1) What is hyperhidrosis?
According to the US National Library of Medicine, “hyperhidrosis is a medical condition in which a person sweats excessively and unpredictably. People with hyperhidrosis may sweat even when the temperature is cool or when they are at rest.”
Hyperhidrosis can really disrupt a person’s ability to do what many of us take for granted. It can be physically, emotionally and psychologically challenging to say the very least. It is estimated that hyperhidrosis affects 2-3% of the general population.
The good news is that hyperhidrosis is very treatable. While there are many treatment methods available, Hidrex USA believes the safest, most natural, drug-free, and most cost-effective over the longterm is tap water iontophoresis or TWI. Our manufacturering partner Hidrex GmbH (Germany) has been making top of the line TWI devices for over 35 years and is a market leader in Europe.
2) What is tap water iontophoresis and how does it work?
Tap water iontophoresis, or TWI, for hyperhidrosis is the technique of using a mild electrical current running through water to deliver ions into the body. While it is not completely understood how TWI works, it is generally accepted that the process harmlessly blocks the skin ducts; the results of its use are proven and well documented as a safe and effective means for reducing the symptoms of hyperhidrosis, which are typically sweaty hands or palms, feet, or underarms. In fact, TWI has been used to treat hyperhidrosis for over 40 years, and is one of the most prevalent treatment options in Europe, where hyperhidrosis has been much more recognized, diagnosed and treated.
The effects ARE reversible, meaning that if the treatment is stopped, then the symptoms can return over time. Think of it as a workout or a type of physical therapy: you get the results based on how diligent you are in doing your exercises or therapy sessions. Fortunately, after an initial treatment phase (about ten sessions of 15 minutes each, not less than one day apart, for most users), then a simple and easy therapy maintenance phase of 1 to 2 sessions per week is typically all that is needed to maintain normal sweating.
3) What are the components in an iontophoresis device?
There are basically 4 parts to an iontophoresis device:
- The source of the electrical current (a module or control unit, such as the DVP1000). This is also the “brains” where all the special features are built in.
- An object to hold water next to the skin to be treated (typically trays for the hands and feet or absorbent pads for body parts that are hard or impossible to submerge like the underarms or face)
- Electrodes (that must be covered by the above object) to deliver current to the water
- Cables to transmit the current from the module to the electrodes
4) Are there any contraindications (is there any reason I can't use the device)?
Certain conditions are considered contraindications for iontophoresis, so the device should not be used if you have any of the following unless otherwise directed by your physician:
- Patient with a cardiac pacemaker;
- Patient with an ICD (implantable cardioverter/defibrillator);
- Patient with a metal-containing intrauterine device (IUD);
- Metallic implants within the current path (arm or leg);
- Large skin defects/wounds that cannot be covered with petroleum jelly;
- Patients with impaired sensibility in their hands or feet (e.g. patients with polyneuropathies);
- Potentially malignant lesions, acute localized infections, skin eruptions,or swollen, broken, or inflamed areas;
- Any area where sensation is absent or impaired;
- Apply electrical current through or across the chest, brain, or sinuses;
- Patients with suspected or diagnosed heart problems or epilepsy.
5) I saw an iontophoresis device on the internet for HALF the price of Hidrex and some other devices! Why shouldn't I just get that one and save a lot of money?
It’s true; there ARE some devices out there that are half the cost. But you know the saying: you get what you pay for. But there’s a little more to it than that.
Every few years, there is a company that pops up thinking they can make an iontophoresis device cheaper than some of the more established manufacturers and get a lot of business. Well, they can, and they do, for a short time. The products of these companies sound and look great initially, but then you find out that they don’t always deliver what they promise, AND they don’t hold up over time. There is currently a company that operates under THREE different brands, but they have two different models that are made in China. They can make it cheaper because it is not quality components and manufacturing, they do NOT go through FDA approval/clearance (which is costly). One of the models is outright irresponsibly made without safety circuits to protect the user (it is simply a voltage regulator with electrodes!). So of course you can get a cheaper device, (or make one yourself for that matter). But would you rather spend $695-950 once, or $400 multiple times, or, as some of our customers do, pay $400 first, and THEN buy one of ours after the cheap device breaks?
