Everything you need to know about IFT (Interferential Therapy ).
What is IFT?
Interferential Therapy or (IFT) is a type of electrotherapy treatments that use electric currents to stimulate tissue which provides pain relief, reduction of swelling and many other health benefits.
IFT uses a range of frequencies which stimulate the body to get positive reactions such as increasing blood supply in an area which increases the healing speed.
Interferential machines can be used to treat pain associated with:
- Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Spondylitis and Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Bruising and Swelling
- Postoperative Pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Joint Injuries
- Overuse Injuries and Surgical Procedures
- Edema and Inflammation
- Tennis Elbow
- Sports Injuries
How Interferential Therapy works?
Unlike TENS machines, which delivers intermittent pulses to stimulate surface nerves and block the pain signal, IFT machines deliver a continuous stimulation deep into the affected tissue. The stimulation both blocks pain and reduces swelling and inflammation which can cause pain.
IFT achieves the deep penetration by using a 4000Hz carrier wave to overcome the skin impedance.
4 pole interferential works by putting two signals into the tissue at slightly different frequencies. Where they cross over, the two signals "interfere" to produce a lower frequency, therapeutic current. In theory, this interference current is generated in the pattern shown in the diagram. In practice, the tissues do not conduct uniformly, so the currents rarely interfere in the expected target area. Therapists commonly use moveable electrodes to "hunt" for the best electrode positions.
This is a slight issue for un-trained home use. Many patients find just positioning and connecting up to four electrodes a problem, without having to optimise the position. Some expensive machines use vectored fields. These are a partial solution to this problem as they constantly move the interference zone around the volume between the electrodes, but this means that treatment is only delivered to the affected area for part of the treatment time.
Is IFT Physiotherapy safe?
IFT is reported to be a safe intervention for pain relief with virtually no side effects.