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Dr. Ho’s Pain Therapy System

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Dr. Ho’s Pain Therapy System

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23 Customer Reviews

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Dr. Ho’s Pain Therapy System is a TENS unit that is alleged to offer a drug-free method of relief for some of the most common pain conditions. Scientific support is lacking, however, and TENS doesn’t address the underlying cause of your symptoms.


  • Drug-free and non-invasive
  • Unlikely to cause harm
  • Managing pain from home is convenient
  • Favorable return policy


  • Strong evidence supporting efficacy is lacking
  • Will not address the underlying source of the pain
  • Pricy, and replacement pads can add considerable cost
  • Many comparable devices are more affordably priced
  • Reviews at Amazon are mediocre

Dr. Ho’s Pain Therapy System Review: Can It Relieve Pain?

By Anthony Dugarte, M.D., C.S.C.S

Updated on: May 12, 2020

What is Dr. Ho's Pain Therapy System?

Dr. Ho claims that the Pain Therapy System can relieve pain, ease muscle tension, and improve circulation through transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulations (TENS).

Pain is among the most common reasons for a trip to the doctor’s office. More than 20% of US adults are estimated to suffer from chronic pain.

As the source of the pain can be wide-ranging, the treatment choices are just as variable. Common management options can include medications, supplements, ointments and creams, hot and cold packs, physical therapy, as well as more invasive medical procedures.

Both your pain and its management can carry substantial physical, emotional, and financial burdens.

Dr. Ho claims that his Pain Therapy System provides a drug-free and more cost-effective option for addressing your pain.

In fact, he claims that the Pain Therapy System can be used to manage the following conditions:

  • Headaches
  • Back Pain
  • Neck and Shoulder Pain
  • Joint Pain
  • Nerve Pain
  • General Aches and Pains

In this article, we’ll help you determine if these claims are true by detailing the recommended use of the device, reviewing the science behind TENS, as well as addressing the available purchasing options for the Pain Therapy System.

How to Use Your Pain Therapy System

Dr. Ho claims that the Pain Therapy System can help relieve pain from the comfort of your own home. This is said to be accomplished through TENS - the application of a gentle electrical current through adhesive massage pads.

To use your Pain Therapy System, start by placing the self-adhesive pads on to the skin overlying your pain. Next, click on the power dial.

Once the unit powers on, you can gradually increase the intensity and choose from three separate massage patterns modules; deep, vigorous, or gentle, calming massage. Also, each module offers four different massage techniques.

Set the built-in timer for 10 or 20 minutes - the Pain Therapy System will shut off automatically after your desired duration.

According to the website, TENS should work by sending electrical impulses along your nerves to prevent pain signals from reaching your brain. Dr. Ho claims that this will help relieve pain, decrease muscle tensions and spasms, and improve circulation in as little as 20 minutes.

Is There Any Science Backing the Pain Therapy System?

According to the product page, Dr. Ho commissioned clinical investigations that examined the proposed benefits of the Pain Therapy System.

While the Pain Therapy System was found to be effective in relieving muscle stiffness and tension in pain clinic patients when compared to the control group, this study was funded by Dr. Ho.

Also, without being published in a medical journal, it is unlikely that this study has undergone a rigorous peer-review process. Thus, results must be taken with a grain of salt.

The ability of TENS to relieve a variety of pain-related conditions has been rigorously studied elsewhere, however.

This review concluded that TENS might represent a safer option for pain relief when compared to other medical managements. However, the potential effects may be limited as individuals develop a tolerance to their TENS device.

In a review of 12 randomized trials, TENS did not improve symptoms related to chronic back pain, though researchers did conclude that it may offer short term improvements in functional disability. When reviewing 9 randomized studies, researchers similarly found the evidence supporting TENS as a back pain treatment to be lacking, mainly due to poor study quality.

In a study examining previous reviews of TENS use in those with chronic pain, researchers were unable to draw a strong conclusion. Again, they found the available evidence to be insufficient to effectively determine if TENS is beneficial or harmful in those with chronic pain.

Another recent large review also found the available evidence to be inconclusive regarding the ability of TENS to benefit acute low back pain.

As you can see, TENS is a well-studied topic. Unfortunately, due to the variety of study subjects, methods, and results, it has been challenging to draw strong conclusions regarding the effectiveness of TENS.

Is the Pain Therapy System Safe?

TENS devices like the Pain Therapy System are generally safe to use, though there are some things you should know about before using.

The risk for serious harm is unlikely, but minor side effects related to skin irritation are possible. You may unknowingly have an allergy to the adhesive used in the skin pads.

Shaving or trimming the area to which you apply the pads can limit irritation and ingrown hairs from repeated use of your TENS. Similarly, your skin should always be clean before pad placement.

