What’s the difference between Calmare scrambler therapy and a TENS device?

By Dr. Michael Cooney, Clinical Director

The difference between these two medical devices can be compared to driving on a freshly-paved, 16-lane super-highway versus bumping along a single-lane, gravel-covered street.

In 2011, I replaced the tens unit with Calmare scrambler therapy, a newer device that offers more sustained pain relief and is delivered by a more sophisticated device: 

Comparing scrambler therapy technology with a tens device

  • The Calmare MC-5A device creates a low-energy electrical impulse that travels through the patient’s nerves delivering a “no-pain” signal to the brain using 16 distinct algorithms. This process “tricks” the brain that the area of pain is normal and eventually results in prolonged pain relief.
  • TENS units use high-energy electrical impulses to block pain signals or distract the brain, but when treatment ends, the pain usually returns. It emits an electronic message over one single algorithm.
  • A tens unit is self-administered by the patient, whereas the scrambler is administered by a trained medical professional.

We’ve successfully reduced or eliminated treatment-resistant neuropathy in more than 1,000 patients from more than 20 countries.

Calmare® Pain Therapy’s MC-5A technology

Calmare uses primarily “C Fibers” to transmit continuous random ‘no pain’ signals to calm the brain’s pain message center and retrains it to send a “no pain” signal.

A Calmare patient with CRPS chronic nerve pain receives his fifth of 10 scrambler therapy treatments.

Why does this matter? C-fibers are the specific fibers responsible for chronic pain, NOT beta fibers, which a tens device transmits across.

The TENS also relies on significantly more electricity (30 to 150 milliamps) than the scrambler device (5.5 milliamps). A second key benefit is that the Calmare device never repeats the same ‘no pain’ message. Therefore, the brain never has the opportunity to accommodate (adapt) combat the new no-pain message (as with drugs or a self-administered, hand-held TENS unit).

Who is administering your electric stimulation?

The scrambler therapy device is only administered by a specially-trained professional who obtained clinical and classroom training for optimal placement of the leads and how to use the MC-5A device to maximize sustained pain relief for the patient.

READ: Why You Should Chose Your Calmare Provider with Care

Calmare NJ USA is one of only seven Certified providers in the US (2022).

One-time treatment versus daily brain retraining for two weeks

The Calmare scrambler therapy process is scheduled at 24-hour intervals over two weeks (resting on Saturday and Sunday (between treatment 5 and 6), ensuring the brain’s pain message has been successfully ‘scrambled’ and is no longer sending a continuous pain message.

Here’s a very important point ─ pain relief using scrambler therapy is designed to provide the patient with a significantly longer pain reduction duration (often months, years or more) as opposed to using a TENS unit, where the pain returns soon after the treatment has ended.

Why the Calmare device earned a U.S. Patent number

The scrambler machine has been awarded a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which identifies the device as a unique entity, unlike anything else in the market (i.e. a tens unit). The U.S. Patent number is 8,380,317.

The distinctions between the two devices are significant:

  • Volume of current being used
  • Type of neurons transmitting the no-pain signal
  • Calmare device sends a “no pain” signal on the surface C-fiber nerve receptors instead of interrupting pain signals through the A-beta fibers (tens unit).

Questions? Call us. We’ll answer

Click the image to meet some of our Calmare patients from ages 12 to 87 on YouTube.

Without question, there is a plethora of technical information to absorb in this article. Nonetheless, I hope this helps clarify the wide gap between these two electrical devices.

If you have more questions, feel free to contact me. I talk with people from around the world every day and it’s my mission in life to do so. I’ll look forward to speaking with you!

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CRPS | RSD

Neuropathic Pain

Pediatric Chronic Pain

Sciatica & Chronic Back Pain

Shingles Nerve Pain (PHN)

Dr. Cooney at Calmare personally consults with every potential scrambler therapy patient.

Reach out for a no-fee phone or video consultation with our clinical director this week!

Learn more about Calmare scrambler therapy on these pages and then discuss your case directly with Dr. Michael Cooney.