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12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

TENS Machine for Muscle Growth: Is It Possible?

A large and small wing iTENS electrode and refill gel pads

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) devices have long been used for pain relief. However, many also inquire if they can use a TENS machine for muscle growth. Although not intended for muscle growth, TENS can have beneficial effects that contribute to muscle building and development. Namely, it can improve blood circulation, aiding in recovery and healing. Moreover, it can reduce soreness and allow individuals to push themselves during conventional exercise training.

TENS machines are helpful devices frequently used for alleviating pain from several conditions. It has short-term effects that can aid during treatment and rehabilitation. Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) machines are more regularly used for muscle growth since they function for this specific purpose. There are also TENS and EMS combo units for individuals seeking to benefit from the effects of both methods. This article will present information on TENS machines, how they work, and how to operate them.

What is a TENS Machine for Muscle Growth?

A TENS machine for muscle growth is a battery-operated device that sends low-voltage electrical currents to the body. It uses externally applied electrode pads to deliver electrical signals for a non-invasive treatment. It is frequently seen in medical settings, but people can also buy personal units for convenient use.

TENS therapy is a non-invasive method that helps many people manage pain and improve outcomes from their training sessions. While TENS machines are not specifically designed for muscle growth, they can indirectly help. Handheld devices that use lead cables to connect the electrodes and power source are available. On the other hand, there are wireless devices that eliminate the restrictions on movement during TENS treatment sessions.

TENS therapy has many beneficial effects that can contribute to muscle growth, such as increased blood flow, reduced inflammation, and enhanced recovery. Moreover, reducing pain and inflammation with TENS therapy can allow individuals to push themselves harder during workouts without experiencing discomfort. This can lead to increased muscle activation and growth over time.

Importance of Muscle Growth

  • Generally, muscle growth is crucial for overall health and fitness since it aids in maintaining regular organ and muscle function.
  • It can contribute to better metabolism and bone health. Hence, this may reduce the risks of developing ailments such as osteoporosis.
  • Muscle growth also improves the overall physique and muscle performance, increasing the perception of strength and confidence.
  • It can also help prevent injuries from falls and improve athletic performance. As such, many athletes look for new and natural methods of enhancing muscle growth.
  • Exercising for muscle growth can also boost heart health and regulate body fat mass.

A man wearing an electrode on his arm

How a TENS Machine for Muscle Growth Works

A TENS machine for muscle growth sends mild electrical impulses from the electrodes to the body. The electrical signals can target nerves and cause the muscles to contract and relax at high intensities, similar to how they do during regular exercise. This can also improve blood circulation by increasing blood flow to the area. This aids in muscle damage recovery and may contribute to muscle tissue growth over time.

TENS also provides effective pain relief. High-frequency current therapy can trigger the spinal nerve fibres to block pain signals travelling to the brain. This can provide immediate relief suitable for acute pain conditions like sports injuries. This is also known as the pain gate mechanism.

TENS can also induce the production of endorphins. These hormones are natural painkillers that bind to opioid receptors for relief of pain. They can also help improve the range of motion by reducing muscle inflammation. Moreover, they can improve moods and reduce stress. Overall, TENS can provide many health benefits to its users.

Benefits of Using TENS for Muscle Growth

TENS has several beneficial effects for its users. Firstly, it is a natural and drug-free method. It does not require medicine to work and help with muscle healing or pain relief. It also does not have the adverse effects that medications typically have.

Secondly, TENS units are convenient and portable. People can use them in various locations, including gyms and at home. They are easy to self-administer and can quickly ease discomfort from achy muscles. Lastly, TENS is cost-effective. Individuals can use the machine long-term. Besides helping with healthy muscle building, they also provide acute and chronic pain relief.

A woman using the iTENS smartphone app to control the settings on her electrodes

How to Operate a TENS Machine for Muscle Growth

Operating a TENS machine for muscle growth is easy. Nevertheless, it can help to read the instruction manual to ensure proper use. One tip is to prepare the treatment area before the session to remove lotions, oils, and dirt that may interfere with the adhesion of the electrode pads.

Start by applying the pads to the target area. Next, connect the TENS pads to the control unit using lead cables or Bluetooth. Once connected, the user can turn the machine on. They may modify the settings as needed. However, starting with low intensities and gradually increasing them is advisable to prevent sudden shocks. The operator may also set a timer to keep track of the session duration.

TENS sessions typically last between 20 to 60 minutes. The duration varies depending on the overall health condition and settings used. In some machines, the timer can automatically turn off the unit. This feature is ideal to prevent overuse. Users must ensure the machine is off before removing the electrodes. People can use TENS multiple times per week or as advised by their healthcare provider.

Pad Placement

Proper pad placement is crucial when using a TENS unit to increase muscle strength and growth. Typically, people apply TENS pads on muscles near the pain source. However, for muscle growth, they can attach them to the muscles they are targeting for growth. For example, if someone wants to strengthen their biceps, they can place the adhesive electrodes on the bicep muscles.

It is essential to attach the surface electrodes at least one inch apart. This helps prevent overlapping currents that may cause discomfort or skin irritation. Additionally, users should avoid placing electrodes directly over wounds or inflamed skin since electrical stimulation may worsen them.


A TENS machine for muscle growth is an effective tool. It can help individuals with muscle building and development. Although it does not directly cause growth, it has positive effects that can aid individuals striving for it. These include increasing blood flow to the target muscles, which helps with healing injured muscles and providing nutrients for growth. Moreover, TENS can provide relief from discomfort the individual may experience after conventional training. This can motivate them to work harder.

A TENS machine uses low-voltage electrical currents to stimulate the underlying nerves. At high intensities, they may even affect the muscles. To use a TENS unit for muscle growth, the individual must first attach the electrode pads to the target muscles. Then, they may adjust the settings according to their comfort level and desired results. People can buy TENS machines without prescriptions online or in pharmacies. Those interested in a wireless device may consider the iTENS from iTENS Australia.

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