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AU Registered Medical Device
12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

Electric Pulse Machine: What Is It?

TENS machine Large and Long Wing with gel pads and information

Electric pulse machines are devices that can manage various kinds of pain, may it be acute or chronic. Hospitals and therapists use it on their patients because it is safe. One of the most common electrotherapy is Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). It uses electric pulses to stimulate the nerves by using electrode pads. There are adhesives on the pads so that they can stick to the skin.

People experiencing pain can find relief through a TENS machine. Moreover, they can get one for personal use. Hence, it lessens the need to visit a clinic or rehab centre. There are many options available online. TENS units can be handheld (standard) or wireless, like the iTENS from iTENS Australia. To understand more about it, the following sections will present how a machine works, how to operate it, and what to consider before buying a device.

How an Electric Pulse Machine Works

An electric pulse machine utilises low-voltage electrical currents to relieve pain. There are two frequencies to choose from. They are the low and high frequencies. The former is when the motor level stimulation happens. Low frequencies operate at less than 10 Hertz. It produces the natural painkillers in the body, which is suitable for those suffering from chronic pain.

On the other hand, the sensory level stimulation at high frequencies is more than 50 Hertz. The electrical impulses flood the nerves. They stop the pain signals passing in the spinal cord from reaching the brain. People can feel little to no pain because the brain then finds it hard to recognize the sensations of pain. 

Furthermore, Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS) is another type of electrotherapy. It stimulates the muscles to contract. Its primary goal is to strengthen the muscles without physical exercises. It also helps people recover faster from injuries and surgeries. Compared to TENS, it uses slightly stronger currents for more effective muscle stimulation. 

Conditions It Can Help

There are many health conditions that electrotherapy can help with. Here are some of them:

  • Fibromyalgia – It is a chronic pain where there is stiffness in the joints and muscles.
  • Labour Pain – Pregnant women should consult their doctors first. Once cleared, it is beneficial in managing their pain during contractions
  • Sciatica – The pain can spread from the lower back to the legs. 
  • Frozen Shoulder – This is a condition where people cannot move their shoulders in any direction.
  • Migraine – People feel pain in their heads, but it can also spread to the neck. It is important not to place the pads in front of the neck.

Elder man with elbow and shoulder pain sitting

How to Operate an Electric Pulse Machine

Operating an electric pulse machine is easy. Hence, personal devices are available. People do not need medical supervision. They can bring the device wherever they go. Also, they can use it anytime. However, the recommended number of uses per day is four times. Consulting their doctors or therapists can help determine the most suitable amount of time, depending on their conditions.

To properly do the therapy, individuals must start with a clean device and skin. It is necessary to ensure that there is no dirt and dust because it will affect the adhesion of the pads to the skin. Next, place the electrodes directly over or near the pain area. Afterwards, they can then turn on the device. They can control the settings on the machine or their mobile phones for Bluetooth-enabled units.

Furthermore, there are pre-set programs on several devices, like the iTENS. These wireless units enable repetitive use without manually adjusting the settings every time. People with specific concerns can also find a mode that would be appropriate to them.


People can get the best results when they follow the guidelines well. With that, pad placement is a vital part of the success of an electrotherapy. Hence, it is essential to know how to place them properly. The electrodes must never touch. There should be at least a one-inch gap separating each one.

Additionally, individuals should avoid placing the pads on joints. This may cause the pads not to adhere properly. Consequently, it will move around, and there will be no relief. Furthermore, those with back pain can attach the pads on either side of the spine instead of directly on it.

Person attaching TENS to the lower back

What to Consider Before Buying an Electric Pulse Machine

Before settling on buying a particular device, people should consider several things. Firstly, it is how a machine will integrate with their daily tasks. Both wired and wireless units are available for purchase. If they typically multitask every day, they may want to opt for a no-cable version of an electric pulse machine. Thus, they do not have to worry about having the wires everywhere while in session.

Secondly, it is what their primary concerns are. Some devices are designed for certain conditions. For instance, labour TENS devices are for pregnant women. The units have more options that target the kind of pain they have to endure during their pregnancy. If patients have various health concerns or pain conditions, they can buy a general pulse machine.

Lastly, it is how large the body areas they need to treat. It is necessary because they might have to use more pads than normal for areas like the back. Hence, they might need to buy additional electrodes. Moreover, TENS or any kind of electric pulse device have different shapes and sizes. Thus, they can choose the most appropriate ones for them.

Other Considerations

Expectation about what a pulse machine can do is a factor people must consider. It is important to realize that it may not work for everyone. It is a generally safe device, and many people have benefitted from it. However, an electrotherapy like TENS may not be able to aid certain cases.

Another factor to consider is the minor side effects they might get. Some people might be allergic to adhesives. Hence, they might experience skin irritation. Nevertheless, it is preventable if they use hypoallergenic pads instead. Moreover, others may be sensitive to the tingling sensations that TENS has.


There are now alternatives to medication in reducing pain. One of them is an electric pulse machine. It helps people by using electric components to stimulate the nerves or the muscles. TENS and EMS are two of the most common types. Some of their benefits are immediate action and convenience. A good quality device and proper use can make the therapy take effect within 15 minutes. It is also possible to bring them anywhere and use them anytime.

Electric pulse therapy is a drug-free way of pain relief. It is suitable for people who might be experiencing or do not want to experience adverse side effects of painkillers and other treatments. There are different kinds on the market. However, it is important to choose one that is FDA-cleared, like the devices from iTENS Australia. They can visit their site to learn more about what a unit can offer them.

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