I ran across several places on the web that mentioned the Electronic Itch Stopper from HonTech Foundation for Medical Technology. It sounds like a fascinating new idea. Stop itches with the power of electricity? Hmm. Every day I see a gadget on TV that says you can lose weight and firm your abs with the power of an electric belt, and I know that can't work. There are also electric combs and other products that purport to grow hair by stimulating the follicles with electricity and they don't work, either. On the contrary, you can use electrolysis to destroy hair follicles forever.

What about treating an itch? The Itch Stopper has the science right there on the product site.

In addition to being more effective than UV at activating stress-genes, the ItchStopper destroys toxins below the surface of the skin.

By immediately stopping histamine release from skin mast cells, Elecronic Itch Stopper also generates strong and localized antihistamine effect.

There you have it. But I somehow still didn't understand exactly how it works. So I did a bit of a search. The device is not all that new, as the site says they've been for sale "since the FDA approval in 1996", so there must be some reviews on the web, in amongst the seemingly hundreds of places that want to sell this to me. Someone asked about the device on a forum. Some users liked the device, others thought it a waste of time, but I found out that the device works by transmitting heat to the skin. Lots of heat. The Psoraisis Hall of PShame lists the Itch Stopper as using temperatures of 120 to 144 degrees which can scald a child on the lower end and cause third-degree burns on adults on the high end. Applying heat is an old trick for relieving an itch, but there are easier (and cheaper) ways to do it.

A little more digging shows that the Itch Stopper seems to have a little problem with the "FDA approved" part. The FDA wrote a letter this past June to the company outlining its problems. So what have we learned? That heat can help an itch. And that you can spend $59 on the Itch Stopper to provide that heat if you want. Or you can apply a washrag soaked in hot water.