While pads are reusable, they should also be kept clean. Ensure that the adhesive cover is free of dirt, debris, hair, etc. when you store them away and replace them frequently.

You should avoid placing pads over broken skin, cuts, abrasions, bruising, etc. to avoid unwanted pain or infections.

Lastly, it is advised that those with heart pacemakers or epilepsy, as well as those who are pregnant, should avoid the use of TENS.

The biggest risk for adverse effects when using TENS is that these devices do not address the underlying causes of pain. They simply mask the signal. Without properly identifying the source of your symptoms and taking proper steps in management, you may never truly experience relief.

Speak with a doctor to determine the best plan of care.

Pain Therapy System: The Cost

Dr. Ho’s Pain Therapy System can be purchased directly from the product page.

Three different options are available:

The Basic Package comes with the TENS unit, 8 regular pads, 2 large pads, foot pads, a travel bag, and an instructional DVD. It currently costs $199.99.

The Deluxe Package includes the same items except that you get double the amount of regular and large pads. This package costs $229.99.

Lastly, the Ultimate Package includes Dr. Ho’s Pain Therapy Back Relief Belt and Magic Heat Pad in addition to the contents of the Deluxe Package. It costs $279.99.

You can also purchase pad replacements. The kits vary in both the size and number of pads included and range from $35-$50.

Like other products offered by Dr. Ho, the Pain Therapy System is backed by a 90-day guarantee. If you’re unsatisfied, email drho@drhonow.com or call 1-877-DrHoNow (1-888-816-6547) to process your return.

The same packages are also available through Amazon and are priced similarly. Keep in mind that you’ll miss out on the 90-day guarantee with this option, however.

What Are the Alternatives?

Dr. Ho’s Pain Therapy System is not the only TENS unit on the market. With a little bit of investigating, you are likely to find comparable devices available for purchase in-store or online.

For example, the TENS Massager from iReliev comes with 20 pads and offers 8 different settings. At $59, it is less than a quarter of Dr. Ho’s intermediate package.

iReliev also offers a 100% money-back guarantee and has a 4.6-star rating on 677 reviews at Amazon.

This unit offers many additional pads, a variety of settings, and a 60-minute built-in timer. Considering the cost and the return policy, this is probably a better place to start if you’re considering a TENS unit.

The Bottom Line

Dr. Ho’s Pain Therapy System does offer convenience though the research in support of TENS is lacking. However, you should be aware that even if effective, TENS only addresses the symptom and not the underlying cause.

Therefore, you may find relief during use, but still experience pain when you’re not using the Pain Therapy System.

Nonetheless, the 90-day guarantee does allow ample time to determine if the Pain Therapy System can offer benefits. Though the system is pricey, this helps eliminate much of the financial risk to try it.

At HighYa, 16 users rate the Pain Therapy System 2.9-stars. Those unhappy cite product malfunctions, pad durability, and issues with the return policy. Customer support did seem to address all concerns and mentioned that they couldn’t control return policies when units are purchased through other vendors.

TENS may provide some relief, but given the available research, opting for a more cost-effective unit may be a better idea before splurging for the pricier system offered by Dr. Ho.

Either way, you should speak with your doctor about addressing the cause of your pain. Otherwise, it may persist even with using TENS and other therapeutic options.

Customer Reviews

2.4 Stars out of 23 Reviews
5 Star:30% 4 Star:4% 3 Star:4% 2 Star:0% 1 Star:60%
39% Recommend This Product
Start your review of Dr. Ho’s Pain Therapy System:
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Posted on Dec 28, 2023

Relief trials

By Doug 6., Ardmore, Alberta, Canada, Verified Reviewer

Overall, gives temporary relief, but not sustainable. Certainly does not cure, however, when combined with exercise and proper nutrition, it appears to enhance my well-being.

Length of Use: 2+ years

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons


Pain relief pads

Can be used virtually anywhere


Exagerated benefits

Food pad should be slightly tilted at the front

Posted on Feb 21, 2022

Piece of junk

By Gary W., Toronto, Canada, Verified Reviewer

The Tens unit is a piece of junk, with no medical accreditation or certification. After talking to customer service for the third time and having the unit replaced once already, I'm grateful I ordered from Amazon and their no-question money back guarantee. It should be renamed Dr. Ho Ho Ho. Honestly, I don't know who writes the positive reviews but I suspect Dr. Ho's staff between sessions of lying to clients.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

