What is electric muscle stimulation?

Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS), also known as neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) or electromyostimulation, is the use of electric impulses to induce muscle contraction. For a variety of reasons, EMS has gained more attention in recent years. It may be used as a strength training tool for healthy individuals and athletes, as well as rehabilitation and preventative tool for persons who are partly or completely immobile. It might be used as a testing instrument to assess neuronal and/or muscle function in vivo.

electric muscle stimulation

Athletes might utilize it as a post-exercise recuperation technique. The impulses are created by a device and sent to the muscles being stimulated through electrodes on the skin. Electrodes are typically pads that stick to the skin. The impulses mirror the central nervous system’s action potential, prompting the muscles to contract. Sports scientists have acknowledged the use of EMS as a supplemental strategy for sports training, and published research on the outcomes is available. The US Food and Drug Administration regulates EMS equipment in the United States (FDA).

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    Physical rehabilitation

    In medicine, EMS is used for rehabilitation, such as in physical therapy to avoid muscle atrophy caused by inactivity or neuromuscular imbalance, which may occur following musculoskeletal injuries (damage to bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons). This differs from transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), which uses an electric current to treat pain. The current in TENS is frequently sub-threshold, which means that no muscle contraction is recorded.

    EMS is used to alleviate muscular weakness in persons with progressive conditions such as cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who are unable or unable to engage in whole-body exercise. EMS may result in a statistically significant increase in quadriceps muscular strength; however, further study is required since this information is of low certainty. According to the same research, EMS may result in increased muscle mass. Evidence of low certainty suggests that incorporating EMS into an existing fitness program may help persons who will spend fewer days confined to their beds. 14

    During EMS training, a group of complementing muscle parts (e.g., biceps and triceps) are often targeted in an alternating pattern to achieve particular training objectives, such as strengthening the capacity to reach for an item.

    Weight loss

    The FDA refuses to certify gadgets that promise to reduce weight. EMS devices result in modest calorie burning at best: calories are burned in considerable amounts only when the majority of the body is engaged in physical exercise: multiple muscles, the heart, and the respiratory system are all engaged at the same time. Some writers, however, suggest that EMS may lead to exercise because persons who tone their muscles with electrical stimulation are more likely to participate in athletic activities later on since the body becomes ready, fit, willing, and able to engage in physical activity.


    “NMES strength training promotes neuronal and muscular changes that are complementary to the well-known benefits of voluntary resistance training.” This declaration is included in the editorial summary of an international congress of researchers on the issue held in 2010. Following the congress, more research on practical applications identified critical criteria that distinguish between successful and ineffective EMS.  In hindsight, this explains why, in the past, certain researchers and practitioners attained outcomes that others were unable to replicate. Furthermore, as shown by respectable colleges, EMS produces muscle fiber adaptation, i.e. training. Because of the properties of skeletal muscle fibers, various kinds of fibers may be activated to varying degrees by different types of EMS, and the changes caused rely on the pattern of EMS activity. These patterns, known as protocols or programs, will result in a distinct contraction response from various fiber types. Some programs promote fatigue resistance, i.e. endurance, while others increase force generation.

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