Electrical Muscle Stimulation and Fitness. Myths and Truths about EMS
It’s about time you get a comment from the actual EMS manufacturer. At TENS care we have long since embraced usage of Electrical Muscle Stimulation for various purposes, ranging from incontinence to, yes, sports.
Replacing long hours at the gym with a single EMS unit sounds like a dream. Connect the leads, place the electrodes and go around your day while your body becomes beach-ready on its own. Interestingly, many gyms started incorporating electrical muscle stimulation devices into their packages. Is this a hint that things may not be quite as easy as social media celebrities tell us they are?
What is Electrical Muscle Stimulation?
Those who have experienced physical therapy have most likely tried an EMS device outside the fitness scope already. It is a widely used practice the purpose of which is loosening tight muscles by making them contract via stimulating nerves with an electric current.
Often EMS devices used in physio also have TENS program incorporated and serve the purposes of pain relief. At TensCare we have quite a few of those – for example Flexistim, our multitherapy unit. As a rule, TENS machines are mostly used for alleviating pain, whereas EMS is more focused on muscle toning and injury recovery.
Does EMS actually make you toned with zero effort?
Short answer: no.
However, it supports the efforts you put into increasing muscle strength and speeds up muscle recovery. Let’s expand on that.
Throughout exercising, the brain sends a signal to your muscles (and fiber within) to get them working in order to perform movements. This is meant to be a smooth process our bodies are built to perform smoothly, but there are often outside factors that interfere and limit activation of muscle fibers. Such would be injuries, poor recover or even overtraining.
Adding Electrical Muscle Stimulation to your routine will let you call upon more muscle fibers, even the ones that lay dormant. It is important not to push it too far, however. The condition in which EMS will actually increase muscle engagement that results in strength gains is simple yet difficult to achieve – to find balance. We are more than aware of that, given our EMS machines are medically approved. For this reason, our muscle toning EMS unit Perfect EMS comes with several programs, all of which are optimized to provide both, therapeutic and aesthetic help.
Basically, to get EMS to work miracles towards your fitness goals, you need to use it in tandem with working out. This will make your muscles grow stronger in a shorter period of time than working out alone would. In other words, if you think Electrical Muscle Stimulation will let you cut gym hours down, you are wrong. EMS will tone, form or strengthen muscles to an extent, but this is not a long-term solution for health and fitness concerns.
Are EMS units safe?
Not all of them. Unregulated EMS machines can cause skin irritation, burns and bruising, and cables and wires may end up electrocuting you. To avoid this, always make sure to buy equipment from companies that can provide all documentation proving safety of their products.
At TensCare, each and every of our products is medically approved. Additionally, our Perfect EMS and all the other units have an open circuit detection, meaning the machines detect if the electrode pads are not correctly connected to your body, automatically resetting the strength setting to zero, eradicating any sudden changes of intensity if the connection is re-established.
People that have defibrillator or pacemaker should not use EMS machines. It is also not suitable for pregnant women. There are few more warnings, but you can read them on every product’s individual page.
EMS does help to strengthen, shape and tone muscles. However, it is not a magic solution that will keep you fit without attending the gym. Electrical Muscle Stimulation will enhance your gym efforts, but not replace them.