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

Electro Stimulus: What It Is, Types of Devices, & Its Benefits

iTENS wireless TENS machine in large wings and spare long wings

Electro-stimulus, also known as electrical stimulation, is a therapeutic technique that involves the application of low-voltage currents to the nerves or muscles. This modality has been used for decades and has gained popularity in various medical and rehabilitation settings. In addition, there are different types of devices, each with its purpose and benefits. Some of the common types are electrical nerve and muscle stimulation. They can help relieve pain and strengthen the muscles without medicines.

Electrical stimulation therapies are non-invasive techniques that have shown promise in the field of pain management and rehabilitation. These therapies work by delivering electrical impulses to specific areas of the body. This stimulation is mild and safe, allowing individuals to use it at their convenience. It is also completely drug-free, minimising the risk of medication side effects. The following sections will explore electric stimulation, the types of devices, and the therapy benefits.

What is Electro-Stimulus?

Electro-stimulus is a type of therapy that uses mild electric currents through electrode pads placed on the body. This treatment is common in physical therapy, rehabilitation, and fitness training to relieve pain, improve muscle strength, and promote healing. It typically uses a portable device that is easy to operate and convenient for on-the-go treatment.

The stim machine has adjustable settings that allow individuals to control the intensity and frequency of the electrical impulses. This customisation ensures that the therapy caters to individual needs and comfort levels. Additionally, the modifiable stimulation level can target specific muscle groups or nerves, making it a versatile treatment option for a variety of conditions.

Electrical stimulation devices work by mimicking the natural electrical signals of the body, which can help override the central nervous system. This can induce the natural mechanisms of the body to block pain, contract muscles, and improve circulation. Overall, it is a non-invasive therapy method that offers many positive effects to the body.

Physiological Effects of Electrical Stimulation

  • Electrical stimulation produces a mild tingling or buzzing sensation at the site of electrode placement. This sensation is a result of the electrical impulses activating the nerves and muscles.
  • The electrical impulses override the sensory nerves, helping to block pain signals from reaching the brain and providing immediate relief.
  • Motor unit recruitment to stimulate muscle contractions. This can help improve muscle strength, endurance, and coordination.
  • Electrical stimulation also dilates blood vessels, increasing blood flow to the area. This improved circulation delivers vital nutrients and oxygen to tissues, speeding up the recovery process.
  • Reduced oedema and swelling.
  • Increase in the range of motion.

Woman wearing TENS pads on the forearm and leg

Types of Electro-Stimulus Devices

There are several types of electro-stimulus devices available on the market, each for specific therapeutic purposes. One of the most common types of machine is Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). TENS devices work by sending low-voltage electrical currents to block pain signals and promote the release of endorphins. This can help treat various acute and chronic pain conditions.

Another common type of stim device is EMS (Electrical Muscle Stimulation). EMS devices use higher pulse frequencies to elicit involuntary muscular contractions. It targets the motor nerves that are responsible for contracting and relaxing the muscles, increasing muscle mass and tone. Similar to EMS is NMES (Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES). This device is specifically ideal for muscle rehabilitation after injuries or surgeries.

Lastly, IFC (Interferential Current Therapy) devices use two medium-frequency currents that intersect and create a deep, penetrating treatment. This type of therapy is for chronic pain relief, muscle spasms, oedema reduction, tissue repair, circulatory conditions, and spasticity. Overall, these machines are useful tools in a physical therapy program.

A Closer Look at TENS

TENS therapy is a popular form of electrotherapy for pain management. Unlike other machines, TENS use electrical pulses to stimulate the sensory nerves but are mild enough not to cause vigorous contractions. Moreover, TENS machines come in two main types: traditional and wireless. They work similarly with differences in terms of portability and operation.

Many TENS machines have pre-set programs for more efficient and convenient pain management. They can help treat various conditions, such as back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and soft tissue injuries. Furthermore, individuals can use TENS devices from the comfort of their homes without needing professional supervision.

Woman pressing her right neck

Benefits of Electro-Stimulus Therapy

Electro-stimulus therapy offers a wide range of benefits, ranging from pain relief to improvements in muscle strength. Some of the key benefits include non-invasive and drug-free pain treatments. They are effective in reducing pain without medications or invasive procedures. Additionally, since it does not involve drugs, there are no adverse effects, such as addiction or complications to internal organs.

Another benefit is muscle rehabilitation. Therapies like EMS and NMES help improve muscle function, especially for those with mobility issues. They also help in reducing muscle atrophy, improving muscle tone, and promoting better control. Furthermore, electrical stimulation is an efficient way to improve circulation. This can help reduce inflammation and promote healing.

Electric stimulators also enable targeted relief. The frequency, pulse duration, and intensity are adjustable to suit individual needs or preferences. This customisation enables versatile use. The machines can also double as electronic pulse massagers for muscle relaxation benefits. Lastly, electrode pad placement allows for direct stimulation of the affected nerves, muscles, or tissues.

Treatable Conditions

TENS and IFC can help treat neuropathic conditions, such as diabetic neuropathy, sciatica, and phantom limb pain. They can also relieve musculoskeletal pain like muscle overuse, soreness, sprains, and tendonitis. Moreover, many women use a TENS machine to relieve period pain and contractions during labour.

Sensory nerve stimulation can help manage neurological disorders like dementia and cerebral palsy. On the other hand, muscle stimulators can help reduce post-operative pain and enhance muscle function after a stroke or paralysis. It can be beneficial for those with limited movements and finding physical exercise difficult. In addition, EMS and NMES can help re-train muscles after injuries.


Electro-stimulus therapy offers drug-free and non-invasive methods of pain management and muscle rehabilitation. They work by stimulating the nerves or muscles to block pain signals or induce muscle contractions. These mechanisms can provide therapeutic benefits without the need for medications or common risks of surgeries. Moreover, there are various types of electrical stimulation, including TENS, IFC, EMS, and NMES. Each therapy has its own set of benefits and target conditions, making it versatile for a wide range of individuals.

Electrotherapy can treat nerve pains, joint pains, muscular pains, and postoperative pain. Furthermore, the stimulator machines are convenient and easy to use. It involves adjusting the frequency, pulse duration, and intensity to suit individual pain levels. Nevertheless, it is essential to consult with a physical therapist or healthcare provider before starting any treatment regimen. With proper usage and safety guidelines, individuals can improve their quality of life.

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