EMS Therapy

What Is EMS Therapy & How It Can Benefit You

Commonly used by physical therapists and chiropractors, electrical muscle stimulation or EMS therapy is used to treat various painful issues such as muscle strains, soft tissue injuries, and fibromyalgia symptoms. It is a painless treatment option that helps accelerate recovery, stimulates the muscles, and relieves many patients of painful or uncomfortable symptoms. 

This popular treatment uses an EMS machine to send mild electrical pulses to the muscle and nerve endings through the skin, encouraging muscle stimulation, accelerating healing, and increasing blood flow. Many patients even claim that it helps relieve their chronic joint and muscle pains while reducing tension and stress. 

While EMS therapy has been a commonly sought-after treatment option for many with joint, muscle, and soft tissue pain issues, it may not be the most appropriate treatment for everyone. Below we will discuss what it is, how it works, and how it can benefit you.

What Is EMS Therapy?

EMS therapy is often used by patients who want to relieve painful symptoms, heal injuries, and rehabilitate strained muscles for increased comfort, mobility, and performance. It uses electrical pulses that target specific areas and cause muscle contractions. By causing repeated muscle contractions it helps improve blood flow and repair injured muscles and soft tissue. 

Frequent EMS therapy sessions can also help improve muscle strength. Repeated cycles of contraction and relaxation, similar to flexing and then relaxing your bicep, help your muscles engage in deep contractions without putting stress on your body or nervous system. 

How Does IT Work?

EMS therapy uses small, sticky pads called electrodes that are placed on the skin. Several electrodes will be placed around the targeted area. Wires from the EMS device are attached to the electrode pads to facilitate transmission of electrical pulses during treatment. 

The electrical pulses will reach the target muscles signaling them to contract. During a session, the muscles will continuously be stimulated through cycles of contraction and relaxation to:

  • Aid in repair by increasing circulation to the tissues at the treatment area
  • Improve strength by flexing and working weakened muscles
  • Slow muscle atrophy by strengthening weakened or unused muscles
  • Train muscle fibers to adapt to certain response patterns

Each session lasts around 5-15 minutes, depending on your treatment plan. During EMS therapy, a staff member will start with a low setting and gradually increase the intensity as needed. Some patients may start on lower settings and increase intensity tolerance with more sessions as they continue their treatment plan. 

EMS therapy is completely painless with virtually no side effects besides possible mild soreness afterward. However, you may feel a tingling or pins and needles sensation around the targeted area during treatment. 

What Does It Treat?

EMS therapy may be the right treatment option for a variety of conditions, including:

  • Chronic back pain
  • Cancer-related pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Joint pain
  • Arthritis
  • Muscle conditioning
  • Muscle injury
  • Nerve inflammation
  • Poor muscle strength
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Stroke recovery
  • Surgery recovery
  • Other chronic pains

The Benefits of EMS Therapy 

EMS therapy provides many benefits for patients seeking pain relief, recovery, or rehabilitation. Some common ways it can benefit you include:

  • Stimulate muscular blood flow: EMS therapy has been shown to stimulate blood flow to muscle tissues when used at lower frequencies. The cycles of contraction and relaxation caused by the electrical impulses make the muscle act as a pump to increase oxygen-rich blood flow to the muscle.
  • Enhance muscle strength: While EMS therapy doesn’t completely replace strength training, it has been shown to increase muscular contraction rates and strength effectively. During rehabilitation, this benefit is also helpful for patients looking to stimulate and reeducate muscle fibers and rebuild strength without the extra stress of external loading typical of weighted strength training.
  • Reduce muscle pain: EMS therapy has been shown to relieve some patients of muscle pain without any other intervention needed. Since it is also a quick, painless, and non-invasive treatment, it’s a great alternative to more extended or uncomfortable treatment options.

The Bottom Line

EMS therapy is a popular pain relief and injury recovery treatment for many reasons. If you think this treatment may be the right option for you, the experienced team at CORR can help you make the appropriate recommendation and create a personalized treatment plan for you. Reach out to CORR to learn more today.