Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS), also called Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), helps your muscles and joint tissue recover from exercise. It can also loosen up tender joints and tendons to relieve the pain of degenerative conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia and other chronic physical ailments.
Though exercise and a great diet are considered the best medicine of all, EMS has far-reaching benefits to offer home users. Best, they’re affordable to buy (usually less than $100) and cheap to operate, running on a single 9-volt battery that seems to last forever even with extended use.
Easy to Use and Effective
Most devices are quite simple, with a few adjustment dials and reusable electrodes that are placed on sore areas of the body. Once turned on, the EMS sends a safe electrical current to the muscle, forcing it to contract. The force of the current is completely controlled by the user, ranging from a mild buzzing sort of stimulation, to a pulsating type that will put your massage therapist out of business!
It’s important to note that we’re writing this to help you recover faster and live a more pain-free life. Often, because of its ability to force muscles to contract, these devices are marketed to unsuspecting consumers under the guise that they can build muscle on their own. There’s never been any science to back this up and in fact, the USFDA and other world health governing bodies have made it illegal to market EMS devices for this purpose.
Here’re some great benefits to expect when using an EMS regularly:
EMS devices force muscles to contract which forces blood to start flowing. Though you don’t want to start out too heavy on your workouts before the muscles are completely ready for a load, an EMS is a great way to do an effective “pre-warmup” in the car or office on the way to the gym.
Check out the strength of the muscle contractions created by an EMS:
EMS devices have been used for years to help elderly patients who can’t move around very well with the symptoms of arthritis. Including rheumatoid arthritis, as well as those afflicted with other joint/muscle disorders like fibromyalgia.
Considering how well the devices work for them in reducing pain, it should come as no surprise that they can help a healthy person recover from their previous workout. They’re also great for work-related pain, including neck and back pain from sitting for too long.
Though they aren’t a workout replacement, EMS units are great to use in conjunction with your workouts. The muscle contraction from an EMS is completely involuntary, meaning no input is required from your central nervous system (this is also why EMS alone can’t build muscle mass).
When you strap an EMS to your chest while doing bench presses for instance, the effort required by your muscles increases tenfold because of the artificial resistance created by the EMS. Same for other body parts.
Watch this guy performing chest and arm movements with an EMS:
So, Do You Really Need an EMS Unit?
In short, EMS is a great tool to add to any workout and/or recovery routine. It’s also beneficial for people who have limited mobility due to pain or disability, which is made worse by the lack of movement and blood flow.
There’s no need to go out and spend hundreds of dollars either. For the most part, if it’s a quality brand you’re buying, they basically do the same thing – i.e., force your muscles to contract.
Always check the manufacturer’s quality rating and equipment reviews from consumers who’ve bought them before committing to one unit over another. You can’t go wrong with Amazon Best Sellers.