Electrical stimulation or e-stim therapy uses mild electrical impulses that target either the muscles or nerves. Some forms of e-stim therapy are Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) and Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS); or Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES). Physical therapists mainly do e-stim therapy using an e stim machine to rehabilitate soft tissue injuries or neuromuscular disorders (like a stroke) that generally have pain symptoms or limited muscular movement capabilities.
E Stim Machine for TENS
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS machines are one of the more common e stim machines. Moreover, they are widely used to help reduce pain, whether acute (short term) or chronic (long term) pain. They send out neurological signals towards the nerves, which stimulate and block pain signals from reaching the brain. Thus, reducing and sometimes wholly negating the pain felt. TENS machines have pain-reducing results that may last for about five and up to 18 hours. Primary uses for TENS pain management therapy are:
- Back pain
- Joint pain
- Nerve inflammation (like sciatica)
- Neck pain
- Muscle injury via trauma
- Scoliosis pain
- Labour pain
A TENS e stim machine can provide immediate pain relief by delivering gentle electrical currents to stimulate the nerves. According to the Gate Control Theory of pain, a “neural gate” in the spinal cord controls the passage of pain signals. Once e stim begins, this “neural gate” blocks pain signals from reaching the brain. TENS can also help release endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers. Thus, resulting in the body feeling less pain.
E Stim Machine for EMS
An Electric Muscle Stimulation or EMS machine is another type of e stim machine. It helps facilitate muscle movement. Furthermore, they use slightly stronger electrical currents that directly target the muscles, which produces a muscle contraction. EMS therapy done by physical therapists mainly help prevent muscle atrophy (reduced muscle size). It improves and facilitates muscle strength, muscle toning, and provides muscle re-education (stroke patients). Moreover, it aids in blood circulation (which helps for faster recovery). Therapists regularly use EMS for patients with a spinal cord injury and stroke. Muscle re-education and strengthening play a vital part in regaining muscle movement and control. Pad placement during EMS therapy would typically be on the muscle bellies of core muscle groups like the quadriceps or triceps, which would directly affect and produce muscle contraction. Other uses and benefits of using an EMS machine are:
- Relieving back spasms
- Working weakened or atrophied muscles
- Retraining muscles after surgery or illness
- Aiding athletic recovery
An e stim machine used for EMS is very similar to TENS as it also uses electrodes to send electrical pulses through the body. However, instead of providing pain relief, it causes the muscles to contract. EMS is an effective method of training the muscles.
Risks and Limitations
TENS and EMS e stim machines are generally safe to use. However, they can cause some side effects depending on certain situations. For example, the sticky electrode pads may cause skin irritation for people with sensitive skin. Additionally, some people may find that the current produced by the device may be too strong, causing mild shocks and a burning sensation. More often, these side effects are more likely to happen with EMS treatment therapies as they deliver stronger currents than TENS does.
It is also advised not to use a TENS or EMS e stim machine if you have a heart condition, suffer from epilepsy, are pregnant, and have electronic or metal implants such as pacemakers and defibrillators. However, TENS treatment is a common pain relief method for labour pain. If you want to use a TENS e stim machine during labour, it is best to consult with your doctor, midwife or healthcare provider firsthand.
iTENS as your Personal E Stim Machine
TENS and EMS devices back then were only found in rehab centres or gyms and could only be operated by trained physical therapists. Nowadays, devices like the iTENS e stim machine are now made available to the public via the iTENS Australia website. The wireless iTENS machine now has simple, ready-to-use pre-set settings that can be manually activated or activated via a Bluetooth connection through an iOS or Android device. Furthermore, the wireless iTENS device can work for both TENS and EMS treatments.
The iTENS wireless device as your personal e stim machine is a highly compatible device that can be placed almost anywhere on the body. Pad placement for TENS treatment would regularly be above and below the area to where the location of the point of pain is. Thus, placing the pain just in between the pads. Furthermore, the iTENS’ sticky electrode pads are hypoallergenic. Thus, eliminating the possibility of skin irritations for people with sensitive skin. It makes for a more pleasurable and convenient experience when conducting TENS or EMS treatments using the iTENS wireless device.
Advantages of a Wireless E Stim Machine
The iTENS wireless e stim machine is the world’s first FDA-cleared, true wireless TENS and EMS therapy device. Moreover, it combines digital technology with the therapeutic effects of TENS and EMS. Through a smartphone app, you can conduct hassle-free pain and muscle treatments. Furthermore, the iTENS app is compatible with most iOS and Android devices.
TENS and EMS therapy with the iTENS wireless e stim machine is a non-invasive and safe way to manage pain and recover muscles. Unlike some oral medications like opioids, using the e stim therapy does not cause any adverse side effects. Hence, you can use the iTENS device as many times as you need. Moreover, the wireless iTENS device lets you apply treatment from the comfort of your home. The sticky electrode pads can fit discreetly under your clothes, allowing you to perform typical household activities such as work, exercise or chores. Gone as well are the days of having to manage messy wires that can tangle and break easily.
Both TENS and EMS therapies using e stim machines have their own specific purpose. If highly effective pain relief treatment is what you are looking for, then TENS therapy is the right choice for you. Likewise, EMS therapy is the way to go if preventing loss of muscle tissue and defining specific muscle groups is what you are opting for.
The iTENS wireless e stim machine is a cost-efficient method for both TENS and EMS therapies. With all their uses and advantages in mind, it is clear that having a personal e stim machine would prove to be an invaluable investment. Therefore, needing either TENS or EMS therapies would significantly benefit from having one or more iTENS devices. The iTENS and its various accessories are available for purchase at the iTENS Australia website now.