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12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

EMS Device: How It Works and Its Benefits

Back view of a woman in sportswear outdoors

Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) is a type of therapy that helps improve the functions of the muscles. EMS devices are tools that use electrical currents to stimulate muscle contractions. The contractions help to boost blood circulation and reduce inflammation. In effect, it enhances rehabilitation, fitness training, and overall wellness. Additionally, it can also alleviate muscle pain and soreness. EMS offers a versatile and natural method to achieve diverse healthcare goals.

EMS therapy is beneficial to individuals of all fitness levels, from beginners to experienced athletes. The device is easy to use, with simple controls and features. Moreover, it allows customisation of the settings to suit individual needs. It can complement physical workouts and rehabilitation methods. However, understanding how it works is essential to ensure safety and effectiveness. In this article, we will explore the uses and functions of EMS machines and their benefits.

What is an EMS Device?

An EMS device is a portable electronic device that sends electrical impulses to the body to stimulate muscle contractions. It targets specific muscle groups to cause them to contract and relax repeatedly. The effects are similar to what happens during physical exercise but without muscular strain. It can help increase muscle strength and prevent muscle wastage.

A muscle stimulator typically consists of a control unit, adhesive electrodes, and additional accessories. The control unit is responsible for generating electrical pulses of various frequencies and intensities. They are adjustable, allowing users to customise their workout based on their fitness level and goals. Some units also come with pre-set programs that deliver fixed pulse patterns for specific muscle groups.

Furthermore, EMS machines come in traditional and wireless types. A traditional device has a handheld controller connected to the pads through lead cables. On the other hand, wireless devices are more compact and lightweight. The electrode pads attach directly to the control unit, making it discreet to use. The choice of the type of device may depend on individual preferences or needs.

Brief History of EMS Units

  • The earliest concepts of electrical stimulation date back to ancient Greek and Roman civilisations, which used electric fish to treat various ailments.
  • In the 18th century, Luigi Galvani’s experiments with frogs laid the foundation for understanding the relationship between electricity and muscle contractions, paving the way for future developments in electrotherapy.
  • The 1960s started the use of electronic muscle stimulation for physical therapy and rehabilitation.
  • In the 1970s, EMS units are used in sports training and fitness programs.
  • The 1990s saw an increase in the popularity of EMS for weight loss and body toning purposes.
  • Today, portable devices are widely available for home use.

App operating guide for adjusting the intensity and frequency of TENS device

How Does an EMS Device Work?

EMS devices deliver electric currents through electrodes placed on the skin. The currents or impulses mimic the natural action potential of the central nervous system to activate muscles. In particular, it stimulates the motor nerves, which are responsible for sending signals from the brain to the muscles. As a result, it triggers muscle fibres to contract and relax, promoting muscle engagement and strengthening.

Moreover, the intensity and frequency of the EMS machine can control involuntary muscle contractions. It engages a higher percentage of muscle fibres, which can help achieve more comprehensive muscle recruitment. In addition, it provides direct stimulation to the target muscle groups, minimising the risks of injury or strain on other muscles.

In terms of rehabilitation, EMS can help retrain inactive muscles that have been weakened due to injury or surgery. The electrical muscle stimulation can improve blood flow to the area, releasing muscle tension, increasing the range of motion, and providing pain relief in the process. This can be beneficial for individuals with sports injuries that limit their ability to perform traditional exercises.

Understanding Frequencies and Intensities

Frequency refers to the number of electrical pulses per second and is measured in Hertz (Hz). Low-frequency EMS uses 5-50 Hz to activate slow- and fast-twitch muscle fibres. On the other hand, high-frequency EMS operates at 60 Hz and above to elicit strong muscle contractions for strengthening and toning.

Meanwhile, intensity is the strength of each pulse and is measured in milliamps (mA). Higher intensities will feel deeper and more intense, while lower intensities are suitable for warm-up or recovery purposes. Users can adjust the intensity depending on their comfort and tolerance levels. Start at the lowest setting and gradually increase until they are comfortable.

A man using a wireless TENS machine on the elbow

Benefits of Using an EMS Device

Using an EMS device can offer numerous benefits across various domains in overall physical health. One major benefit is increased muscle strength. EMS provides a non-invasive way to strengthen and tone the muscles. Additionally, engaging a higher percentage of muscle fibres can help individuals train longer without experiencing fatigue.

Furthermore, EMS therapy can enhance muscle recovery and reduce post-exercise soreness. By promoting blood circulation and lymphatic draining, it facilitates the removal of metabolic waste products from muscles. Consequently, it accelerates the recovery process following intense workouts, injuries, or surgery. EMS can also help prevent muscle atrophy, which is the loss of muscle mass.

An EMS training device can also aid in injury prevention. By improving muscle performance, it reduces the risk of injuries. It can help address muscle imbalances, weaknesses, and asymmetries that contribute to injury risk. Lastly, EMS therapy is a low-impact alternative to traditional strength training. It is suitable for individuals with joint pain or mobility limitations. The versatility and convenience of EMS machines make them a valuable tool for optimising physical performance.

Applications of EMS Units

EMS units are applicable in physical therapy, sports and fitness programs, and pain management. Firstly, they are commonly used in rehabilitation settings to aid in muscle recovery and re-education. Secondly, they can aid in strength training. Using EMS units with a workout routine can help achieve significant results in a shorter time.

Thirdly, EMS can support pain management for individuals with muscle tension, spasms, and soreness. At low-frequency levels, it can stimulate the nerves to block pain signals and release natural painkillers. Finally, they can promote muscle relaxation and lymphatic draining through massage modes and other pre-set programs.


EMS devices offer a wide range of applications and benefits for individuals of various fitness levels. Mainly, it utilises electric currents to stimulate the muscles to contract and relax them repeatedly. The contraction can help strengthen, tone, and re-educate the muscles. It is beneficial for those who want to improve their athletic performance and endurance. In addition, it can help people rehabilitate from injuries or surgery. By increasing blood circulation, it can speed up the recovery process and reduce discomfort.

The EMS machine has adjustable settings to tailor the electrical stimulation according to individual comfort levels. Users can adjust the frequency and intensity based on their treatment goals. EMS units are portable and easy to use. Nevertheless, it is essential to consult a physical therapist or a health professional before using any physical therapy devices. Following the instructions of a healthcare provider can help avoid any potential risks and ensure the effectiveness of the therapy.

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