Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Beverly Johnson


Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation


Pain has oppressed man for centuries and is the most common symptom for which patients seek medical treatment. The goal of medical research has been to discover the simplest method of pain relief with the least detrimental or undesirable side effects. If pain is not treated successfully, it can lead to a chronic condition with crippling effects that can profoundly affect the individual's quality of life. Pain can also prevent the successful treatment of other disorders.

Auricular transcutaneous electrical stimulation (ATENS) is on~ of the most recent methods of pain management to arise from research. It combines both acupuncture and electrotherapy as a simple, non-invasive method of pain relief that does not have the detrimental or undesirable side effects that accompany other methods of pain management such as surgery or drugs.

The purpose of this literature review is to present the history by which ATENS has evolved, the theories for its effectiveness, and, finally, the clinical applications of ATENS for the physical therapist as suggested by research in multiple professions.