For decades, athletes have used electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) therapy. It has continued to gain in popularity as a safe, effective method for enhancing performance and recovery.
But what is electrical muscle stimulation? How does it work? Does electrical muscle stimulation hurt?
We’ll answer all of these questions—and more—as we explore the benefits of electrical muscle stimulation for athletes:
What is Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)?
Electrical Muscle Stimulation or EMS is a form of low-intensity electrical current that is used to stimulate muscles. It’s a therapeutic approach that has been used for decades to help people with injuries and pain.
In EMS, the low electrical current causes muscle contractions by causing excitation of peripheral nerves. These muscle contractions can be fast and frequent, quick with long pauses in between, or intense for several seconds.
Impulses from electrical muscle stimulation are similar to the natural electric signals that cause our muscles to contract.
How long does an EMS session last?
It’s common for electrical muscle stimulation sessions to last approximately 5 to 10 minutes. However, the length of a session depends upon the required treatment.
Does Electrical Muscle Stimulation hurt?
No. While pain is subjective, the electrical impulses used in EMS are just too low to cause any pain. In fact, most people feel nothing more than a tingling sensation during EMS therapy. When electrical current is increased, that tingling may feel stronger. but people who undergo EMS therapy by a qualified practitioner generally agree that it is not uncomfortable in any way.
Some potential benefits of Electrical Muscle Stimulation include:
- Maintaining and regaining muscle activity
- Improved blood circulation
- Increased range of motion
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved healing of tissue
- Improved joint function
What are the benefits of Electrical Muscle Stimulation for athletes?
EMS has been shown to be beneficial for athletes, as it can help to increase muscle strength and endurance. In addition, EMS can also help to enhance post-exercise recovery, reducing muscle soreness following workouts. (Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21847574/) It can help build both low-twitch and fast-twitch muscles.
It can be a viable alternative for traditional strength training, as it can help to target specific muscle groups. For example, runners can target calve muscles to improve their stamina, power, and prevent injuries. Swimmers can target shoulder muscles, baseball players can target arm muscles, and so on.
EMS can also be used as a supplement to traditional strength training, as it can help to enhance the effects of strength training.
Additionally, electrical muscle stimulation can help improve blood circulation, which is essential for delivering nutrients and oxygen to muscles. This can help to accelerate the healing process following injuries. (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5385976/)
EMS is a non-invasive, safe, and effective method for improving muscle strength and endurance, as well as helping with post-exercise recovery. It can be used as an alternative or supplement to traditional strength training methods.
If you’re an athlete, or if you are simply looking for a way to improve your muscle strength and endurance, then EMS may be a good option for you. To find out if electrical muscle stimulation might be right for you, contact Continuum Health Centre in Victoria, BC.