Amazon's fast delivery

Great advertising

The fact that unit does not work

Supposed customer support

Amount of time to get resolution, if any

The fact they don't test their equipment before shipping

Helpful Review? 2 People Have Voted

Posted on Feb 2, 2022

No return

By Werner K., Tennessee, Verified Reviewer

Although the unit seemed to be well designed and functioning, it did nothing for me. Trying to get a refund was denied. I did not read the fine print. So beware! Batteries required but NOT included! The small spray bottle quit after one use, putting the cold gel on the affected area puts it into spasms, it is nothing more than a tenses unit for more money, etc, etc, etc.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 3 People Have Voted

Posted on Oct 15, 2021

Circulating promoter

By Betty W., Delta, British Columbia, Canada, Verified Reviewer

Received the machine then realize it uses batteries only. Also need to use with water wetting the foot. It is dangerous for my 90-year-old mom to use water on the foot to work on the machine, easy for her to fall if she suddenly stands up or walks with a pair of wet feet. The batteries and wet foot are never mentioned in the advertising, it gives viewers a misleading image that this machine is simple and easy to use. Those hidden trouble issues are never mentioned. Also, customers are required to pay for the returning postage. Unreliable company! Terribly upset.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

No “pros” were specified in this review

Have to use batteries to operate


Garbage and old fashioned technique

Helpful Review? 2 People Have Voted

Posted on Jan 21, 2021

I would not recommend Dr. Ho products

By Wilson G., Belleville, Ontario, Canada, Verified Reviewer

I bought Dr. Ho's handheld machine with the 4 small and large pads and I think they did me no good at all. I, however, bought the big white round foot machine, it's called "Circulation promoter fast relief for foot and leg pain". This machine turns out to be a nightmare for me. I used it for about 3 months approximately. Then my feet and legs started to swell up big time with water retention. This has never happened to me before or to no one else in my family of 7 brothers and sisters. Now I have to wear compression socks for the rest of my life. I am 69 years old going 70. This is a living nightmare for sure. I am about 90% sure that the Dr. Ho's foot machine caused this problem. The regular doctors won't touch this subject with a ten-foot pole as they all stick together. I cannot find any way to reverse this problem. These socks I have to wear for the rest of my life is horrible.

No, I would not recommend any Dr. Ho products to anyone. Plus, they are way overpriced.

Length of Use: 2+ years

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

At first I was excited about the product

This machine may work for others but did nothing for me

Found to be little to no benefit

In some case done me harm, especially foot and legs

Overpriced - especially the pads

Company Response from DR-HO'S

Jan 25, 2021

Hello Wilson. Thank you for the feedback on your experience with the DR-HO'S Circulation Promoter. I'm sorry to hear about your experience, and about the swelling in your legs. The Circulation Promoter is designed to relieve symptoms associated with various pains, and improve circulation. In effect, it's meant to help reduce inflammation, so it is very odd that this would happen. In your review, you noted that the length of use was 2+ years, but this occurred in the last 3 months. It could be coincidental because our device uses TENS and EMS technologies, which are generally very safe for people to use. There has been a lot of research conducted on the benefits of TENS therapy over the last 30 years and there are no instances that display the risks as increased swelling or water retention. Unfortunately, there may be another underlying factor causing this issue and we highly recommend that you consult a doctor for more information into your condition and what may be affecting it. In our experience, it's highly unlikely that a doctor would not diagnose or provide you with a course of treatment. There are also some safety precautions outlined in our manuals that are important to go through as well. If you have any further questions or concerns, please email us at drho@dhronow.com. In the subject, please write "attention Kathe", and I'd be happy to assist.

Helpful Review? 2 People Have Voted

Posted on Nov 3, 2020

Machine is not good, can't buy spare part

By Anh Tuan L., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, Verified Reviewer

This Pain Therapy is more expensive than it's worth. The machine can be out of service at any time. I bought my therapy about a year ago and the machine is dead without any reason, never drop it. There is no spare machine to buy so basically all therapy is going into the garbage.

Length of Use: 6–12 months

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

No “pros” were specified in this review


No spare machine

Company Response from DR-HO'S

Nov 4, 2020

Hi Anh, please note that all of our Pain Therapy Systems come with a 1-year warranty. If you are having any issues, or need any assistance with troubleshooting, you can reach out to our Customer Care team directly at 1-877-374-6669. Since you used your system for less than a year, you do qualify under our warranty program. Please call us at your earliest convenience.

Helpful Review? 2 People Have Voted

Posted on May 19, 2020

Lack of support

By Dan B., Ontario, Canada, Verified Reviewer

Purchased the Dr. Ho's Circulation Promoter system on March 1, 2020 for my feet.

1. On the box it states "helps relieve symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis." The unit does not provide relief for this symptom. Stretching and exercise provide more relief.

