Electric currents applied to the skin could speed up the healing of wounds. Although this process was observed 150 years ago, it has not been investigated since.
Cells and tissues function as chemical batteries, with positive potassium ions and negative chlorine ions flowing across membranes. This creates electric field patterns across the body. Damaged tissue causes a disruption in the battery, and the resulting altered field attracts repair cells to the wounded area.
Scientists grew mouse cells and tissues (like corneas) in a lab, then wounded them. Based on how they applied varying electrical fields to the tissue samples, researchers found that they could stop or accelerate the healing process.
The genes that make repair cells move from place to place can apparently be influenced by electric fields. Electric fields can deactivate genes known to prepare repair cells for migration, and genes that halt the repair process.