GB2030453A - Applying undirectional electric current to the skin of a living body - Google Patents

Applying undirectional electric current to the skin of a living body Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2030453A
GB2030453A GB7839118A GB7839118A GB2030453A GB 2030453 A GB2030453 A GB 2030453A GB 7839118 A GB7839118 A GB 7839118A GB 7839118 A GB7839118 A GB 7839118A GB 2030453 A GB2030453 A GB 2030453A
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electrode
skin
electrodes
structure
applying
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GB7839118A
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GB2030453B (en )
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Tapper R
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61NELECTROTHERAPY; MAGNETOTHERAPY; RADIATION THERAPY; ULTRASOUND THERAPY
    • A61N1/00Electrotherapy; Circuits therefor
    • A61N1/02Details
    • A61N1/04Electrodes
    • A61N1/0404Electrodes for external use
    • A61N1/0408Use-related aspects
    • A61N1/0428Specially adapted for iontophoresis, e.g. AC, DC or including drug reservoirs
    • A61N1/0432Anode and cathode
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61NELECTROTHERAPY; MAGNETOTHERAPY; RADIATION THERAPY; ULTRASOUND THERAPY
    • A61N1/00Electrotherapy; Circuits therefor
    • A61N1/02Details
    • A61N1/04Electrodes
    • A61N1/0404Electrodes for external use
    • A61N1/0408Use-related aspects
    • A61N1/0428Specially adapted for iontophoresis, e.g. AC, DC or including drug reservoirs
    • A61N1/0432Anode and cathode
    • A61N1/0436Material of the electrode
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61NELECTROTHERAPY; MAGNETOTHERAPY; RADIATION THERAPY; ULTRASOUND THERAPY
    • A61N1/00Electrotherapy; Circuits therefor
    • A61N1/02Details
    • A61N1/04Electrodes
    • A61N1/0404Electrodes for external use
    • A61N1/0408Use-related aspects
    • A61N1/0428Specially adapted for iontophoresis, e.g. AC, DC or including drug reservoirs
    • A61N1/0432Anode and cathode
    • A61N1/044Shape of the electrode
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61NELECTROTHERAPY; MAGNETOTHERAPY; RADIATION THERAPY; ULTRASOUND THERAPY
    • A61N1/00Electrotherapy; Circuits therefor
    • A61N1/02Details
    • A61N1/04Electrodes
    • A61N1/0404Electrodes for external use
    • A61N1/0472Structure-related aspects
    • A61N1/0476Array electrodes (including any electrode arrangement with more than one electrode for at least one of the polarities)
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61NELECTROTHERAPY; MAGNETOTHERAPY; RADIATION THERAPY; ULTRASOUND THERAPY
    • A61N1/00Electrotherapy; Circuits therefor
    • A61N1/18Applying electric currents by contact electrodes
    • A61N1/20Applying electric currents by contact electrodes continuous direct currents

Abstract

Direct current or unipolar electric current pulses are applied from a source 8 to the skin 2 of a living body, particularly for inhibiting perspiration and for iontophoresis by means of a positive electrode 18 and a negative electrode 19, porous felt-like material 4 being interposed between the negative electrode 19 and the skin 2 to prevent iontophoretic burns, the material 4, which is preferably moistened, having a thickness which is large relative to that of the skin 2, e.g. greater than 3 mm. The porous material 4, which may also be interposed between the positive electrode 18 and the skin 2, may be of wool, cotton, viscose nylon, polyester, foams and sponges. The positive electrode may be of larger area than the negative electrode and each may be constituted by interconnected small (one square centimeter) conducting elements 18, 19, Figure 5. <IMAGE>

Description

SPECIFICATION lontophoretic burn-protection method and apparatus technical field This invention pertains to plural electrodes for application to living subject having skin, to accomplish effects related to the passage of electric current.

Background ofthe PriorArt Around the turn of the centurn the art disclosed a plethora of electrode types for applying "electric treatments" to the human body. The elctrodes were normally placed upon the body in relation to the position of an organ to be treated.

