FAQs for Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)

Read the following FAQs for EMS (electrical muscle stimulation) or NMES (neuromuscular electrical stimulation) to learn more about this athletic training enhancer and rehabilitation technology.

What Is Electrical Muscle Stimulation or EMS?

Electrical Muscle Stimulation (abbreviated EMS) is the use of electrical impulses to cause muscle contractions. Also known as electromyostimulation or neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), it is a tool used by body builders, athletes and physical therapy patients to strengthen muscles with a electrical charge, not by traditional contraction methods caused by the user from the nervous system. During EMS the electric charge is sent via electrodes attached to the skin surface.

What Does Electrical Muscle Stimulation Do?

EMS or electric muscle stimulation causes a real muscle contraction as electrical impulses are sent to the body. This contraction is the same as one caused by a patient or user. In effect, it mimics the contraction of your muscles by your central nervous system. It can strengthen and tone muscles that are not in use, or able to be used due to injury. It can also increase the time a muscle can be contracted, to strengthen, tone and tighten muscle fiber.

What Is a Muscle Stimulator?

An electric muscle stimulator is a device that sends electrical impulses to the body during EMS. There are many different types of muscle stimulators from basic units that can be used at home to more complex units used for intense work outs, elite body building and physical therapy. Some units have multiple channels, highly sensitive settings and advanced technology to improve performance.

What Does An Electrical Muscle Stimulator Do?

The muscle stimulator creates the electrical charge to cause the muscle contraction inside the body. Most devices send a specific charge that can be adjusted in intensity and length (time the charge lasts) through electrodes that are applied to the body. The electrodes can be applied anywhere. Only muscles near the electrodes will contract. Users apply the electrodes to the body part they want to work.

What Are The Side Effects Of Electrical Muscle Stimulation?

There are few side effects of EMS or NMES. These include skin irritations at the site of the electrode application. Headaches and other irritations or painful sensations can also occur when the unit is applied near the head and neck area. Painful muscles may occur if the units are used on afflicted joints or atrophied muscles, or muscles with other types of common issues like spasms. Using the units in excess may also cause pain in the muscles and joints.

What are the Benefits of EMS (Electrical Muscle Stimulation) or NMES?

EMS has many benefits to athletes. It enhances power, performance and muscular enhancements. However, the device must be used properly in a complete and targeted work out routine. The benefit is enhanced or optimized training that does not require additional central nervous system input from an athlete that may already be tired and not have the energy to perform at high a level in their workout.

How to Use an Electric Muscle Stimulator

The muscle stimulator must be used in a constructive and planned workout or therapy routine. This ensures the best possible results. Using the device during a structured workout with targeted goals and milestones typically uses the best results. The device should be used on a targeted muscle group during or along with the workout.

Where to Place Muscle Stimulator Pads?

Electronic muscle stimulator or NMES pads should be placed on the skin over the are you want to target. If you are targeting quads, place the EMS electrodes on the quad muscles directly on the skin. To target biceps, place the electrodes on the bicep muscle. It is also important to use the right sized pad for your muscle group.

What Are Muscle Stimulators Used For?

The EMS or NMES device is used to enhance athletic training, body building, and rehabilitation or recovery. It can be used to work muscles harder and longer than an athlete can normally work them, simply because of fatigue and mental wear. The machines may also be used to prevent muscle atrophy in patients who have immobilized limbs or limited movement of a limb.

How Long Should You Use Electrical Muscle Stimulation?

The EMS unit should not used excessively. Each athlete has their own limitations for how long a contraction can occur. When using the device, be sure to consult with a professional trainer and use the device within reason to achieve your specific goals.

Where Can I Buy A Muscle Stimulator

Muscle stimulators are available online at stores that specialize in selling these particular devices. You can shop for an EMS unit here.

Can You Use EMS and TENS Together?

Yes, you can use both. It is not advisable to use them at the same time, but they can be used on the same patient or individual. There are devices that combine both the muscle contraction of and EMS unit with the pain relief of a TENS device. These combo TENS EMS units should be used with after consulting your doctor.

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