Phys Ther. 1987 Apr; 67(4): 507-11.
Effects of unilateral and bilateral auricular transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation on cutaneous pain threshold.
This study compared the effects of unilateral and bilateral auricular transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation on cutaneous pain threshold. Auricular acupuncture points were stimulated with low frequency, high intensity TENS for 45 seconds. Sixty healthy, adult subjects were assigned randomly to one of two treatment groups or to a control group. The two treatment groups received low frequency, high intensity TENS either unilaterally or bilaterally. The control group did not receive auricular stimulation. Experimental pain threshold at the left wrist was determined with a painful stimulus before and after auricular stimulation. Both unilateral and bilateral auricular stimulation groups exhibited a significant increase (p less than .05) in experimental pain threshold, but the control group did not. The mean change values between the unilateral and bilateral stimulation groups were not statistically different. These results suggest that both unilateral and bilateral auricular TENS can increase pain threshold.