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

Home TENS Machine: How It Works & the Benefits

A small and large wing iTENS and a pack of refill gel pads

A Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or home TENS machine is a portable device that uses electrical currents as a method of pain relief. Accordingly, the electrical device works by interrupting the transmission of pain messages and triggering the release of endorphins. Additionally, it influences blood flow and can steam low and high frequencies. Furthermore, TENS therapy provides numerous benefits. It is non-invasive, drug-free, customisable, cost-effective, and portable. Hence, it is suitable for home use.

Living with different types of pain can be debilitating. It can impact the overall quality of life. Fortunately, TENS is a popular pain relief option. It has been used for decades in clinical settings. However, technological advancements have made it possible to use a TENS medical device in the comfort of own homes. Medical professionals and pain clinics recommend it. This article will present how the TENS home unit works, its benefits, and how to operate it.

How Does a Home TENS Machine Work?

A home TENS machine works by actively engaging with the natural mechanisms of the body. Foremost, the electrical impulses from TENS target the release of endorphins. These are the chemicals in the body that act as natural pain relievers. Endorphins bind to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. Hence, it can reduce the perception of discomfort and promote a sense of well-being.

Secondly, the pain management tool employs the Pain Gate Theory. It proposes that the nervous system can only carry a limited amount of sensory information to the brain. The electric currents from TENS can essentially “flood” the nervous pathways with non-painful stimuli. Therefore, it reduces or blocks pain signals travelling to the brain. As a result, the brain perceives less discomfort, providing relief.

In addition, the electrical stimulation enhances blood circulation to the targeted area. Improved blood flow accelerates the healing process. It ensures a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues. Accordingly, it facilitates the removal of waste products and inflammatory substances that can contribute to pain sensations. Nevertheless, blood flow thus supports tissue repair and reduces discomfort.

Low and High Frequencies

A TENS unit employs electrical pulses, which can be delivered in the following frequencies:

  • Low-Frequency (LF) TENS: It typically operates below 10 Hz and is often called acupuncture-like TENS. LF mode stimulates the natural painkillers of the body, known as endorphins. It is beneficial for managing chronic conditions.
  • High-Frequency (HF) TENS: It is usually set above 50 Hz and is known as conventional TENS. HF mode employs a different mechanism called the Pain Gate Theory. In this approach, the rapid electrical impulses overwhelm the ability of the nervous system to transmit pain signals to the brain. It is valuable for acute conditions.

A person using a wearable and discreet TENS near the ankle

Benefits of Using a Home TENS Machine

A home TENS machine brings various benefits to users. Firstly, TENS therapy is versatile. It can cater to different conditions, making it an invaluable tool for many. Secondly, TENS can direct the electrical currents to the area of discomfort precisely. Hence, this targeted approach helps in managing specific pain points efficiently and does not affect the entire body.

Thirdly, TENS treatment is non-invasive and drug-free. It does not require incisions, internal interventions, or the need for pharmaceuticals. Therefore, it eliminates the potential side effects and long recovery periods. Fourthly, users can tailor the parameters. It may include adjusting the frequency, intensity, and duration. It ensures a more personalised and effective treatment.

Furthermore, TENS units are compact and lightweight. This makes it suitable for home use. Also, with its ability to provide long-lasting relief, TENS therapy is cost-effective. It eliminates the ongoing cost of medications or frequent visits to health professionals. Additionally, TENS devices feature simple controls and clear instructions. Thus, its ease of use encourages consistent treatment at home.

Treatable Conditions

TENS therapy can treat acute pain. It arises suddenly and shortly. It may include period pain, injury pain, labour pain, and tension headaches. Moreover, TENS can manage chronic pain that persists over a long period. It may involve neck pain, arthritis, and backaches.

Additionally, TENS treatment can address musculoskeletal pain. It affects the bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It can treat joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis. Also, TENS is beneficial for neuropathic pain. It can manage conditions like sciatica and diabetic neuropathy. TENS therapy is also valuable for muscular pain. It relaxes the muscles and enhances the healing process.

A woman manually operating TENS on her hand

How to Operate a Home TENS Machine

Home users follow a simple yet precise procedure to operate a home TENS machine effectively. Initially, ensure the unit is fully charged or has fresh batteries. It is to prevent interruptions during therapy. Next, identify the treatment region and carefully clean the skin over it. Accordingly, place the electrode pads, avoiding the sensitive areas of the body. Adhering to the proper pad placement is essential in this step.

Then, connect the electrodes to the central machine or a smartphone for wireless. Afterwards, turn on the TENS machine and adjust the parameters. It may include modifying the frequency, intensity, and duration of stimulation. Additionally, some TENS units have pre-set programs. Thus, choose the appropriate. Begin at the lowest settings and gradually increase it to a comfortable level.

It is essential to monitor any sensations throughout the session, which typically lasts between 15 to 30 minutes. The buzzing or tapping sensation is normal. After the session, turn off the TENS machine and carefully remove the pads. Nevertheless, it is crucial to consult a medical professional before using TENS. This is particularly essential for individuals with underlying medical conditions.

Where to Buy a TENS Unit?

Individuals seeking to purchase a TENS unit for home use have various options. They may buy it in physical or online stores. Physical stores offer a tangible buying experience. Local pharmacies and medical supply stores usually offer the devices. These specialised outlets provide an array of models and brands, allowing the customers to examine the units physically.

Meanwhile, for a broader selection and the convenience of home shopping, online platforms are an attractive alternative. Numerous online retailers and platforms feature a wide range of TENS machines. It encompasses various features, price points, and user reviews.


In summary, a home TENS machine is a convenient and effective way to manage pain in the comfort of home. It is a device that delivers electrical currents as a method of pain relief. Accordingly, it works by engaging the natural mechanisms of the body. It blocks the transmission of pain signals, targets the release of endorphins, and enhances blood circulation. Additionally, TENS can stream electrical pulses at different frequencies. Typically, it sends the currents in low or high frequencies.

Furthermore, TENS brings various benefits. It is versatile, direct, non-invasive, drug-free, adjustable, compact, lightweight, cost-effective, and easy to use. Moreover, it can treat conditions like menstrual cramps, arthritis, sciatica, and osteoarthritis. Nevertheless, it is crucial to know how to operate TENS for home use. Identify the treatment location, clean the skin, place the pads, and adjust the settings. Individuals can purchase TENS in physical and online stores. iTENS Australia is an online retailer offering wireless TENS machines.

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