Electrophysiological devices have become increasingly popular over the last decade and have been used by practitioners for considerably longer. There are two distinct electrophysiological devices that have received the most attention from health practitioners and sports scientists – the EMS device, and the TENS device. EMS stands for electrical muscle stimulation, and works by sending a low-level electrical current through the targeted muscle, causing it to contract. TENS is for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator, and works similarly but targets the nerves opposed to the muscles. Padded electrodes are stuck to the skin near the targeted muscles or nerves, and an attached device is programmed to generate the electrical impulses which will be transmitted to you. They have been recognised as having a range of therapeutic benefits, with TENS devices working to provide pain relief, and EMS devices strengthening muscles and increasing blood flow.
Benefits of Muscle Stimulation
- As the world has changed, so has employment, and the majority of people today have jobs that require long hours of sitting behind a desk. We live largely sedentary lifestyles, and as such do not use our muscles enough, and this lack of movement and limited blood flow contributes to the development of diseases. Electrophysiological devices, by stimulating muscles that are otherwise not used frequently, prevents injuries and diseases related to poor muscle use.
- Used to complement exercise programs in healthy individuals wanting to maximise their potential to build and maintain strong muscles.
- Muscle stimulation has many therapeutic uses and is used to prevent the atrophy of muscles in individuals who are unable to exercise, such as those who have been injured in an accident or the elderly.
- During the rehabilitation stage after an injury, electrophysiological devices complement physical therapy, aiding healing and a faster recovery.
- The ability of the devices to increase blood circulation makes it a viable option for preventing venous thrombosis in the calves after surgery.
- May aid relaxation of the muscles in individuals suffering from muscle spasms.
- Encourages a healthier lifestyle. Some practitioners have noticed that when people using muscle stimulants get stronger and have a greater range of mobility, they often desire to be more active in their everyday lives.
Who Can Use Electrophysiological Devices?
Anyone who wants to strengthen their muscles, improve their blood circulation, and prevent musculoskeletal injuries can benefit from muscle stimulation. It has become so popular that gyms specialising in electrical muscle stimulation have been popping up all over the world, where members exercise in a specially-designed body suit attached to electrodes that target the main muscle groups and increase the effectiveness of the workout. Currently, it is most frequently used by athletes and those wanting to improve their form, and for its therapeutic uses in injured patients, but also by people simply wanting to improve their physical form.
In cases of injury, it is best to use electrophysiological devices under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Before you buy either a muscle or nerve stimulator, talk to your doctor, particularly if you have a pacemaker or defibrillator.