Healthy non-smoking volunteers participated in two experimental studies in which the circulatory changes induced by transcutaneous nerve stimulation (TENS) were quantified by two different methods. In experimental series 1 (intact skin), nine volunteers were given TENS on the left lower leg for 60 minutes on three occasions at different frequencies each time (2 Hz, 100 Hz, and sham). Changes in blood flow were assessed by laser Doppler imaging technique every five minutes. The mean blood flow increased by 40% during low frequency TENS and by 12% during high frequency TENS. There was no change in mean blood flow during sham stimulation. In experimental series 2 (blister wound), the circulatory changes induced by TENS were studied by intravital video microscopy and computerised image analysis in standard blister wounds on the lower leg. The microcirculatory blood flow, measured as red blood cell velocity (RBC-V) in 5-14 individual capillaries in each wound, was assessed before and during 45 minutes of TENS (2 Hz and 100 Hz). Mean RBC-V increased by 23% during low frequency TENS (n = 6) and by 17% during high frequency TENS (n = 8). The results show that: laser Doppler imaging and intravital video microscopy techniques can be used to study events at the microcirculatory level; the blister wound is an interesting new standard wound for use in clinical studies; and TENS stimulates the peripheral circulation.