What is electrical muscle stimulation?

Electrical muscle stimulation is the process of causing muscle contraction through electrical stimulation. Nerve stimulation is provided by tiny electrical impulses delivered at selected frequencies and levels of intensity. Electrical muscle stimulation is sometimes used as a training tool for athletes but it’s effectiveness is disputed. However, muscle stimulation through the delivery of elecrical impulses is used effectively in therapy as a rehabilitation tool for rebuilding strength in muscles damaged through injury, and for prevention of muscle atrophy following musculoskeletal injury.

Electrical impulses are generated by an EMS device and delivered by the use of electrodes to the skin close to the muscles that require stimulation. The electrical impulses delivered are very small and are used to replace the stimulation otherwise provided by the brain, and cause the muscles to contract.

Although it has been claimed that electrical muscle stimulation can be used to tone muscles and lose weight; this is disputed as few muscle groups are engaged at the same time.

Electrical muscle stimulation machines tend to be installed with a variety of programs to cause different responses to stimulation. Different type of muscle fibre can be activated to differing degrees by different types of electrical stimulation: frequency, pulse width, and intensity.

Although generally safe, because the voltages and currents employed are very low, there are some people who should avoid using electrical muscle stimulation altogether for instance, people with pacemakers or who have a heart condition. EMS devices should also not be used across the chest, carotid nerves, or brain, and care should be taken during pregnancy.

Electrical Muscle Stimulation should not be confused with Transcutaneous Nerve Stimulation (TENS) which is used for pain relief. It’s purpose is not to stimulate muscles, but to interrupt the transmission of pain signals to the brain through the delivery to tiny…

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