These "electric treatments" encompassed a wide range of applications. For example, galvanic (direct current) treatments have been popular in the past for their polar effects on ionized molecules, causing the ionized molecules to be driven through the skin, usually superficially. This phenomenon is known as iontophoresis or ion transfer, and it has been employed fo the introduction of medicants, or even simply moisture, into the skin of a patient.

More specifically, some ions of zinc and copper can be employed in the treatment of some skin infections, and chlorine ions have been employed for the loosening of superficial scars. Further, vasodilating drugs can be used in rheumatic and peripheral vascular affections, and skin anesthesia can be produced by iontophoresis of local anesthetic drugs. It has been suggested that application of direct current to carefully selected areas of a living animal can produce anesthetic effects. (see Limoge, An Introduction to Electroanesthesia, 1975, University Park Press).

In general, the electrodes were disclosed merely as structures and were not related to any undesirable side-effects the electric current might have upon the skin. An example is the U.S. Patent No.

562,765, issued in 1896, to Horton, Jr. The usual objective was merely to decrease the contact resistance to the skin.

F. Levitt in "Archives of Dermatology", Vol.98 No.

5, November 1968, reports on pps. 505-7 the production of long-term anhidrosis by electric treatment of the feet, or hands. However, he disclosed only the use of "a two inch square of sheet lead" as an electrode. This is "placed in a shallow pan containing enough water to just cover the palm or soles", there being one electrode and one pan for each palm or sole. His test results indicate that the treatment inhibits perispiration (sweat) where the electric current is provided.

Although the above-mentioned iontophoretic treatments have been found to be effective, using known electrodes in these direct current applications frequently results in iontophoretic burns to the patient, generally at the negative electrode. These burns are not caused by elevated temperature but by a spontaneous effect of the electric current on the skin. These burns require a relatively long time to heal, and can result in formation of unsightly and highly undesirable scar tissue.

A paper by Leeming and Howland in the "Journal of the American Medical Association", Vol. 214, No.

9, Nov.30, 1970, recites instances of burns but does not present means for preventing such trauma. This undesirable effect of iontophoretic treatment has resulted in a less than enthusiastic reception of iontophoretic techniques by the medical community in spite of the great and varied advantages to be realized through their use and development.

Accordingly, there has existed a need for a convenient and effective method and apparatus for preventing iontopheric burns the application of electrical energy to the skin of a humam body. As will become apparent from the following, the present invention satisfies that need.

Brief Summary of the Invention A method and apparatus for applying electrical energy topically to the skin of the human body is provided by which undesired side-effects are greatly minimized and may be eliminated.

The electrode configuration of the invention includes two conductive areas to which opposite polarity of electric current is supplied and which may be relatively adjacent. When the electrodes are adjacent the electric current does not pass through or near electro-sensitive organs, such as the heart.

Although the present method and apparatus for preventing iontophoretic burns will be described as used in connection with an electrical treatment for inhibiting perspiration, it will be understoodthatthis method and apparatus is equally well suited for use with other electrical treatments, such as the examples described above.

One side-effect that is substantially eliminated by the electrode structure of this invention is the iontophoretic burn. This is because of the interposition of relatively thick porous and preferably moistened material between the negative electrode and the skin.

Another side-effect that is reduced is pain or tingling due to the passage of current. This is brought about by increasing the area of the positive electrode.

An alternate embodiment utilizes intermingled negative and positive electrodes of small size, all having porous material.

Brief Description of the Drawings Figure 1 is a sectional elevation, at 1-1 in Figure 2, of a conductive electrode, the porous intervenor, and the skin to be treated.

Figure 2 is an illustrative plan view of a pair of electrodes and of the remainder of the system.

Figure 3 is an alternate embodiment in which one electrode is larger than the other.

Figure 4 is another alternate embodiment in which positive and negative electrodes of small size are spatially intermingled.

Figure 5 is another alternate embodiment in which positive and negative electrodes of small size are spatially intermingled, with the positive electrodes larger than the negative electrodes.

