- Around two million Britons are believed to be suffering from long Covid symptoms.
- Using microcurrent therapy may help long Covid patients feel less fatigued
A battery-powered device first used in veterinary medicine can help alleviate some of the worst symptoms of long Covid, a study has shown.
The Arc4Health bracelet is the size and shape of a TV remote control and fits on a Velcro cuff, similar to a blood pressure monitor, which is then tied around a leg or arm.
Known as microcurrent therapy, it emits a weak electrical current into the skin, and 53 per cent of long Covid patients who used it for three hours a day, for three months, said they felt less fatigued.
The research found that other symptoms of the condition, such as difficulty breathing and altered senses of smell and taste, also improved.
Fifty-four Arc4Health users with long Covid, which affects around two million Britons, answered a survey about their symptoms at the start of the study. Fatigue was the most commonly reported problem, as well as the one that was reduced the most at the end of the 12-week study.
The Arc4Health cuff is the size and shape of a TV remote control and fits onto a Velcro cuff, similar to a blood pressure monitor, which is then secured around a leg or arm.
Long Covid patients are being offered treatment using an electronic device developed to heal injured racehorses.
Previous clinical trials have suggested that the treatment may relieve joint pain and heal sprains and strains more quickly. It is often used to treat injured racehorses.
Doncaster-based GP Dr Dean Eggitt says it “makes sense” that the device would have some benefit, adding: “It could be a placebo effect, which is a powerful thing, but we also know that sending an electrical current weak through the skin reduces pain locally and improve muscle strength over time.
“It is not available on the NHS because there is not enough evidence to show it works, but knowing this, it is up to patients whether they want to pay for it.”
The vast majority of long Covid patients say they have had the condition for more than a year. However, because the exact causes of the persistent problems some suffer from are unclear, doctors do not know how to treat them.
The Arc4Health device has changed the life of Madeleine Duncan-Booth, 52, from Berkshire. She says: ‘Before contracting Covid last year, I would describe myself as a very active and fit person, who ran and swam two or three times a week, as well as practicing yoga.
‘Long Covid was disabling: a 25-minute walk could leave me exhausted for a couple of days.
‘I bought the Arc4Health device and felt a great return to normality within three weeks. Recently, I’ve done two swims, a long walk and a 90-minute shopping trip without getting tired.’