on eBay for various antique and even relatively modern devices that attempted electrical cures for biological lifeforms. Even TENS, the most common one can't produce repeatable results. There are many ailments that are made worse by electrical treatment where weak, broken or infected cells are trying to multiply and grow are "disoriented" by electrical impulses and possibly magnetic fields.

I can assure you that the multibillion (trillion) dollar medical industry is constantly researching even the slightest hint that an input causes a positive output.

If there is to be shame to be had, it is shame that someone doesn't believe in capitalism and the huge amounts of wealth trying to become more wealthy by making useful devices. Also the shame of not knowing failed research rarely gets published. There are some very disappointed researchers around the world who are great scientists and they've proven that many things don't work - since failed experiments don't get published - they are not famous.

Too bad there is not advertising money available to tell people what doesn't work. Nobody is willing to pay for "don't buy snake oil" commercials.

Note: the phrase " FDA cleared" or "registered with the FDA" is simply a form filled out by the manufacturer/marketer that says the device will not hurt a person. It does not claim the device is effective as claimed. For example, all the red LED hair growth or acne treatment lights in the market. I even saw one green LED device thst was supposed to cure prostate troubles (I don't want to know how it comes in contact with the prostrate).

Final note: just because it "seems like it should work" doesn't mean it works. For hundreds of years, people think magnets should be able to create energy without other fuels or mechanical input - it just seems like it should be possible, right? But it's not. But just in case, I'm sure people are still working on magnets, electrical medicine devices and many more things that seem like they should work.
 
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Thread Starter

sbw1001

Joined Sep 19, 2022
19
How do you know they haven't? If it worked, there would be plenty of patents and treatment facilities and experts on the topic. Electrical treatment methods to various ailments, diseases or injuries has been looked at for more than 120 years. The point is, you can look on eBay for various antique and even relatively modern devices that attempted electrical cures for biological lifeforms. Even TENS, the most common one can't produce repeatable results. There are many ailments that are made worse by electrical treatment where weak, broken or infected cells are trying to multiply and grow are "disoriented" by electrical impulses and possibly magnetic fields.

I can assure you that the multibillion (trillion) dollar medical industry is constantly researching even the slightest hint that an input causes a positive output.

If there is to be shame to be had, it is shame that someone doesn't believe in capitalism and the huge amounts of wealth trying to become more wealthy by making useful devices. Also the shame of not knowing failed research rarely gets published. There are some very disappointed researchers around the world who are great scientists and they've proven that many things don't work - since failed experiments don't get published - they are not famous.

Too bad there is not advertising money available to tell people what doesn't work. Nobody is willing to pay for "don't buy snake oil" commercials.

Note: the phrase " FDA cleared" or "registered with the FDA" is simply a form filled out by the manufacturer/marketer that says the device will not hurt a person. It does not claim the device is effective as claimed. For example, all the red LED hair growth or acne treatment lights in the market. I even saw one green LED device thst was supposed to cure prostate troubles (I don't want to know how it comes in contact with the prostrate).

Final note: just because it "seems like it should work" doesn't mean it works. For hundreds of years, people think magnets should be able to create energy without other fuels or mechanical input - it just seems like it should be possible, right? But it's not. But just in case, I'm sure people are still working on magnets, electrical medicine devices and many more things that seem like they should work.
Let me begin with your last point. Of course not. That's why one would like 'reasonable intuitions' to be subject to thorough scientific testing.
Now that we're clear (I hope) that I'm not a moron, let me address the rest of what you have to say. First, I am a firm believer in capitalism, and the Western regime of scientific testing, for all of the reasons you mention. Second, there are a number of US patented electrical healing devices: the Beck blood electrification device, which harmlessly electrifies the blood with current known to be fatal to micro-organisms; another one whose name I forget that is used for passing DC current through tumors, etc.. Third, in every instance I know of (and contrary to your claim about what has taken place during the past 120 years) no proper large scale trials have been conducted, and I don't think it makes me anti-capitalist to wonder if Big Pharma, who fund most medical research, have had a role in this: the problem, from a capitalist perspective, is that if any of these things actually work then there will be relatively little profit in it - you can literally make a Beck zapper yourself, at home, e.g.. If I am wrong about the absence of proper scientific trials, please show me the evidence for this. And if there have been proper trials with negative results which then went unpublished, then shame on the scientific community for not seeing that disproofs are as much a part of the scientific project as proofs.
 
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