Detailed Description of the Invention In Figure 1 numeral 1 indicates a conductive electrode. This may be flexible or rigid and is typically fabricated of metal, of which stainless steel and aluminum are examples.

The skin is represented by epidermis 2. This has been simply shown. The physiological detail of the epidermis is shown in a drawing on page 840, Vol.

16, 15th Edition, copyright 1974, of the "Encyclopedia Britannica".

Porous intervenor material 4 is typically in loose electrical contact to the underside of electrode 1 so that it can be changed and discarded after each use.

A suitable material 4 is a type of felt that can be obtained commercially. While the thickness stipulated as principal in this invention is not commonly available, it can be obtained in special order. A quality control specification for this material is that it be free of tramp metal.

Athickness greater than 3 millimeters may be chosen if a greater value of the current times the time-of-treatment factor is desired.

Flexible electrical conductor 5 is conductively connected to electrode 1. Electrode 1 may take the form of a snap fastener as well as a metallic plate or a conductive plastic such as silicone. Two examples of electrode arrangements are illustrated in Figures 2 and 3. In the view of Figure 2 the negative electrode 1 is seen. Porous material 4 is underneath the same.

Second electrode 6 is shown adjacent to electrode 1, with a separation between the two of the order of a fraction of one to a few centimeters, typically.

Positive electrode 6, connected by conductor 7 to a source 8 of electric current, may be a simple metallic electrode, with or without the thick porous interve nor 4.

Source 8 may be merely a source of direct current, such as a battery. The current normally required is within the range of from a fraction of a milliampere to twenty milliamperes. A known adjustable resistor may be included within source 8 allow the user to obtain the proper current for any process.

For inhibiting perspiration a current density on the positive electrode of from 1/20 to perhaps 1/2 milliampere per square centimeter is desired. Natu rally, the actual current density and treatment dura tion employed in any of the above-mentioned appli cations of this invention should be chosen to accommodate the particular case at hand. Accord ingly, the actual values mentioned herein are offered as an example of one of the treatments which can employ the method and apparatus of this invention.

Source 8 may also be a known "constant current source", having the same specifications as above and a control to allow the user to select the desired constant value of current. Another feature of a suggested unit would limit the maximum current that is applied.

The source of current may also have other forms, including unidirectional pulses or varying current, but not alternating current of commonly used fre quencies, nor radio frequency current.

The arrangement of electrodes 1 and 6 may take many forms, depending upon the area that is to be treated and the choice of the designer. These electrodes may be attached to a non-conductive frame, which is shown dotted at 9 in Figure 2. This is convenient for inhibiting perspiration on a hand or a foot.

Alternatively, positive electrode 6 may be placed on the palm of a hand for inhibiting perspiration there, and the negative electrode may be placed on the back of the hand, or on the wrist.

Connective means 3 attach electrodes 1 and 6 to frame 9.

Of course, the negative electrode may be placed elsewhere, such as in combination with the positive electrode within gloves for a hand or hands. The positive electrode is positioned to inhibit perspiration and the negative electrode is positioned adjacently for the current return. Similar arrangements are possible in stockings forthe feet. Nominal pressure between the electrodes and the skin can thereby be maintained in any position.

For inhibiting underarm perspiration the positve electrode, at least, can be curved to fit under the armpit. The negative electrode may be located nearby, or the positive and negative electrodes can each occupy one-half of the axilla area, with an insulative separator between.

In Figure 3, elements 5, 7 and 8 are as before.

However,positive electrode 10 has a relatively large area and negative electrode 1' has a relatively small area. The positive electrode is rectangular, rather than square, as before. The electrode may have almost any shape when secondary considerations so require.

The configuration shown is useful for inhibiting pespiration of the hand. Electrode 10 is placed upon the palm of the hand and electrode 1' is placed upon the fingers of the same hand.

In the practice of perspiration inhibition and similar treatments it has been found that iontophoretic burn is associated with the means of the prior art at the current densities required to produce rthe desired result. Our investigation isolatedtbu burn phenomenon to the negative electrode. lWaccord- ance with the present invention, the metallictermin- al or plate of the negative electrode is adequately covered with a thick felt pad, and iontophorectic burns are thereby avoided when a current time limitation is observed.

