Bioccular Transcerebral Iontophoresis

What is it?

Bioccular transcerebral iontophoresis (BTI) is a treatment that was developed around 1915 by Georges Bourguignon, M.D., D.Sc., who was a neurologist and neurophysiologist and a member of the French Academy of Medicine. This treatment was first used to treat World War I soldiers who were suffering from sequelae of severe head injuries, such a bullet going through someone’s brain. BTI treatments have since been used successfully with those who have affections of the brain not only following head trauma (such as pain, epilepsy, muscle contractions, muscle atrophy, paralysis, depression, fatigue, sleeplessness and vertigo), but also due to inflammation (such as multiple sclerosis), infection (encephalitis, meningitis or facial paralysis), stroke (hemiplegia, amnesia), hypoxia (spastic paralysis (cerebral palsy) or due to respiratory arrest), or degenerative diseases (such as Parkinson’s disease or aphasia). Other conditions that have also been helped are sequelae from damage to the eyes (such as corneal scarring, retinitis and optic neuritis), spinal cord (such as following spinal cord injury, inflammation (such as transverse myelitis), infection (such as poliomyelitis)), peripheral nerve injury (polyneuropathy), diplopia, mental retardation, Down syndrome, and retarded growth in children.

BTI has also been used very successfully to restore tissues that have been damaged following prolonged inflammation as in patients with scleroderma, and may be also the only known effective treatment for people suffering from complex regional pain syndrome, formerly known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (including the more minor vasomotor dysfunctions, such as cold and discolored limbs), which typically results from injuries to important nerve plexuses. Since this syndrome was first identified during the U.S. Civil War, it has baffled all attempts of remedial treatment, aside from BTI.

BTI has also been used in patients with some types of upper motor neuron lesions associated with weakness, spasticity, clonus, and hyperreflexia; patients with scar tissue abnormalities and keloids, Dupuytren’s contracture and post-traumatic joint ankylosis.

Dr. Joseph Saine went to Paris soon after the World War II to learn this method of treatment from Professor Bourguignon and afterward supervised thousands of BTI treatments over a period of 55 years in his clinic in Montreal. In particular, he treated numberless patients with multiple sclerosis and epilepsy with marked improvement.

Principles of treatment

A tiny, painless and barely perceptible direct electrical current is transmitted from the eyes through the brain to the neck, back or extremities.

This micro-electrical current carries different ions (i.e., calcium, magnesium, or iodide) through the brain and spinal cord from one electrode to the other.

The rehabilitation of neural tissue and restoration of function is likely achieved by decreasing scar tissues in the eyes, brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves and soft tissues, and by improving circulation which helps to regulate function and repair neural tissues. Bio-medical researchers have also demonstrated that simple direct electrical currents can stimulate by itself nerve cell regeneration.


The duration of the treatment is approximately 30 minutes and is performed at first once or twice a day for 5 consecutive days. The frequency of treatment is decreased afterwards to 3 times a week, then once a week to once a month. During a BTI treatment, patients must lie quietly for the length of the treatment and therefore it is not always well suited for children under 5, unless the child is particularly cooperative or when the treatment is administered during sleep.


Positive results following BTI treatments are usually noticed within the first few treatments and are, as a rule, cumulative and lasting. Treatments are continued as long as the patient is improving, at which time the patient takes a pause. When treatments are resumed after a pause period of usually three to four weeks, improvements become manifest again.

What improves in any individual patient is not predictable beforehand, as benefits are limited to the capacity of the body to fully heal damage to neural tissues.

Side Effects

BTI treatments have been used on many thousands of patients for over 100 years. Side effects from BTI treatments when administered by a well-trained person are minimal to none and, most commonly, only mild and short-lasting skin irritations is noted at point of contact of the electrodes.

Case examples

Case 1 – A 48 y.o. woman, who had been suffering from multiple sclerosis for 16 years, had lost most of the function in her left hand and arm for at least 5 years. In 1996, she received three BTI treatments and recovered 70% of the function in her left hand and arm. In 1998, she returned for another week of treatments and recovered another 20% of function in her left hand and arm and 30% of function in her left leg. In 2000, she received another series of treatments with further improvements in her left leg.

