OJRM  Vol.3 No.4 , December 2014
Stimulation Therapies and the Relevance of Fractal Dynamics to the Treatment of Diseases
ABSTRACT
This paper provides an overview of the conventional therapeutic stimulation methodologies and proposes a more effective stimulation approach based on a consideration of the inherently fractal nature of normal biological dynamics. There are varying forms of physiological stimulations including the use of electrical currents, electromagnetic fields, temperature change, ultrasound, light and so forth. These stimulation therapies can be categorized into three main modalities: electrical stimulation modalities, thermal modalities, and non-thermal modalities. Electrical stimulation modalities include therapeutic techniques where electrical current is directly applied to the body of treated subject. Direct application of electrical current to the brain also falls under this category. Thermal modalities consist of stimulations that induce temperature change on the body for therapeutic effects without the direct transfer of electrical current. Non-thermal modalities functions through energy transfer without directly applying electrical current and without the effects of temperature change. A fourth miscellaneous category for stimulation techniques consists of the stimulation effects of music along with physical stimulation as in massage therapy. Common to most of these therapeutic strategies is that the stimulation is delivered at certain fixed periods or frequencies. We introduce some rudiments of fractal dynamics, and the notions of self-similarity, scale-invariance, and long-range correlation or memory in the dynamics of a system. We present evidence that fractal dynamics is commonly observed in healthy physiological systems while unhealthy systems are shown to veer away from fractal dynamics towards periodic or random motion. This difference in dynamics can be observed in many biological signals such as in neural activity, heart rate variations, and breathing patterns. We propose that an optimal stimulation technique should thus be one that encourages an unhealthy, non-fractal pathological system towards a healthy, fractal dynamic. Given the ubiquity of fractality in healthy biological dynamics, we argue that a fractal pattern of stimulation is a more optimal approach to functional restoration than the widely used conventional periodic stimulation, which may further consolidate the existing pathological dynamics.

Cite this paper
Cheng, W. , Law, P. , Kwan, H. and Cheng, R. (2014) Stimulation Therapies and the Relevance of Fractal Dynamics to the Treatment of Diseases. Open Journal of Regenerative Medicine, 3, 73-94. doi: 10.4236/ojrm.2014.34009.
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