The nature of the thick felt electrode has been described. It is moistened for use by employing tap water. It has been found that distilled or deionized water may also be used.

In an illustrative example the palm of a hand was treated with a positive electrode having an area of 90 square centimeters. The negative electrode contacted the fingers and had an area of 30 square centimeters. The thickness of the felt was 6 milli meters.

A current of 15 milliamperes was allowable for a period of 10 minutes without an iontophoric burn occurring. Alternatively, at 7.5 ma. the allowable treatment time was 20 minutes. At 3.75 ma. the allowable time was 40 minutes.

It has been determined that there is some particle or substance that migrates from metallic electrode 1 through intervenor 4 as current is caused to pass into skin 2. This particle or substance must not be allowed to fully migrate to the skin; for if it does a burn results. Thus, the thickness of the intervenor acts as a transit barrier or delay to prevent the burn-causing particles from reaching the skin within the treatment period for a given current.

The intervenor cannot be conveniently rejuvenated, so as a practical matter the intervenors for the negative electrode are used as required for a treatment and then are disposed of.

The presently preferred type of intervenor material 4 is composed of metal-free natural fibers of wool or cotton.

Other equivalent man-made fiberous materials may be used, such as a synthetic of the viscose nylon or polyester type. Alternatively, porous materials such as foams or sponges may be used, and all of the recited substances have been generally termed "porous".

While the inhibition of perspiration is electrically induced, the inhibition does not occur immediately after treatment, but after an interval of about two weeks, after which time one to two further treatments will inaugurate another six week period, and so on.

The area of the skin that is effectively treated also includes a leaching or spreading effect that extends beyond the immediate area that is directly contacted by the electrodes.

By empirical means it has been determined that the spreading of the electric current per se is very small in relation tothe spreading of the inhibition of perspiration. It therefore appears that the inhibition is the result of a chemical effect that creates a keratin plug in each sweat duct.

Because of the spreading effect of the treatment to a limited area beyond the skin that is contacted by the electrodes, the latter may be flat, without regard to undulation of the skin, as upon the palms of the hand or the soles of the feet. In prior electrode art it is believed that this spreading effect was not observed, or was not appreciated, since all of the art that has been examined has not commented upon it.

The spacing between the pairs of electrodes in Figures 2 and 3 may be relatively close, so long as the current is prevented from going from one electrode to the other without passing through the skin; hence not accomplishing the method of this invention.

To maximize safety and convenience to the user, batteries may be used for current source 8. The voltage required varies according to the total resist ance of the load circuit. A voltage of 45 volts if typical. A small battery having this total voltage is commercially available and is suitable, since the battery need only supply acurrent of a few milliam peres.

An advantage of the close-spaced electrodes in Figures 2 and 3 lies in the fact that the treatment current may be rapidly increased at the start of a treatment without an undesired sensation to the user.

It is desirable that the current be increased from zero or a low value at the start. With close-spaced electrodes the current may be increased to treatment amplitude in a fraction of a second.

With a distally removed electrode having a spac ing of many centimeters and perhaps attachment to another member of the body, the current must be increased slowly. A certain procedure is for a careful operator or the user to turn a current-controlling pontentiometer very slowly and steadily so that pain and shock will be avoided. However, the distally removed electrode mode of treatment is equally effective in burn protection.

Unless close electrode spacing is employed the current must be slowly decreased at the end of the treatment.

Although inhibition of perspiration was consi dered primarily accomplished at the positive elec trode, inhibition to a lesser degree is accomplished at the negative electrode.

A basic period of treatment for anhidrosis, the inhibition of perspiration, is forty minutes. Initially, six treatments are given, preferably one every other day.

Extensive preparation of the skin before the electrictreatments is not required. However, in order to assure consistent results it is desirable to swab the skin where the electrodes are to be applied with rubbing alcohol.

An opposite alternate structure to the distal arrangement of electrodes is that shown in Figure 4.

