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12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

Electric Stimulation Machine: A Guide on How to Use a TENS Unit

A female news anchor reporting about TENS as a new pain relief solution

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a method of pain relief. It employs an electronic device that dispatches electrical currents to the body. Consequently, this electrical stimulation works in various analgesic mechanisms. Nevertheless, using a TENS electric stimulation machine is straightforward. Ensure the device is fully charged or has fresh batteries. Accordingly, prepare the skin in the treatment region and place the electrodes. Turn on the TENS machine, adjust the settings, or choose a pre-set program.

Pain is a common experience that can impact every aspect of life. Many people turn to physical therapy programs and medications as a form of pain relief. However, these solutions may only provide temporary relief and can come with undesirable side effects. Fortunately, TENS stimulation for treatment is safe and effective. It is a non-invasive, drug-free, and versatile pain management tool. The following sections will present the TENS electrical stimulation device, how it works, and how to use it.

What is a TENS Electric Stimulation Machine?

A TENS electric stimulation machine is a medical device designed to provide pain relief. It delivers electrical pulses to the body through electrodes attached to the skin. Healthcare professionals, physical therapists, and pain clinics commonly recommend TENS therapy for patients. Accordingly, TENS units are also utilised by individuals seeking non-pharmacological and home-use options.

The device itself is available in handheld and wireless models. It is portable and convenient for users to carry and use. A handheld device usually has physical wires to connect the electrodes to the central machine. On the other hand, wireless units offer flexibility and ease of use. They have no cords or lead cables to restrict movement. It enables users to go about their daily activities while receiving treatment.

Nevertheless, both models offer various features. TENS machines often include adjustable settings to cater to different pain relief needs. Individuals can modify the frequency, intensity, and duration of electrical stimulation. Some devices also come equipped with digital displays and pre-set programs. It simplifies the selection of the most suitable type of stimulation for various medical conditions.

Treatable Conditions

  • Acute Pain: Sudden and often sharp. It usually arises due to labour pain, postoperative pain, menstrual cramps, and sports injuries.
  • Chronic Pain: A condition that persists for months or even years. TENS can treat conditions like fibromyalgia, backaches, and arthritis.
  • Neuropathic Pain: Caused by nerve damage or a malfunctioning nervous system. TENS can provide relief from conditions such as diabetic neuropathy, phantom pain, and sciatica.
  • Musculoskeletal Pain: Affects muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons. TENS proves beneficial for managing joint pain and knee osteoarthritis pain.
  • Muscular Discomfort: Often arising from muscle spasms, overuse, injuries, or conditions like myofascial pain syndrome.

A small and long wing iTENS and refill gel pads

How a TENS Electric Stimulation Machine Works

A TENS electric stimulation machine works behind basic science mechanisms. Firstly, the TENS unit plays a significant role in triggering the production of endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals in the body that act as natural painkillers. They are produced in response to discomfort and bind to opioid receptors to reduce the perception of pain. The electric currents encourage the body to release these endorphins.

Secondly, the concept of the pain gate mechanism comes into play. It suggests a gate-like mechanism in the nervous system controls the flow of pain signals to the brain. The electrical signals from the TENS unit can effectively “close the gate” by stimulating the nerves to interrupt or block the pain signals travelling to the brain. As a result, it lessens the sensation of pain.

In addition, using a TENS device promotes increased blood flow to the targeted area. The electrical pulses encourage blood vessel dilation, enhancing circulation. Improved blood flow can help with the healing process by bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the treatment region. It supports the recovery process and reduces inflammation and soreness, leading to a decrease in discomfort.


Foremost, the TENS machine provides targeted relief. The device delivers electrical impulses specifically to the pain site by placing the electrodes directly on or near the area of discomfort. Secondly, the TENS device represents a natural form of pain relief. The treatment reduces discomfort without introducing foreign substances into the body, like injections and medications.

Adjustability is another critical benefit of TENS therapy. It allows users to control the parameters of the electrical stimulation. Hence, individuals can customise their treatment to match specific needs. Additionally, TENS serves as an excellent complementary therapy. It can be used alongside other treatments.

A guide on how to use the iTENS app

How to Use a TENS Electric Stimulation Machine

Using a TENS electric stimulation machine requires following straightforward steps. Ensure the skin area where to place the electrodes is clean and dry. It helps in achieving good adhesion and conductivity. Adhere the electrodes either directly to the pain site or surrounding areas. Subsequently, attach the electrodes to the central machine using the leads or on a smartphone via Bluetooth for wireless.

Then, power up the TENS machine. Start at the lowest setting and gradually increase the intensity until a tingling sensation occurs. It should not cause pain or discomfort. The goal is to find a balance that offers pain relief without causing any irritation or discomfort. Nevertheless, a healthcare provider or the manual can offer recommendations on the best configurations for the specific pain condition.

A TENS therapy session typically lasts anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. It is essential to adhere to the recommended duration to avoid skin irritation or unwanted side effects. Depending on the pain management plan, individuals can use the device multiple times throughout the day. After completing the session, turn off the TENS machine before removing the electrodes from the skin.

Safety Guidelines

Before using a TENS machine, seeking advice from a healthcare provider is advisable. It ensures the therapy is appropriate for the specific condition and health status. Before each use, inspect the TENS device and accessories for any signs of damage. Furthermore, avoid placing the electrodes on sensitive areas and broken skin. Adhere also to the proper pad placement.

Additionally, do not start the therapy at high settings. It is to avoid overwhelming the nerves and muscles that can cause discomfort. Users should not operate the unit while driving or using heavy machinery. The sensation can distract the user and increase the risk of accidents.


In summary, a TENS electric stimulation machine is a beneficial tool for pain management and relief. It is an electrical device that dispatches electrical currents to the nerve fibres. It sends the impulses via electrode pads placed on the skin. Accordingly, these electrical pulses work in various analgesic mechanisms. It blocks the pain signals travelling to the brain. It also triggers the production and release of endorphins. Additionally, the electrical stimulation can promote blood flow in the treatment area.

TENS treatment presents a multitude of benefits. It is natural, adjustable, complementary, and provides targeted relief. Furthermore, TENS therapy is versatile. It can treat various conditions like menstrual cramps, backaches, phantom pain, knee osteoarthritis pain, and muscle spasms. It is also straightforward to use the TENS machine. Prepare the skin, attach the electrode pads, power the device, and customise the settings. However, knowing the safety guidelines is crucial for optimal TENS therapy experience.

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