By Brandy Rose Lipscomb
Scenar therapy – I’m quite positive those two words cause most readers to form a big question mark. What is that? Why should I care?
Well, if you or anyone you know is in pain or suffering from an acute or chronic injury, you should know about this revolutionary alternative to anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants and habit-forming painkillers.
Allow me to briefly introduce you. The RITM Scenar medical device is a non-invasive biofeedback device designed by the Russians for their Space Program in the 1980s. SCENAR stands for Self-Controlled Eneurgo/Neuro Adaptive Regulator. Regardless of its awkward name, Scenar therapy was FDA-approved for pain relief and biofeedback in the U.S. in 2010. With one sensor sending out carefully modulated electrical impulses and the other sensor reading the impedance of the cutaneous nerves, a biofeedback circuit is established between the device and the brain. The electrical signals from the device are able to relieve pain and help restore function in three distinct ways.
- 1. The shape of the electrical waveforms sent into the body mimic those of a healthy “parasympathetic” shaped wave from your own brain. These are the types of brain waves we produce in our autonomic nervous system when we are relaxed and feeling all right in the world. The “pain and agony” signal being sent from the injured tissues to the brain is replaced with an “I’m healthy” signal – at least temporarily.
- 2. The electrical current intensity is adjusted to each user so that it is felt as a light buzz or tingle. This mild irritant to the cutaneous nervous system induces the local release of powerful anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving neuropeptides like enkephalins, endorphins and dynorphins.
- 3. If you thought #1 and #2 were heavy on the science, you may have to just trust me on #3. The high-amplitude, millesecond long waveforms sent from the device stimulate the “difficult to excite” c-fibers of the nervous system. These c-fibers carry information to the brain about temperature, touch, itch and pain. The c-fibers take this information to the part of the brain responsible for our overall perception of pain and our regulation of homeostasis (balance) within our bodies. By reminding the brain of the injured or painful area, we re-stimulate our body’s ability to work on healing it.
Scenar treatments typically last 30-45 minutes and should be a comfortable experience. Most people describe being relaxed after a session and sometimes need to go home and take a nap afterwards. Side effects include improved sleep, improved appetite regulation, and improved libido (all are dominated by the parasympathetic nervous system). For acute pains, most users receive greatest benefit from one to four treatments.
With chronic pain issues, it may be six or more treatments before the desired relief is achieved. Once relief is found, it often maintains itself. We have retrained the nervous system to operate in a different manner. Sometimes maintenance treatments are necessary with very stubborn conditions or those in which the damage is constantly reoccurring.
If you have questions regarding Scenar therapy or would like to schedule an appointment, you can find trained therapists at Sky River Natural Health Center in Sultan. Call (360) 793-0206