Hidrex brand products are designed by German engineers and manufactured in Germany with great care to components and quality, and have an excellent reputation for longevity, quality, and efficacy. Hidrex GmbH (Germany) has been around for over FORTY years, and is considered the leader in iontophoresis. Do you really want to use a device that mixes water and electricity from a manufacturer that is cutting corners, has three different shell companies, and has been around only a couple of years?
6) Why are Hidrex/Hidrex USA models better?
We get this question all the time and we LOVE answering it! Where do we start?!
Let’s start with the ultimate reason: efficacy. Many manufacturer claim a rate of effectiveness; if you believe them (ours included), Hidrex devices have the highest claim at 98% effectiveness. Others have a much lower claim or no claim at all. We base our claim both on clinical data from medical studies as well as return rates of our product. There REALLY is a difference in a Hidrex device!
We have this high efficacy due to the experience and expertise of Hidrex GmbH (Germany) that has been in business for over 40 years, and in fact was born out of a clinical study at a German educational institute. Hidrex GmbH’s standing as the market leader in iontophoresis devices and its dedication to innovation and improvements have led to this high efficacy rate. The Hidrex USA brands are extensions of this (and are actually the newest models manufactured by Hidrex).
Hidrex products are also very durable, and hold up over time. Some cheaper products (in price and in how they are manufactured) made by companies in existence for only 3-4 years, carry a one year warranty and are made in China. Hidrex USA devices are manufactured by Hidrex GmbH (Germany), which has been in existence for over 40 years, and have an excellent reputation for quality and durability, carry a 3 year warranty, but they will last many times as long as that. So you will have a product that will last for years and years, and will be glad you made the investment in your betterment, and will not have to be looking for a new device after a year or two.
From a specification standpoint, you cannot get a more powerful device than the DVP1000. At a maximum of 60 volts, it is the most powerful device on the market. The DP450 is close behind at 40V. Also, many other models offer you only Direct Current (DC) OR Pulsed Current (PC). Both the DVP1000 and DP450 offer BOTH DC and PC, as you will probably want to treat different body areas with different types of current for the best balance of efficiency and comfort. The DVP1000 is the only model on the market that also has Variable Pulsed Current, to allow even more customization of your treatment for efficiency and comfort. (Check out the FAQ on VPC for more information on this).
Add in other features like Anti-Shock Electronics (ASE) and Over-Treatment Protection (OTP), the Current Limitation feature, and we have by far the most advanced models on the market.
7) Why is FDA clearance (or any given country's equivalent) of a tap water iontophoresis device important?
There are a number of iontophoresis devices available on the internet, with only a very small number of them FDA approved (or the equivalent for their country of manufacturing). Having a product FDA approved or equivalent ensures that the device has been designed and proven to be safe and effective for its intended use.
Hidrex USA TWI devices are CE Marked as they are manufactured in Germany as well as FDA cleared as they are distributed from the U.S.
There are other good and approved devices available, but we are most concerned for the safety of the users with some new devices that have appeared in the last couple of years. These manufacturers that have no approval from their country’s health department (or any other country’s) and have no chance of it being approved even if they submitted it, due to design. There is one device in particular that is not really a device at all; it is just an A/C wall adapter with selectable voltages and some electrodes! There is no module that has protective circuits and other mechanisms in place in the case of a failure of the A/C adapter; this is very alarming and careless. We encourage shoppers to really know the products they are purchasing.
Remember, a tap water iontophoresis device is mixing water with electricity; don’t you think it would be good to have the approval of a third party that deems it safe to use?
8) Is a prescription required, and if so can you help me get one?