Here, small positive electrodes 14 and negative electrodes 15 are intermingled, being typically about one square centimeter in size and separated by a few millimeters one from the other. All are provided with a felt-like layer between the electrode proper and the skin. A system of conductors 16 for the positive and 17 for the negative electrodes which do not touch the skin connects all electrodes to current source 8.

Also, this type of intermingled structure may have the positive electrode 18 of larger area than that of the negative electrode 19, as shown in Figure 5. The other aspects are the same as in Figure 4.

When the positive electrode is made larger in area than that of the negative electrode in any of the embodiments,there is a limit to the difference in areas allowable in practice. This is about three-toone, as evidenced by the 90 sq. cm. positive area and the 30 sq. cm. negative area electrodes in the embodiment of Figure 3.

For simultaneous anti-perspiration treatment of two hands or two feet, two sets of electrodes according to Figure 3 may be connected to a constant current source 8. However, we elect to use independent constant current sources, each powered by its own battery. This allows greater current for one hand than the other to compensate for possible different sensitivities of each hand.

Claims (15)

1. A method of applying electricity to a selected area of a living body while minimizing concomitant iontophoretic burn, said method including the steps of: applying a first electrode to the skin of said body at said selected area, with an electrically conductive, porous intervenor having a thickness very large in relation to the thickness of said skin, said intervenor being interposed between said first electrode and said skin; applying a second electrode to said skin spaced from said first electrode; and applying direct current to said electrodes with a limitation on the amplitude of said direct current multiplied by the duration of applying said direct current, said limitation being proportional to the thickness of said intervenor associated with said first electrode.
2. The method as claimed in Claim 1, further including the step of dampening said intervenor associated with said first electrode with water to render it electrically conductive before it is applied to the skin of said body.
3. The method as claimed in Claim 1, wherein: the second electrode is applied to said skin with a separation from the first electrode that is a small fraction of the linear extent of said electrodes; and the direct current is rapidly applied to said electrodes and skin within a time interval that is a very small fraction of the time interval employed for applying electricity.
4. The method as claimed in Claim 1, further including the step of interposing an electrically conductive, porous intervenor between said second electrode and said skin.
5. An electrode structure for applying an essentially unidirectional electric current through the skin of a living body, comprising: a first electrically conductive electrode having a porous material with a thickness in excess of three millimeters upon one side thereof adapted to be interposed between said electrode and said skin; a second electricaily conductive electrode adapted to contact said skin at location thereon spaced from said first electrode; a controlled source of unidirectional electric current having a positive pole and a negative pole; and means for connecting said first electrode to said negative pole and said second electrode to said positive pole, whereby iontophoretic burn is minimized.
6. The structure as claimed in Claim 5, wherein said porous material is selected from the group consisting of felt, viscose rayon, polyester fiber, and a foam.
7. The structure as claimed in Claim 5, wherein said porous material is moist with water.
8. The structure as claimed in Claim 5, wherein the area of said second electrode adapted to be in contact with said skin is greater than that of said first electrode adapted to be in contact with said skin through said porous material by a factor of up to approximately three.
9. The structure as claimed in Claim 5, wherein said first and second electrodes are spaced a relatively small distance from each other with respect to the size of the electrodes.
10. The structure as claimed in Claim 9, wherein the distance between said spaced electrodes is within the approximate range of from one-half to three centimeters.
11. The structure as claimed in Claim 5, further comprising: an insulating frame; and means for attaching -said first and second electrodes to said frame in spaced adjacency.
12. The structure as claimed in claim 5, wherein said first electrode is comprised of a plurality of separate conductive areas.
13. The structure as claimed in Claim 5, wherein said first electrode includes a plurality of said first electrodes and said second electrode includes a plurality of said second electrodes disposed in intermingled spaced adjacency.
14. The structure as claims in Claim 5, further including a porous material in contact with one side of said second electrode and adapted to be interposed between said second electrode and said skin.
15. An electrode structure for applying an essentially unidirectional electric current through the skin of a living body, substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to and as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.
GB7839118A 1978-10-03 1978-10-03 Applying unidirectional elecric current to the skin of a living body Expired GB2030453B (en)