2. The equipment may be defective. The left foot side of the unit seems to provide more stimulation than the right foot side. Reached out online, using the contact page from Dr. Ho's website for support. I never received a reply back.

Too much bother to return.

Would not recommend because of the lack of support for people with Plantar Fasciitis.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Company Response from DR-HO'S

May 19, 2020

Hi Dan, thank you for reaching out. I'm sorry to hear that you didn't receive a reply to your email. Often, our responses go into junk mail, but you can reach us directly by phone at 1-877-374-6669. We also have a 90-day money-back guarantee (less shipping) when you purchase directly from us.

For best results with the circulation promoter, we do recommend using it every day for at least 20 min to help manage painful symptoms. Since the unit helps to reduce swelling and inflammation, regular use can lead to long term pain relief results.

As for one side providing more stimulation than the other, this is a common thing we hear, but it's not the system - it's how the nerves in your feet react to stimulation. Often times people who suffer from plantar fasciitis or neuropathy report that one foot feels more stimulation than the other. This is generally due to one foot having more nerve damage than the other. Regular use can help to "wake up" your nerves, and over time you should notice that the stimulation is the same for both feet.

We do ask that you reach out to us directly if you have more questions, or need any further assistance at the number above, or to drho@drhonow.com.

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on Feb 27, 2020

Thumbs down big time

By Cheryl S., British Columbia, Canada, Verified Reviewer

Bought this a few years ago. Followed all instructions, and could never get it to start. Wasn't worth the time and money to send it back. I wouldn't even give it 1 star. Hard to know when it won't start.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Company Response from DR-HO'S

Feb 28, 2020

Hi Cheryl, we are very sorry to hear that you had issues with your system. Our PRO system does require charging prior to use, but we would have been happy to troubleshoot your system had you reached out.

We do offer a 24-hour support line to our customers, and a 90-day money-back guarantee (less shipping). It also includes a 1-year warranty so had you called us we would have either assisted via troubleshooting or replaced your system for you.

Helpful Review? 2 People Have Voted

Posted on Jan 21, 2020

This product is a SCAM.

By Lance M., New York, Verified Reviewer

This order is a scam and the product is a SCAM. They will charge your account $99 regardless if you like it or not. Don't get this product, it is not worth the headaches. The customer service is garbage and unprofessional.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Company Response from DR-HO'S

Jan 27, 2020

Hi Lance,

When purchased directly from us, we offer a 90-day money-back guarantee (less shipping). This ensures you have enough time to use the product as results may take 3-4 weeks for some people with serious conditions.

However, when you purchase from another retailer, we have NO CONTROL over other retailers' return policies. The customer service and refund policy are up to each individual retailer. In this situation, we do not have your order information (as you purchased from another retailer) so we have no course of action to offer you a refund. Your comments regarding customer service should be regarding the retailer you purchased from, not DR-HO'S.

Helpful Review? 3 People Have Voted

Posted on Aug 16, 2019


By Ghislain B., Manitoba, Canada, Verified Reviewer

That is the worst piece of garbage I ever bought. Never in my whole life I'm going to buy that. Supposed to be a doctor, more like a charlatan. They text me back and I never saw a penny, yet it has been over 6 months. I can say goodbye to my money.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Company Response from DR-HO'S

Aug 19, 2019

Hi Ghislain, thank you for reaching out to us. It is not in our policy to ever "text" with customers, so I am unsure who you are dealing with regarding your purchase. I invite you to please contact our Customer Care team at 1-877-374-6669 and we can verify your purchase and provide receipts to you.

Helpful Review? 18 People Have Voted

Posted on Aug 8, 2019

Mixed bag

By Anne M., Northern Idaho, Verified Reviewer

I purchased the Dr. Ho Pro Deluxe Package in June 2019. While the main unit works extremely well for relieving pain and muscle spasms from my generalized dystonia, the smaller pads separate too easily (after 1 or 2 uses) and are no longer viable.

I replaced the Dr. Ho pads with much better quality professional-grade TENS pads in order to benefit from the Pain Therapy System. These new pads are also much less expensive.

The travel foot therapy pads, however, did not work well for me at all. I followed instructions, used the system while seated, and found no relief. Instead, the plastic knobs had nearly embedded in my skin and my son had to peel them off both of my feet. Thankfully, no skin was punctured.

I have found that using the professional-grade TENS pads on the bottom of my feet provide the best results for my foot pain.

Dr. Ho's did offer me replacement pads, but I opted to stick with what I know works.

The electronic unit for Dr. Ho's Pain Therapy System is excellent and offers much more pain relief than a typical TENS unit. However, the gel pads are overly priced for the poor quality, and the traveling foot therapy pads aren't worth the pain for tender feet.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 17 People Have Voted
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