Chronic pain is an unwelcome and debilitating part of life for millions people, and the side effects from medications and therapies often just make things worse, adding nausea, fatigue, and possible drug dependency to the mix. iTENS, LLC, an Ohio-based company, is hoping to change that with Bluetooth-based electrotherapy.
TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) has been used in pain treatment before. The devices, iTENS among them, work by sending small electrical impulses through skin to block pain signals from getting to the brain. They also encourage the body to fight pain by producing endorphins.
The iTENS uses reusable thin gel pads that stick to the body and look like toy airplane propellers. The “wings,” as the company calls them, come in two sizes. The smaller size, for ankles, knees, elbows and other smaller areas, is 1 ¾ inches by 5 ½ inches; the larger size, 2 ½ inches by 6 ½ inches, is for back and shoulders. The gel pads hold different electrode shapes to make iTENS fit a body’s contours better. The user controls the intensity of the electrical current through a phone app.
iTENS is “FDA-cleared,” which means the FDA is satisfied with the safety of the device, but makes no claim one way or another about its effectiveness. While this allows a medical wearable to get out to the public more quickly, insurance companies usually do not cover them until they receive full FDA approval.
iTENS will be available in March 2016.
(For more coverage of CES 2016, click on the “CES2016” tag near this article.)