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The signal transmission mechanism on the surface of the human body is studied for the application to body channel communication (BCC). From Maxwell's equations, the complete equation of electrical field on the human body is developed to obtain a general BCC model. The mechanism of BCC consists of three parts according to the operating frequencies and channel distances: the quasi-static near-field coupling part, the reactive induction-field radiation part, and the surface wave far-field propagation part. The general BCC model by means of the near-field and far-field approximation is developed to be valid in the frequency range from 100 kHz to 100 MHz and distance up to 1.3 m based on the measurements of the body channel characteristics. Finally, path loss characteristics of BCC are formulated for the design of BCC systems and many potential applications.