Do you ever feel after a difficult exercise routine that you need to relax your sore muscle and get rid of the ache? Well, you can do that with a muscle stimulator machine and can also be a regular part of your training.
- What is electrical muscle stimulation?
- What does it do?
- Does it have any side effects?
- Many benefits of the technique
- How to use an electrical muscle stimulator?
- The Top Tips to Keep in Mind
- What are the different types of Electric Muscle Stimulation?
- Difference between EMS and TENS
- Top 8 TENS and EMS Muscle Stimulators On The Market
- 1# TENS Electronic Pulse Unit & 4 Electrode Pads – PL-009
- 2# HM8ML HealthmateForever
- 3# AUVON Rechargeable TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator
- 4# Ohuhu Rechargeable Massager Machine
- 5# iReliev TENS + EMS Combination
- 6# HealthmateForever YK15AB TENS unit
- 7# TENS 7000 2nd Edition Digital
- 8# Compex Edge Silver Muscle Stimulator Bundle Kit
What is electrical muscle stimulation?
Electrical muscle stimulation is an advanced form of muscle therapy that traditional exercise can’t offer. Many fitness enthusiasts and athletes use the stimulator in their workout and training routine. So, this device sends electric pulses to the motor nerves in your body and creates muscle contractions. It helps a number of muscle fibers to engage in a workout, which in turn increases muscle strength.
The stimulation influences two muscles – Type 2 fast twitch muscle fibers that impact power and explosiveness and Type 1 slow twitch muscle fibers that have an impact on endurance.
What does it do?
A machine sends the electrical impulse through the patches to the muscle tissues below it, which causes a motor or sensory response. It has two most basic purposes, which are muscle re-education and pain relief.
- Pain relief – the electrical impulse blocks nerves that are responsible for pain stimulation. It also helps the brain to release natural painkillers, including enkephalins and endorphins. Many studies have mentioned an increase in these two natural killers after use of low-frequency electrical stimulation.
- Muscle re-education – electrical stimulation helps in re-training muscles, which find difficulty in contracting. It is used as a therapy for those who’ve suffered from a brain stroke or orthopedic surgery. Under conducive settings, the stimulation contracts the muscles. It can also sometimes make the brain to re-wire itself and start contracting muscles.
Does it have any side effects?
Everything has its pros and cons and electric muscle stimulation is no different. Israeli health ministry announced in January 2018 that there have been undocumented cases of people suffering from the use of this exercise technique. It will only happen if the level of muscle stimulation is too high, which makes it very important for the trainer to be highly-trained in its use.
Sessions shouldn’t be more than 20 minutes as it will cause lifelong damages. Under unmonitored circumstances, use of electrical muscle stimulation can lead to rhabdomyolysis, which is a breakdown of muscle fiber causing excessive pain and loss of structure.
Many benefits of the technique
Other than muscle pain relief, the electrical muscle stimulation technique has many other benefits. Let’s take a look at some of them:
Prevents muscle atrophy
Muscle atrophy has reduced the functioning of muscle fibers due to injury. It is suggested to use this technique after rigorous training as it prevents muscle atrophy. In some cases, the technique has also successfully reversed the muscle disorder.
Muscle recovery from various injuries
The technique is used for fastening tissue healing, so that the muscle mass, functioning, and tone move easily. It is used in several rehabilitation centers for this very purpose.
Improving blood flow
When a muscle is paining, it is under great pressure leading to restricted blood flow. The technique can help improve blood flow so that the inflammation goes away and tissue healing speeds up.
Production of energy
The technique can be used to generate energy for growth, movement, and tissue healing as it stimulates the mitochondria, which is the powerhouse of energy. It can also help in cosmetic muscle toning and curing multiple sclerosis.
How to use an electrical muscle stimulator?
Here are a few tips to help you use an electric muscle stimulator the right way to get the best results.
- Put the belt around your waist and place the large middle pad on your belly button and put other pads on small soft parts of your body. If you are targeting your abdominal muscles, you can put them there. Likewise, if you are targeting thigh or calf muscles, you put them in soft muscle area.
- Many stimulators come with a hook-and-loop fastener that keeps the pads in place. So if you have them in your kit, you can attach them in this step.
- Switch on the muscle stimulator, which is on the front panel of the device.
- Set the toning level that you want, such that you aren’t uncomfortable. You can adjust the intensity by scrolling it up or down using the front panel. Make sure that the intensity isn’t too high as it might damage your muscles and even cause a breakdown.
- If you are using the muscle stimulator on your abs, use them for 25 minutes each for five days. Begin with four days a week so that you get used to it. Once you are experienced, you can take the sessions for up to 40 minutes each for five days but don’t go above it.
- Once your session is done, turn off the device and remove the stimulator belt.
- Don’t forget to record your daily session in a notebook or on your phone.
The Top Tips to Keep in Mind
Here are some tips that you need to keep in mind while using an electric muscle stimulator.
- There should be at least six hours of difference between two muscle stimulation sessions.
- The stimulator should fit snugly and not tightly.
- Always read instructions that come with the brand you buy since there are some differences between two brands.