A prescription IS required if we are shipping within the U.S. The prescription can just say “Hidrex device” or “iontophoresis device” or the physician can fill out this form if they prefer. The Rx or form can then be scanned (or a picture taken with a phone) and emailed to email@example.com. It can also be emailed or faxed to the 1-844-374-9872 directly from your physician’s office.
A prescription is also necessary if you want to submit to your insurance for reimbursement, which we encourage our customers to do (refer to this guide for help).
If you need a prescription, there are a few ways we can help you:
- We have compiled a list of physicians that have written scripts for our products in the past, and we may be able to send you a list of the ones in your area that you can visit to get a prescription.
- If your insurance plan has a telemedicine option, you may try scheduling a virtual consultation to get an Rx. This can be free or very inexpensive, and FAST!
- If your insurance does not have a telemedicine option, or you don’t have insurance, you can pay a small fee of $48 ($3 for a monthly plan, and $45 for the virtual visit) on this telemedicine service: https://www.teladoc.com/getteladoc/.
By the way, if you find an iontophoresis device on the internet that you DON’T need a prescription for, chances are that it is either not effective, it is not FDA approved/cleared, and/or it is not authorized to be sold in the U.S. You will be taking your chances on the device’s safety, effectiveness AND on the vendor honoring any money back guarantee or any other consumer concern. And you certainly will not be able to get it covered by insurance if it is not FDA approved/cleared.
9) How long do I have to treat/what does a typical treatment schedule look like?
Think of it as a workout or a type of physical therapy; you get the results based on how diligent you are in doing your exercises or therapy sessions. First you go through an initial treatment phase (usually about ten sessions of 15 minute each, no less than a day apart), then a simple and easy therapy maintenance phase of one to two treatments for hyperhidrosis per week is typically all that is needed to keep the symptoms away. The effects ARE reversible, meaning if the treatment is stopped, then the symptoms can return over time.
As there are some variables such as the severity of the condition and the variable pulse range used among other factors, there is some variance for each user to see what works for them (they may not need to use it for 15 minutes/session or they may find that a little longer gives better results).
10) What’s the difference between direct and pulsed current?
Direct current simply means that the voltage is being transmitted 100% of the time.
Conventional or traditional pulsed current means that the current alternates its transmission between ON and OFF for equal lengths of time. The pulse and the pause are the same duration. (For example, 50 microseconds ON and then 50 microseconds OFF, and then repeat).
11) Is direct or pulsed current better?
Direct current is inherently more efficient because the user is getting current or treatment ALL of the time, but the trade-off is that you can feel it more.
Pulsed current can be almost in-perceptible at certain voltages, but is not as efficient, and typically requires more or longer treatment sessions. So in pulsed current mode, you can stand higher currents than in direct current mode – this is an advantage when treating sensitive areas, such as sweaty armpits, or even hands, and for the treatment of children.
However, there is a hybrid between the two called VARIABLE pulsed current, available exclusively on the Hidrex DVP1000.
12) What is Variable Pulsed Current?
VARIABLE pulsed current is a type of hybrid current between traditional pulsed current and direct current and is available ONLY on the Hidrex DVP1000. It allows for the ON part of the cycle (the pulse) to run longer than the OFF part of the cycle (the pause) in 10% increments (for example, ON 70%, OFF 30%). This allows for more effective treatment AND a better comfort level. It is customizable to the individual based on their preferences and treatment tolerance levels. This is especially critical in hand, underarm, or face treatments where the skin is more sensitive, or for the treatment of children.
The Variable pulsed current measurement is defined as a pulse-width. Let’s look at how this compares to traditional pulsed current and direct current:
- A pulse-width of 50% is equivalent to traditional pulsed current operation. In this case, the pause is as long as the pulse.
- A pulse-width of 100% (no pause) is equivalent to direct current operation.
