What Is Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)?
Electrical Muscle Stimulation (aka electromyostimulation or neuromuscular electrical stimulation) is a procedure that causes muscle contraction using electrical impulses, which then directly stimulate motor neurons. These devices can be used either at home or administered by a medical professional.
Benefits of Electrical Muscle Stimulation
- Reduce muscle pain: Athletes have reported that EMS use can decrease pain without any further medical intervention.
- Stimulates blood flow: When you do lower frequency EMS protocols, your muscles' blood flow will increase. The electric pulse contraction and relaxation cycle help improve blood flow to the muscles.
- Increased muscle strength: EMS increases muscle strength and muscle contraction. EMS is an efficient way of stimulating muscle fiber without increasing weight.
- Relieve stress: Contractions are effective in relaxing the body and reducing stress.
- Increase range of motion: If you have arthritis, EMS increases joint range of motion, leading to reduced joint pain and inflammation.
- Preventing pressure sores: Individuals who are bedridden for extended periods can develop bed sores. With EMS units, the increased blood flow and muscle stimulation can prevent the occurrence of these.
What's an EMS Device Used for?
- Sports recovery and pain relief: EMS device can keep athletes in the game by recovering more efficiently from training, as well as promote healing for minor sports injuries.
- Relieve muscle spasms: Many people with conditions like low back pain or sciatica experience pain from muscle spasms. An EMS unit can help alleviate these painful symptoms.
- Muscle treatment after surgery or illness: A patient may have difficulty contracting muscles at will after illness or surgery. Using an EMS, you re-educate the muscles to contract voluntarily.
- Working weakened muscles: Diseases such as broken bones, spinal cord injury, stroke, soft tissue injury, and many more conditions can lead to muscle weakness or even atrophy. EMS devices can help with physical therapy by activating the weakened muscles.
Main Differences and Similarities Between TENS Units and EMS Devices
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a nerve-stimulating machine designed to relieve pain. Stimulating the nerve creates the main difference with Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS), enabling the muscles to be strengthened or rehabilitated.
However, both the TENS units and EMS devices send electrical signals that benefit the muscles. Using both types of devices will help you achieve great benefits if you are suffering from chronic pain. Also, conditions such as muscle injury, back pains, arthritis need both TENS (to help cope with pain) and EMS (to help speed up rehabilitation).
Can Electric Muscle Stimulators Help Grow Muscles?
The brain usually sends an electrical impulse along the nerve to the particular muscle to contact. There are muscle stimulator machines with EMS technology that helps motor neurons to stimulate contact between the muscles.
EMS auto generates the impulse that causes muscle contractions without your nervous system. Regular contraction increases the muscles. Therefore, EMS can strengthen and grow your muscles without moving your limb or lifting heavy weights.