- In case you feel pain or discomfort, turn off the stimulator immediately.
- If you have diabetes, cancer, or epilepsy, or have electric implants don’t use the stimulator as it can be life-threatening.
What are the different types of Electric Muscle Stimulation?
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation – it helps to reduce chronic and acute muscle pain. It alters the painful impulses that travel from the injured muscles to the brain. The electrodes or pads are placed over the most painful part of the muscle.
- Russian stimulation – helps the muscles to contract better, which doesn’t happen after a rigorous exercise or training. Its primary focus isn’t reducing pain.
- Interferential current electrical stimulation – is often used by physical therapists to reduce pain and improve blood circulation in the affected tissues, which in turn reduces inflammation.
- High voltage electrical stimulation – is used occasionally to speed up wound healing. The high voltage replaces damaged cells with new ones so that the healing is quick.
- Iontophoresis – is used to administer medicines and drugs to the affected area. Dexamethasone is mostly used to reduce inflammation, swelling, and muscle spasm. It also helps to reduce scar tissues and excessive calcium deposits.
Difference between EMS and TENS
Wondering how you can go distinguish between the two? Here is a look.
Way of working
EMS – it stimulates the muscles by copying the nerve signal sent by the brain during muscle contraction.
TENS – it stimulates the nerves and blocks pain stimuli reaching the central nervous system.
EMS – should be used after the intense workout.
TENS – used to manage pain.
Use of electricity
EMS – it uses electrical pulses.
TENS – uses low voltage, electrical currents.
EMS – it is used for relaxing muscles, cosmetic muscle toning, preventing or reversing muscular atrophy, rehabilitation, improving blood circulation, and strengthening muscles.
TENS – it is used for curing back pain, arthritis, foot pain, labor pain, multiple sclerosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and sciatica.
Top 8 TENS and EMS Muscle Stimulators On The Market
Here are the eight muscle stimulators that you can buy online today.
1# TENS Electronic Pulse Unit & 4 Electrode Pads – PL-009
This portable TENS muscle stimulator comes with four electrode pads and two lead wires. You can use it to manage any type of pain caused by a sports injury or improve the mobility of the joint in any part of the body.
We love it because it’s very affordable and offers a lot for the price you pay. It works great for those who suffer from osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. The adhesive on the pads never wears off.
2# HM8ML HealthmateForever
It is the best electric muscle stimulator you can find since it comes with six electrode pads, adjustable timer from 10 to 60 minutes, and adjustable intensity of 20 levels.
We love that the product is small and lightweight, so it can be carried around. Also, you can adjust the intensity easily and works great on lower back muscles, knees, and the feet.
3# AUVON Rechargeable TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator
AUVON electronic TENS device gives you 16 different stimulation adjustments to choose from. It comes with ten electrode pads that are made with Low impedance Solid Gel, a Japanese technique that prolongs the adhesiveness of the pads.
We love that the product is affordable and user-friendly. The rechargeable battery is charged fully in less than an hour. The device shuts down automatically in case you fall asleep during the session.
4# Ohuhu Rechargeable Massager Machine
It is made using bio-electric technology, the massager machine penetrates deep and provides greater relief. It comes with 16 pre-programmed user-friendly modes including acupuncture, vibrating, and rubbing. The device has an automatic shut off mechanism.
Once you get the hang of it, you can quickly change the modes. It works really well if you are suffering from elbow or knee pain.
5# iReliev TENS + EMS Combination
This device provides the best electrical muscle stimulation for weight loss. In the market for over 30 years, this device is a preferred choice of doctors and physiotherapists. It comes with 14 therapy modes, one of which is exclusively for treating arthritis.
We love this product since it has better results than other devices available in the market. It reduces stiffness and pain and also cures plantar fasciitis.
6# HealthmateForever YK15AB TENS unit
The best electronic muscle stimulator for bodybuilding, HealthMate Forever YK15AB comes with a large LCD display and a backlight, which shows you which area you need to target and what massage you should opt for.
We love that the device comes with EMS and TENS, so you can use it simply for a pain relief or treating different bone-related disorders.
7# TENS 7000 2nd Edition Digital
One of the cheapest and most efficient TENS device available around, the TENS 7000 2nd Edition Digital comes with four electrode pads with an adjustable intensity of 0-100mA in 10mA. Its compact size makes it easy to carry around and best muscle stimulator for athletes.
We love that it is portable but very sturdy. It works well on pinched nerves, lower back pain, and cramps in legs and forearms.
8# Compex Edge Silver Muscle Stimulator Bundle Kit
The Compex Edge comes with three programs and helps you achieve peak performance. It has an endurance program that helps in muscle capillarization and flexibility. It targets the Type 1 slow twitch muscles that increase endurance strength.
We love that active recovery after using the product is very pleasing and relaxing. The rechargeable battery lasts for a very long time and can be used every day, making it a wonderful gift for fitness lovers.
No matter what is the best muscle stimulator you choose, you are going to get some great benefits. However, taking a look at this list will ensure that you have found the right one for your needs. For instance, some of them can be used to help you deal with back pain, while others cannot be. Knowing what you need will help you get the results you want!