18 December 2007

3 Important Information about Electrical Muscle Stimulation

To have a better understanding on electrical muscle stimulation or EMS, it is helpful to know the following important information basing on its: definition, applications, and FDA regulation.

Your friend tells you about Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) that has been helping her tone her abs and so does your relative trying to prevent muscle atrophy.  So what really is EMS?  Here are important facts you need to know about Electrical Muscle Stimulation for better understanding:


Electrical muscle stimulation, otherwise known as neuromuscular electrical stimulation, is the method by which muscles are made to contract using controlled electrical impulses.  Pads are adhered to your skin direct (SF7) to the muscles that need stimulation.  These pads act as the terminal where electrical impulses go through.  Different degrees of electrical impulses are given to different muscles as fibers are not the same among all muscles, causing them to react differently to different stimuli.  Different patterns are also applied to particular muscles to achieve different results.  For example, some programs or patterns will improve your endurance, while others will help you resist fatigue.


It was Luigi Galvani during the late 1700s who showed that current can acutally cause activation of muscles.  Many researches and experiments were made from then on in an effort to come up with the electrical properties that can cause the movement of muscles.  Studies were also made to understand the different applications and uses of EMS.  To date, EMS is used for rehabilitative and therapeutic purposes, as well as for training and aesthetic functions.

  • Rehabilitative and therapeutic.  EMS is popularly known to prevent muscle atrophy or decrease in muscle mass.  It also helps in rehabilitating patients who have undergone serious injuries, stroke, or major surgeries.  EMS basically aims to recover impaired muscle functions brought about by the said conditions, without affecting the patient's appearance. It helps relax muscle spasms and increase range of muscle motion.  In addition, EMS can result to a more balanced mood in the same way as exercising does, thus making it helpful for those individuals with mild depression.

  • Training.  EMS devices are also known, since it has been studied in the 20th century, to help in the training of athletes by allowing them to gain more force and endurance through a series and pattern of muscular contractions.

  • Aesthetic.  Electronic muscle stimulation can benefit you in the same way as exercising does, but not to the extent that your muscles will increase its size as effected by strength training or even weight lifting exercises.  Like what EMS belts do, as flex belt, it can tone and help shape your muscles.  Although not proven, many claim that EMS devices can also help you lose weight, together with proper diet and exercise by burning calories in specific areas of your body targeted by EMS.

FDA regulation

All electrical muscle stimulation devices sold in the market are controlled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  EMS devices are categorized into two types under FDA's control, namely over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription EMS devices.  OTC devices are those mainly for personal use to tone muscles, while prescription EMS devices are those whom you are required of a prescription to get one for therapeutic purposes.  This particular type of EMS devices usually require the supervision of a licensed physical therapist to ensure proper application.  Devices that do not go through them are considered to be illegal and can be dangerous for personal use.  There have been reports of shock, electrocutions, burns, and interference with other devices.  FDA makes sure that these devices are properly designed and made to be safe and effective for different applications.

Electrical muscle stimulation has been a great discovery that answers certain medical, training, and aesthetic concerns.  If you are planning to get one for yourself, make sure you know your goal, so you will know if using EMS device can actually help you.  Make sure that you choose an EMS device that has passed the standards of and is accredited by FDA to make sure it is effective and safe to use.

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