What is electrical muscle stimulation (ems)?
Electrical stimulation is a technique that aims to stimulate muscles with an electric current to achieve a specific result. Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) involves delivering small, low-voltage electrical impulses to the muscle via electrodes placed on the skin, in order to cause the muscles to contract. Muscle contraction can have two completely different purposes: first, to reduce inflammation, and second, to strengthen muscles without involving the nervous system, thus avoiding pain and fatigue.
This stimulation produces muscle contractions that can be rapid, repetitive, and rapid with prolonged pauses or contractions lasting several seconds (uncomfortable) or minutes at a time.
Usually, your body is the one that moves your muscles by sending electrical impulses from your brain through the central nervous system (CNS). But the Electrical muscle stimulation device allows you to engage in deep, intense, and complete muscle contractions without stimulating (or stressing) the central nervous system – not to mention the joints and tendons.
The coolest thing is that your body doesn’t know the difference between a voluntary contraction and a contraction that is electrically stimulated. Your (silly) body only realizes that there is a stimulus and reacts to it accordingly.
When we use electrical muscle stimulation (ems)?
There are many uses for Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) and NMES which include:
- Pain relief: Electrical muscle stimulation can be used at low levels to reduce the amount of pain you experience. This can be done by modifying the number of pain signals to the brain or by releasing natural painkillers called endorphins.
- Muscle contraction: Electrical muscle stimulation can be used in different intensities to stimulate the muscles or help maintain muscle tension. Examples include this type of treatment:
- After a stroke, EMS can be used to maintain some muscle strength in the shoulder to improve function and reduce pain.
- To treat urinary incontinence, Electrical muscle stimulation may be used to tighten the pelvic floor muscles.
- After surgery, EMS may be used to stimulate the quadriceps muscles to increase strength.
What are the benefits of EMS or E-STIM devices?
- It strengthens the muscles
- Improves muscle performance
- Increases muscle growth
- Increases local blood circulation
- Relaxes muscles
- Reduces muscle soreness
- Cosmetic muscle toning
- It prevents muscle atrophy
What to expect during electrical muscle stimulation?
If your physical therapist chooses to use electrical stimulation during rehabilitation, he or she should explain the procedure and the expected risks and benefits. A typical application of electronic stimulation goes something like this:
- Expose the area of your body that is being treated.
- Your physical therapist will apply electrodes to your skin. These electrodes are connected by wire to the electronic stimulation machine.
- You will feel a slight tingling sensation.
- The sensation will increase until he feels strong and comfortable.
- If electronic stimulation is used for muscle spasms or pain relief, you will relax during treatment.
- If electricity is used to improve muscle strength or function, you may be asked to contract your muscles while the machine is working.
Are electrical muscle stimulation (ems) workouts safe?
“Not all Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) devices are 100 per cent safe,” says the doctor. “If you are getting Electrical muscle stimulation treatment by a physical therapist, they will be trained to apply that particular method and use FDA-approved regulated units.”
Although using an unregulated product isn’t necessarily unsafe or dangerous, it has the potential to cause burns, bruising, skin irritation, and pain, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The organization also warns that all these wires and cables may also lead to electric shock. Therefore, it is imperative that you ask the trainer or gym about their equipment, and if you buy one, do thorough research before clicking “add to cart”. (Speaking of machines to buy, these are the best elliptical aids for a killer home workout.)
And if you have a pacemaker or pacemaker, the Food and Drug Administration recommends staying away from Electrical muscle stimulation. Pregnant women should also avoid electronic stimulation (except for TEN, which is tolerated), particularly in the lower back or neck, says Fulop. “This could hurt the kid and has not been demonstrated something else.”
It is also important to note that studies have linked Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) to an increased risk of rhabdomyolysis (also known as rhabdo), which is muscle damage or injury that causes the contents of muscle fibres to be released into the blood, which can lead to serious complications such as kidney failure, reported to the US National Library of Medicine (NLM). But don’t panic yet: Although dangerous, rhabdo is rare. Plus, it’s not just a risk once you incorporate electronic stimulation into your workout routine. You can also get the condition from super-intense strength training, dehydration, and go ahead hard and really fast with a new workout – even a woman got a rhabdo from an intense pullout.
Bottom line: Electrical muscle stimulation workouts look exciting, and professionals are definitely possible but bear in mind that supportive research has yet to catch up. (In the meantime, you can always lift some heavyweights!)