Object of the Month: October 2019

Stimul 3, the „portable pocket device for application of electro-acupuncture“ powered by a 9V battery, 1983. The set contained a single-hand and a two-hand electrode: the former was applied by the patient, the latter by another person, while the patient held the grounding electrode. 13, 5x 6x 2 cm, length of electrodes 13.5 cm. NML Medical Museum, P 499.

Object of the Month: October 2019 Stimul 3 Electroacupuncture device


Much has been written about acupuncture: the method, avidly embraced by some and deprecated by others, remains a delicate and disputed subject. Acupuncture as a healing practice originatedin China and in the 17 century it was brought to Europe by missionaries. Since the early 20 century, the method has been practiced in the Czech lands as well. The electro-acupuncture

Příručka praktické akupunktury pro kapesní elektroakupunkturní přístroj Stimul 3 [A Guide to Practical Acupuncture for the Stimul 3 Pocket Electro-Acupuncture Device] (Liberec: Tesla, 1984)

device Stimul 3 was introduced by the Tesla Liberec Company at the Brno industrial fair in 1982 and its production begun later in the same year.

Electro-acupuncture uses electrical current in place of needles. Originally, needles were used to introduce current into the patient’s skin at the acupuncture points. Today, blunt needles are often placed against the skin, making the method less invasive and painful. One of the pioneers of electro-acupuncture in the 1950s, the German physician Reinhold Voll (1909-1989) established precise amounts of the current applied, its frequency and length of application. These quantities vary according to the character of the disorder treated.

The Stimul 3 electro-acupuncture device for physical therapy of pain was based on the 1981 patent by V. Kympl, V. Radostný, dr. V. Fráz and P. Urban. The Ministry of Health certified the device for industrial production on April 1, 1982. Designed to locate and stimulate acupuncture points, it was to be applied to the skin externally, using application electrodes with spring-loaded metal points, rather than piercing the skin with a needle.

Weak electric current stimulates the appropriate points, which supposedly frees blocked life energy in particular energetic paths and restores balance to the organism. The device is equipped with a controller to adjust stimulation intensity and enable precise dosing of the current according to the needs of the individual patient.

A printed book,  A Guide to Practical Acupuncture for the Stimul 3 Pocket Electro-Acupuncture Device,  intended for physicians and in exceptional cases, for informed public, accompanied the instrument. The authors developed the work of Czech and foreign specialists, physicians trained in acupuncture abroad and able to use the method in medical practice, such as Richard Umlauf and Václav Kajdoš. The guide depicts pathways (meridians) of individual organs and describes and locates acupuncture points.

Stimul 3 was recommended for prevention and treatment of pain in many acute and chronic disorders including asthma, allergy, migraine, insomnia, exhaustion, dysorexia (lack of appetite), high and low blood pressure, skin disorders, neuralgia, tooth aches, musculoskeletal problems, degenerative joint diseases, post-traumatic states, ulcers and gall bladder complaints, constipation, diarrhea and colic, infertility and impotence, menstrual and climacteric disorders.

Since the early 1990s, the improved Stimul 5 model was produced, allowing the patient to choose impulse type. Besides neutral impulses used to treat chronic pain, sedative impulses can be selected in case of acute pain, insomnia, irritability and allergies, as well as fortifying impulses for paralyses, low blood pressure and general enfeeblement and to support the immune system. Different types of electro-acupuncture devices remain on the market today.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have, despite all obstacles, found their place among treatment methods, as well as natural healing and other systems of alternative medicine. What to add regarding acupuncture? Perhaps we can only say that each of us has to choose how he or she will tend their body.

On Acupuncture

History of Acupuncture: in Czechoslovakia  in Particular

PhDr. Veronika Löblová