Case 2 – F.T. is a 47 y.o. woman, who was affected with Bell’s palsy since 1972 and had been legally blind since the age of 2 following an infection, which affected her eyes (“retina were burnt from playing in the sun while having measles”). In 2000, she received eight BTI treatments within a week and recovered her sight (225/10 to 50/20) and 90% of her facial function. She reported that for the first time in 28 years she was able to blow out candles on her birthday cake.

Case 3 – A 20 y.o. male, who at 18 had a sudden heart arrest with loss of breathing for 8 minutes. After this incident, he was left completely paralyzed on his left side (sensory and motor function), and had complete loss of memory and language. After 1 1/2 years of physical and speech therapy and special tutoring, he improved to about 50% and remained at that level for the next several months. Dramatic mood swings and insomnia that made its appearance after his heart arrest never improve despite receiving a number of rehab therapies. After the first BTI treatment, his mood swings and insomnia disappeared and his personality returned to the one he had prior to the sudden heart arrest. On the morning of the third of treatment, he recognized his father, by saying, ˙Hi Dad,” for the first time since the heart arrest, as he had completely lost the faculty to recognize any face (known as facial agnosia). After one week of BTI treatments, he had recovered most of his memory, speech and motor function.

Case 4 – A 56 y.o. man, had been suffering from intractable burning pain on one side of his body following a spinal cord injury, which had occurred ten years before. He experienced within a few BTI treatments a 50-75% relief of pain, which lasted for at least the following three months.

Case 5 – A 31 y.o. woman, experienced a sudden paralysis with loss of sensory function on the left side of her body. She was diagnosed with transverse myelitis and after 3 months of rehabilitation therapy she was told that she would not recover the rest of the function that had been lost. Six months later, she received nine BTI treatments within one week and experienced a dramatic and lasting recovery of about 65% of her sensory and motor function.

Case 6 — Q. D. was normal until he had a seizure at three months old. His EEG was abnormal and he was put on Phenobarbitol. He had no family history of seizure, neither history of head trauma nor other etiologic factors related to epilepsy. As he continued to have seizures, he was hospitalized and was diagnosed with intractable malignant migrating seizures of infancy, a rare seizure disorder characterized by runs of seizures arising in an apparently random manner from multiple loci within either hemisphere. More medications were added to the Phenobarbital, including Sabral, Capra, Trileptol, Dilantin and Lorazepam but the severity and frequency of the seizures kept increasing. Antiepileptic drugs are ineffective and outcome is very poor in these infants. As a result of being on all these medications, he had become limp and completely unresponsive to his environment. After three months of hospitalization, the parents decided to return home against medical advice and stop all medications. They were told that their son would likely die within 24 hours. Q.D. experienced severe withdrawal symptoms for the first two days, slowly became more responsive and the seizures diminished in frequency and severity.

By the time Q.D. received his first BTI he was 19 months old and was having an average of 12 grand mal seizures a day, each lasting from 1-7 minutes. About once a month, he had a “screaming Mimi’s” seizure, which “makes your blood curdle and hair crawl.” This type of seizure lasts about 8-9 hours characterized by a series of sudden continuous 45 minutes screams with intermittence of 10 minutes of silence. They usually begin around 7 or 8 in the evening and last until morning. He was taking 1.5 mg of Lorazepam, as it was the only medication that had an impact on the seizures. After his first BTI treatment, he had only three very mild seizures, lasting about 15-20 seconds for the next 2½ weeks. At this time, Lorazepam was withdrawn but as the seizures started returning Lorazepam was resumed and a few BTI were given. The seizures disappeared again. For the next six months, he had only one mild seizure about every six to eight weeks. As soon as he would experience one of these seizures, one BTI was given and no second seizure would follow, which had the parents exclaim that BTI was “the greatest thing in the world.” He never experienced another “screaming Mimi’s” seizure after receiving his first BTI treatment seven months earlier.

Picture of André Saine, N.D., F.C.A.H.

André Saine, N.D., F.C.A.H.

André Saine is a 1982 graduate of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon. He is board-certified in homeopathy (1988) by the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians and has been teaching and lecturing on homeopathy since 1985. He is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on the subject of homeopathy.