Priority Applications (3)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB7839118A GB2030453B (en) 1978-10-03 1978-10-03 Applying unidirectional elecric current to the skin of a living body
AU4071978 1978-10-13
FR7829400A FR2439025B1 (en) 1978-10-03 1978-10-16

Applications Claiming Priority (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB7839118A GB2030453B (en) 1978-10-03 1978-10-03 Applying unidirectional elecric current to the skin of a living body
FR7829400A FR2439025B1 (en) 1978-10-03 1978-10-16

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GB2030453A true true GB2030453A (en) 1980-04-10
GB2030453B GB2030453B (en) 1983-05-05

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Cited By (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP0060452A1 (en) * 1981-03-05 1982-09-22 Medtronic, Inc. Iontophoretic device
FR2565493A1 (en) * 1984-06-12 1985-12-13 Hayashibara Ken Electrotherapy device, for the treatment of scalp
WO1990009811A1 (en) * 1989-03-04 1990-09-07 Tony Matthews Electro-therapy apparatus
US5125894A (en) * 1990-03-30 1992-06-30 Alza Corporation Method and apparatus for controlled environment electrotransport
US6004309A (en) * 1990-03-30 1999-12-21 Alza Corporation Method and apparatus for controlled environment electrotransport
WO2000054834A1 (en) * 1999-03-17 2000-09-21 Robert Tapper Sweat control system
US6223076B1 (en) 1990-11-01 2001-04-24 Robert Tapper Sweat control system

Families Citing this family (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4325367A (en) * 1977-06-13 1982-04-20 Robert Tapper Iontophoretic treatment apparatus
US4731926A (en) * 1985-02-19 1988-03-22 Drug Delivery Systems Inc. Method of manufacturing disposable and/or replenishable transdermal drug applicators

Family Cites Families (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB301899A (en) * 1927-12-08 1930-04-16 Annibal Varges A method and apparatus for the joint application of galvanic currents and diathermiccurrents, for therapeutical and industrial purposes
BE399044A (en) * 1933-09-09
US2651304A (en) * 1950-10-19 1953-09-08 Relaxacizor Thermatone Inc Therapeutic electrode
US3848600B1 (en) * 1972-02-03 1988-06-21
US3848608A (en) * 1973-07-23 1974-11-19 Gen Electric Subject integument spatial stimulator
US3972329A (en) * 1974-11-25 1976-08-03 Kaufman John George Body electrode for electro-medical use

Cited By (11)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP0060452A1 (en) * 1981-03-05 1982-09-22 Medtronic, Inc. Iontophoretic device
FR2565493A1 (en) * 1984-06-12 1985-12-13 Hayashibara Ken Electrotherapy device, for the treatment of scalp
WO1990009811A1 (en) * 1989-03-04 1990-09-07 Tony Matthews Electro-therapy apparatus
US5125894A (en) * 1990-03-30 1992-06-30 Alza Corporation Method and apparatus for controlled environment electrotransport
US5443442A (en) * 1990-03-30 1995-08-22 Alza Corporation Method and apparatus for controlled environment electrotransport
US5591124A (en) * 1990-03-30 1997-01-07 Alza Corporation Method and apparatus for controlled environment electrotransport
US5622530A (en) * 1990-03-30 1997-04-22 Alza Corporation Method and apparatus for controlled environment electrotransport
US6004309A (en) * 1990-03-30 1999-12-21 Alza Corporation Method and apparatus for controlled environment electrotransport
US6289241B1 (en) 1990-03-30 2001-09-11 Alza Corporation Method and apparatus for controlled environment electrotransport
US6223076B1 (en) 1990-11-01 2001-04-24 Robert Tapper Sweat control system
WO2000054834A1 (en) * 1999-03-17 2000-09-21 Robert Tapper Sweat control system

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date Type
FR2439025A1 (en) 1980-05-16 application
GB2030453B (en) 1983-05-05 grant
FR2439025B1 (en) 1983-09-23 grant

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