With increasing percentages of the pulse-width, the length of the pulse is increased and the length of the pause is decreased accordingly. Due to the shorter pause, more current than traditional pulsed current is applied The variable pulse-widths of the Hidrex DVP1000 allows adjustments in 10% increments between the more sensitive pulsed current and the stronger direct current . The following chart shows how treatment efficiency increases as pulse-width increases:
13) What is the difference between the DVP1000 and the DP450?
The two iontophoresis models we carry, the DVP1000 and the DP450, generally both have plenty of power/voltage to treat any area of the body (although in rare cases, a person may need more than the 40V of the DP450 for feet treatment), but there are two main features to highlight to really understand the differences between them:
- Both models have Direct Current (DC) and Pulsed Current (PC), but the DVP1000 also has Variable Pulsed Current (VPC). VPC is a hybrid current between the two that allows you to treat at higher voltages with a strong current while still being comfortable. Or in other words, it has almost the same efficiency of DC with the comfort of PC. (See the above FAQs on types of current for a more detailed explanation). We call this the Comfort factor.
- The DVP1000 also has 3 profiles, or customizable presets, while the DP450 has only one profile. This is ideal if you are treating more than one body area, so that you can easily switch to your saved settings for each area. We call this the Convenience factor.
The below chart shows ALL of the differences between the two models:
14) What is Anti Shock Electronics (ASE©)?
Tapwater Iontophoreris devices have historically had a moderate likelihood to deliver an uncomfortable but safe electric shock to the user under certain circumstances, particularly when removing their skin from the water source.
All Hidrex TWI devices have a special feature called Anti Shock Electronics (ASE©) built into the devices to practically eliminate the chance for this shock to happen.
It is important to note that ASE© is only enabled while the device is ON, so it is highly recommended to always separate the area being treated from water source (remove hands or feet from the water or the pads & electrodes assembly from underarms or face) BEFORE turning the device OFF. (You CAN do this while a treatment session is in progress; just do NOT turn device OFF until separating treatment area from the water source.)
15) What is your warranty?
We offer a three year warranty on the operation of TWI modules only (accessories or consumables are not warrantied). We will repair or replace the device at no charge unless the failure of the device is due to abuse, mishandling or any other apparent external damage.
16) Do you offer a money back guarantee?
Yes, we are so confident that your Hidrex iontophoresis device will give you satisfactory results if used correctly that we offer a 8 week guarantee or your money back (you are responsible for return shipping costs).
17) Do you offer free support or consulting to help me with my treatments?
Absolutely! We want the same thing as you: for you to get a great result! If you are not getting good results quickly or just prefer to talk or email with a person rather than just rely on the documentation sent with the order, you can absolutely call or email us. It IS helpful for us to consult you if we know how you have been treating, so we ask that you provide to us by email a log of your treatment sessions. You can email the following treatment log to firstname.lastname@example.org.
18) Do you have a rental option or rent-to-own program?
We don’t have a formal rental option or a rent-to-own program, and here is why: renting the device that you will need for a long time will cost you more money in the long run, EVEN if it is a Rent to Own program. With our product that has an 8 week money back guarantee, there is no reason to rent the product if the main reason is to see if it will work. But many people consider using a Rent to Own as a makeshift and more costly financing program. We prefer to offer a TRUE consumer financing program that will not cost the customer any more money if they pay it off in time, so it is a much better alternative than a rental program. And in the rare case that the product needs to be returned, there is a FULL refund. With a rental program, each month’s rental is gone forever!
See the next FAQ for more information about our consumer financing program.
19) Do you offer consumer financing?
YES! We are often asked if we have a Rent to Own program, which customers think about utilizing as a financing plan, but this really costs them more over time, and it is not risk-free if the product happens to not work for them (although we only have about a 2% return rate, for any reason). We offer a TRUE consumer financing program through PayPal Credit, which offers 6 months to pay without interest for any purchase over $99. If the product is returned, you will be issued a full refund except for any shipping costs (you are also responsible for return shipping costs).
