A tens muscle stimulator or electronic muscle stimulation machine (EMS) is a small device that you attach to your skin via self adhesive pads. A small low frequency electric impulse is then transmitted into the muscle which provides stimulation and causes the muscle to contract. The electrical impulse replicates the signal that the muscle would receive from the brain to contract or expand.
There are many advantages to using a tens muscle stimulator device. The electrical impulses can provide muscle toning and conditioning and also help muscle recovery following pains or injury. Another advantage of a tens muscle stimulator is that you can work and tone the muscles that would normally be difficult to exercise. For example if you had a bad injury that prevented you from jogging, using an exercise bike, or even travelling to the gym, then you could use an EMS to work the muscles that are not injured, as if you had done a workout. Bodybuilding professionals and fitness instructors often use these devices to provide recovery following vigorous workouts.
To use an EMS machine effectively on larger muscles it is recommended that a unit with 2 channels is used as these can work the larger muscle groups such as the calf, bicep or abdomen.
Most EMS machines come with various presets that allow the user to control the type of pulses transmitted by the machine to allow for different types of muscles work outs or even massages. This gives great flexibility to the user as they can control whether they want to warm up, tone, muscle recovery or conditioning etc.
Whilst EMS machines are very similar to how a tens machine works, to use for muscle stimulation alone it is recommended that you use a product that is actually for EMS. It is also wise to seek advice from a medical professional if you are planning to use a muscle stimulation device if you are unfit or have any other medical conditions.
Before performing a full chiropractic adjustment, electrical muscle stimulation can be used to condition various muscle groups.