Muscle Stimulation: How Does It Work?

a woman recieving electric muscle stimulation on her back

From desk chair to the couch in our living room, the average American spends a lot of time sitting — about 13 hours a day, in fact. Combine that with the amount of time we spend sleeping (an additional seven hours), and your muscles find themselves facing a rather sedentary lifestyle. That’s where something called electric muscle stimulation, or EMS, can come into play.

EMS is a simple alternative therapy that allows you to stimulate your muscles at home or work by using a portable electronic device that is about the size of a brick. To use an EMS device, you position small electrode pads onto your skin, above or around the area of muscle pain or desired stimulation. The EMS then transmits painless, low-voltage electrical impulses, causing the underlying muscle to contract and release.

EMS Tricks Muscles Into Working Harder

EMS is ideal for physiotherapy patients and older individuals who have been encouraged to regularly stimulate their muscles. For someone recovering from an injury, the low electrical current can trigger the re-engagement of damaged or weak muscles, building strength and preparing them again for weight-bearing activities.

EMS is also a widely respected technique used by athletes to build tone and imitate the feeling of resistance that makes muscles work harder. For example, the muscles of weight lifters and rock climbers constantly face the challenge of having to support the weight of a dumbbell or the weight of a climber’s body. This weight provides resistance, which requires more muscle engagement. By using EMS, one can mimic this feeling of added weight, tricking a larger percentage of your muscles into working harder, even during less intensive workouts.

Overall, the muscle stimulation offered by EMS devices has positive health effects regardless of your age and fitness level, and will engage the estimated 70% of muscles that remain dormant even when you’re contracting a muscle.

One misconception of EMS therapy is that a person can transform from flab to fit using electrical stimulation alone. While EMS devices can certainly be used to complement workouts or physiotherapy exercises during recovery, they cannot work alone. Be sure you’re always incorporating other healthy living practices such as exercise and stretching into your life, and always follow mandated medical plans.

While you should approach a medical professional when first inquiring about EMS devices, this treatment can be done in the comfort of your home. In recent years these devices have become much more affordable for the everyday consumer, and you can find portable, high-quality EMS devices for less than $100.

TENS Devices

Just as EMS devices are used to stimulate muscles, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) devices stimulate your nerves. TENS is focused on your central nervous system, the network of nerve cells and fibers that tells your brain when it’s feeling pain. With TENS in the picture, electrical impulses prevent these pain signals from reaching the brain.

Due to this, TENS are recommended devices for people experiencing acute and chronic pain through medical conditions such as arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, labor pain, back pain, multiple sclerosis, and other issues. While more conclusive research still needs to be done into the science of TENS, studies have found that it can be an inexpensive and noninvasive way for certain people to obtain pain relief. As with EMS, TENS can be a non-pharmaceutical solution to aches and pains, but should always be done first under the supervision of a medical professional.

The Back Store is all about comfort. That’s why were are a premier retailer of quality furniture and wellness accessories, like EMS and TENS devices. When done correctly, muscle and nerve stimulation can contribute to a healthier, more pain-free lifestyle. Check out our inventory today.

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