Here is how you do it: at Checkout, select PayPal as your payment method. After you are redirected to a PayPal webpage, select PayPal Credit as your method to pay (do NOT select your credit card on file with PayPal as the payment method). You will then fill out a very short application, and then finish the checkout.
We recommend paying it off in full within the 6 month time frame to avoid any interest charges.
20) Can I purchase my Hidrex device with my HSA or FSA card?
Yes! The Hidrex device is classified as a medical product, and is therefore eligible to be purchased with a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account debit card.
21) I saw a similar model on the internet for a slightly lower price. Why shouldn't I just get that one?
It is true, there is a similar model to our top-selling DVP1000. Our manufacturing partner Hidrex GmbH (Germany) manufactures both the Hidrex brand and the Hidrex USA brand. The Hidrex USA brand models are FDA approved; others are not. Our manuals were re-written in native English and are easy to understand; other manuals are rough German to English translations, and are stated as difficult to understand on various reviews. Also, if you are seeking insurance reimbursement (which we highly encourage you to submit for), you will need to have our FDA approved version.
Let’s summarize ALL of the reasons why you should purchase the Hidrex USA models:
- FDA approved means it is insurance reimburseable and in compliance with U.S. government regulations
- The Hidrex USA models and documentation were specifically customized for the US and English speaking market.
- We also provide Quick Setup Guides for quickly understanding and setting up your product for use upon delivery
- You get stateside customer support in your same general time zone, both by email and phone
- Fast delivery from within the US (usually 2-4 business days shipping time, as we are centrally located in Texas)
- By dealing with a US based company, you get the assurance that we will honor all warranties and guarantees (we have heard stories of one overseas distributor not honoring their money back guarantees)
Also it is important to note that overseas models are NOT always directly comparable to models from a specification standpoint (For example, the Hidrex GP400 only has Direct Current, while our Hidrex USA DP450 as Direct AND Pulsed Current.)
Any website that is advertising, selling and/or shipping a Hidrex product into North, Central or South America is in violation of our exclusive distributorship agreement, and should be considered untrustworthy and sketchy, so we discourage the patronizing and support of such businesses. Occasional discounted pricing are unauthorized attempts to steal customers, and the customer usually unknowingly pays for it in the end.
We look forward to earning your business and supporting you!
22) One or both of my electrodes are discoloring. Is there something wrong?
It is normal for at least one of the electrodes to become discolored after just a couple of uses. Typically, the black electrode (the negative side) gets discolored faster or more. The discoloration does NOT affect efficacy.
What DOES affect efficacy is calcium or mineral deposits that accumulate over time due to water hardness. Every 3-6 months (depending on water hardness), the electrodes should be soaked in a half water/half vinegar solution overnight and then scrubbed and rinsed to prevent loss of efficacy. (We often get calls or emails from customers about a year after purchase that their device is not as effective. A good cleaning always does the job.)
23) I've read that I am supposed to switch sides of the tray halfway through treatment. Is that right?
Switching which body area goes to which side of the tray is called polarity switching, and there are some misconceptions about it, so let’s discuss it so you can do it correctly IF you even do it at all.
Polarity switching (for example, putting your right hand in the tray with the red electrode or the positive side and your left hand in the black or negative side, and then switching them after a given time period) has some possible upsides as well as downsides.
It is proven that the positive/red electrode is slightly more powerful than the negative/black electrode, so theoretically, if one hand/foot always stayed in the positive side, it would get results first. The hand/foot in the negative side would eventually catch up after several treatments. However, if you are treating at a high dosage, which is much more likely when you are treating with a Variable Pulsed Current that the DVP1000 offers, the hand/foot in the negative side is getting treated at a level that does not make it lag behind the positive side, so there is typically not a need to practice polarity switching in this case.
