Alpha-Stim Smart Probes vs AS-Trodes: Which Should You Use to Treat Your Pain?

When you purchase an Alpha-Stim M, you receive both Smart Probes and AS-Trode™ brand electrodes. Both can be used to treat acute, post-traumatic (including postoperative) and chronic pain, but how do you know which to use to treat your specific pain? Let’s first go over how Alpha-Stim treats pain, and then we’ll dive into when to use the probes versus the electrodes.

Using MET to Treat Pain

The term Microcurrent Electrical Therapy (MET), is used to describe a low current form of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) used for pain control. With Alpha-Stim, MET is applied in a specific pattern around the pain site for approximately 2 to 5 minutes through Smart Probes, or AS-Trode self-adhesive electrodes for longer applications.

What is the difference between MET and TENS?

While MET technology may sound similar to previous forms of TENS, the difference is found in the fact that MET uses far less current, but delivers the current in much longer pulses. 

In a traditional TENS device, the current is often several hundred times stronger than with Alpha-Stim. While the simple waveform used by TENS can initially reduce pain somewhat, the body accommodates to it, and therefore maintaining a therapeutic effect requires an increased amount of current.

In contrast, Alpha-Stim MET uses a more complex, patented waveform to modulate the pain signal rather than blocking it. The effects from Alpha-Stim are long-lasting and cumulative, and patients tend to see better results with continued use. There is also a significant amount of research supporting the safety and effectiveness of Alpha-Stim.

Using Alpha-Stim M Smart Probes vs AS-Trodes

Dr. Daniel L. Kirsch, inventor of Alpha-Stim, said that when it comes to Alpha-Stim’s Smart Probes versus AS-Trodes, the probes are almost always more effective. He is fond of saying, “It’s better to treat in the right place for 10 seconds than in the wrong place for 10 hours.”

Kirsch suggested that patients should start out by using probe treatments and look for one place that relieves the pain the most. If the pain remains after the probe treatment, they should place the AS-Trodes on that spot at 600 µA, or the highest comfortable current level, until the pain subsides.

“If the pain is not diminishing rapidly (after a few minutes) with the AS-Trodes, move them around every 10 minutes or so until you find a placement that works best,” Kirsch said.

  • AS-Trodes are necessary for treating post-traumatic or post-surgical pain with the Alpha-Stim (0.5 Hz and 100 µA for a minimum of one hour at a time),” Kirsch said. “Leave the AS-Trodes on at 100 µA for as long as possible (24/7) turning the current up to 600 µA to manage pain. Once the pain subsides, turn it back to 100 µA. This may be used indefinitely as necessary.”


  • The AS-Trodes can also be used in place of the earclips for CES if patients experience dizziness. Kirsch said that in this case, patients should place the AS-Trodes on their shoulders and treat at a low current.


“Our general protocol follows sound electrophysiological properties, culled from several health care systems I studied over four decades. It is proven to work beyond most other therapies, including drugs,” Kirsch said.

Learn more about Alpha-Stim for pain management here, or if you’re ready to try Alpha-Stim as part of your path to fast, safe, and effective pain relief, get started here

If you already own an Alpha-Stim and would like help on how to use your Alpha-Stim M device, we offer free clinical support Monday – Friday from 8 am – 5 pm CST at 1-800-FOR-PAIN. You can also email clinical support questions to

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