Electronic or Electrical Stimulation (E-Stim) is a technique that causes muscle contraction using electrical impulses. The electrodes, controlled by a device, are placed above the default area on the skin. The electrodes receive an electrical current from the device, which is then delivered into the muscle, causing it to contract.
There are two main types of Electronic Stimulation: Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) and Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS).
The TENS device is for pain relief, especially for chronic pain as well as short-term pain. It is usually for joint or muscle pain that is persistent, but it can also treat nerve problems without using drugs. It consists of laser printed silver conductive surface with electrodes or what we called the “wings” placed on the parts of the body where the pain originates (see iTENS products). Higher frequencies can block the pain signals, while lower frequencies can stimulate the body to produce endorphins. Other than that, the TENS is one of the safest and most effective ways to treat recurring pain.
The EMS device is very similar to the TENS as it also uses electrodes to send electrical pulses through the body. However, its purpose is somewhat different. EMS causes the muscles to contract and does not provide any pain relief. Muscle stimulation is an effective method of training the muscles. The electrical impulses impersonate those of the brain to tell muscles to move.
Both TENS and EMS have their purposes, but they vary in their reasons for being used. If an alternative to standard pain relief is what you are looking for, then the TENS device is the right choice. However, to prevent loss of muscle tissue and define specific muscle groups, the muscle stimulator is the way to go.