Because of the higher/faster efficacy in the positive side, many physicians were taught many years ago to recommend polarity switching and some manufacturers have built into their device a feature to switch polarity after x number of minutes into a treatment session. For reasons discussed below, Hidrex products do not have polarity switching features and do not recommend switching within a given treatment session.
On the downside, many users that have done polarity switching halfway through a treatment session report an intense and very uncomfortable feeling immediately after the switch due to the quick reversal of the electrical current. For that reason, we recommend if you DO practice polarity switching, it is better to switch every treatment rather than in the middle of treatment (for example, treat right hand on red and left hand on black on Monday, and then right hand on black and left hand on red on Tuesday. That way, you avoid the negative affect of this treatment. This is the primary reason Hidrex does NOT make Polarity Switching as a feature of the device.
Whether you practice polarity switching is a personal choice. On one hand, it may possibly have the hands reach dryness more equally. On the other hand, it is a bit tedious to remember or log which side to do every treatment, and it may not even be necessary. On occasion, we do have customers that we advise to practice polarity switching, so it can be necessary in some cases,
The bottom line is, if you do decide to switch polarity, we recommend switching every treatment not halfway through treatment, to get the possible benefit of it without the possible discomfort.
24) I feel the current more on one side than the other. Is something wrong with my device?
There is positive side (the red) and a negative side (the black) of the current flow. It is very common for a user to feel the current on one side more than the other.
Interestingly, although the positive side is clinically proven to be slightly more effective, which is why some users like to practice switching sides or “polarity switching”, there is no rule or consistent reporting that the positive side is felt more. Some users feel the positive side more and others feel the negative side more. This is normal and ok.
25) My device is less effective than it used to be. Is it defective?
It is very rare for a device to be defective or become defective. In almost all cases, the reason for a device becoming less effective is due to the electrodes needing a good cleaning. Mineral deposits accumulate on the electrodes (metal plates) and need to be removed from time to time. There are many ways to clean these effectively. One of the easiest is to soak the electrodes in a half water/half vinegar solution overnight and then scrub them off the next day with a towel and then rinse. This almost always returns the device to its original efficacy level.
26) The device does not go up to the voltage that I preset it at. Is it defective?
It is very rare for a device to be defective or become defective. We occasionally get calls or emails from new customers that are using the device for the first time that state that the voltage does not go up as high as they set it at, or that it dropped down a bit in voltage after going to the set voltage. (for example, they set the voltage at 35, and it goes to 35 temporarily and then drops to 29V. Or it never even gets to 35 and just stops at 29).
When this happens, it is most likely that the Current Limitation feature has been activated (see page 18 of the manual). This happens when a person’s body electrical resistance is very low. The voltage will only increase up to a certain point until the body resistance increases, which will happen with subsequent treatments as a person becomes “drier”. As your resistance increases, then higher voltages can be reached.
If a user experience this, it is important to remember that the device saves the settings as it was last used if it is in a Profile setting, so it is recommended that the user manually increase the voltage to a higher point than it was last used at to make sure the device can “try” to go higher on the next session. (for example, using the example above, if the device stopped at 29V, and the user previously set it at 35V, then the next time the device is turned on, it will only go to 29V unless the user again increases it higher to 30 or more.)
27) Will I have to buy replacement parts later?
If you are treating hands or feet, the package comes with fitted cotton towels to cover up the electrodes. Just like a cotton t-shirt, the more you wash them, the faster they will deteriorate. You can replace them with the Hidrex towels that are cut and stitched to fit within our carrying case trays and ergonomic trays, but you can also use your own towel. We recommend a white (no dyes) cotton wash cloth or anything similar that will cover up the electrodes and prevent you from touching the electrodes directly during treatment.
If you are treating underarms or other areas that require and other special pad, then you will need to replace the pad every year or two, depending on how you take care of them.
Unless you damage a cable or anything else, you don’t really need to purchase any other parts or accessories later other than the pads mentioned above, unless you need to treat an area that you previously were not treating.