Digital TENS Machines - Digital EMS Devices - IFC Devices

TENS Machines and EMS Devices

Electrostimulation is a therapeutic modality during which electrical current spearheads muscular contraction. Electrically provoked muscle contractions are similar to voluntary muscle contractions, such as generated during a physical activity and requires an amount of vested effort to implement.

Electrostimulation mimics voluntary physical muscle contractions, but the muscle contractions do not require efforts as they are generated by the action of electric currents on nerve endings (i.e. TENS type of electrostimulation) or on the muscle motor points located in the skin over the muscles (i.e. EMS – electric muscular stimulation).  

Electrostimulation has therapeutic effects and can be applied for specific therapeutic reasons:

  1. Stimulation of nerves endings with TENS currents for pain relief
  2. Muscle stimulation for strength and performance increase and for muscle rehabilitation

Depending on the therapeutic aim, electrostimulation has many beneficial applications in different areas of therapy:

  • Relief of acute and chronic pain caused by health conditions and trauma (i.e. arthritis, post -surgical pain, pain after injuries, etc.)
  • Muscle rehabilitation (i.e. muscle rehabilitation after stroke, prevention of immobility related muscular atrophy, muscle rehab after injuries, etc.)
  • Sports applications (i.e. augmentation of physical training, performance enhancement, post-training recovery)
  • Beauty applications (i.e. body shaping, muscle toning, etc.)

Electrostimulation exercises muscles without efforts and it should be regarded as an extra treatment rather than a replacement of exercise and physical activities.   

Electrotherapy Devices for Pain Relief are commonly known as TENS Machines. Electrotherapy Devices for Muscle Rehabilitation are referred to as EMS Devices or Electric Stimulators.  

TENS Machines for Pain Relief with Proven TENS Therapy 

Tens machines are electrotherapy devices for pain relief. Tens machines are used for many years successfully by many people to trea​t pain. TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) has been designed to stimulate sensory nerve endings in order to decrease perception of pain. The electric stimulus emitted by a tens machine blocks pain signals that travel from peripheries along the nerves to the central nervous system. Additionally, Tens machine stimulation of the nerve fibres with mild electrical impulses can modify pre-existing sensations and change our perception of discomfort and pain. The electric stimulus emitted by tens machines also stimulates production of endorphins. Endorphins are naturally produced chemical substances that change sensory perception and normalise sympathetic function. Endorphins are commonly known for inducing a feeling of wellness.

Many modern TENS machines combine with EMS to tone, train and rehabilitate muscles. There are also TENS machines capable of delivering non invasive electro-acupuncture therapy. Specially designed TENS machines are appropriately shaped to deliver effective TENS pain relief therapy to specific areas of the body, such as the back or the head.  

TENS does not cure physiological conditions. TENS merely helps to control the perception of pain by stimulating sensory nerve endings, which blocks pain signals and by stimulating endorphin production for more normalised sympathetic function. Stimulation of the nerve fibres with mild electrical impulses can modify pre-existing sensations and change our perception of discomfort and pain. TENS stimulation is characterised by biphasic current and user selectable pulse width and pulse rate. TENS function is often incorporated into electro muscular stimulators (EMS) designed to tone, rehabilitate, regenerate and build up muscle fibres after injuries, after stroke or during physical training. 

Conditions that res​pond to TENS include the following:  Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Post Operative Pain, Post Amputation Pain, Back Pain, Lumbago, Sciatica, Whiplash, Sports Injuries, Neuralgia, Skeletal Pains, Muscle Aches, General Pain, Cancer Pain, Period Pain, Labour Pain, Tension and Travel Sickness, Migraine.

Digital TENS and Analogue TENS

  • Analogue TENS are the conventional older TENS machines.  Analogue TENS do not have display screens and also tend to be larger and bulkier than the modern digital TENS. They feature control knobs that have to be turned to achieve a change in a given parameter, such as intensity. And because there is no display to express the change in digits (numbers), the user can only evaluate the difference, if the sensation of the current felt on the skin changes. However, the analogue TENS use the same parameters as the modern digital TENS and have the same effectiveness. Analogue TENS have been around for a long time and can sometimes be preferred by the older people due to generational familiarity with analogue TENS.
  • Digital TENS are the more modern TENS machines with digital display screens and push-button controls. Everything that the digital TENS does is reflected and shown on the screen. Digital TENS machines are frequently smaller and lighter than their analogue TENS predecessors. Good digital TENS machines should be light and compact with a large digital display screen enabling clear viewing and reading of the parameters, such as intensity, frequency, mode, time, etc. Digital TENS are in general preferred by younger users used to digital controls and display screens.                  

Use of TENS Machines in Childbirth

Array of painful problems that responds well to TENS therapy includes the pain experienced by pregnant women at the time of childbirth. TENS machines have been found to be very effective in providing relief during labour with ever increasing numbers of women choose to use TENS to combat painful sensations felt during childbirth. TENS machines often referred to as Maternity TENS, Obstetric TENS or Babycare TENS are TENS machines especially designed to provide the most effective pain relief during contractions and to aid relaxation. They utilise electric frequencies and pulses found to be the most effective in relieving of childbirth pains. Such TENS machines can be used safely from the onset of labour at home, through to the delivery of your baby.

TENS for use in childbirth use large skin electrodes than the conventional TENS machines. They also feature a boost button that enables the woman in labour to be in charge of her own pain relief as she needs it. Applying TENS at the time of childbirth is simple and mums-to-be find it the process easy, especially that when using obstetric TENS they are truly in charge of their own pain relief during labour. This is how it is done: At the onset of labour, simply apply the four skin electrode pads to your back and turn the TENS machine on. You will feel a pleasant pulsing sensation. Gentle electric impulses stimulate your body to release your own pain relieving chemicals known as endorphins. When you are experiencing a contraction, just press the booster button for the extra surge of power that may be needed to combat the pain. When the contraction subsides, press the booster button again to stop the electric signals. Repeat the same process as you need - it is that easy and simple!

TENS pain relief therapy is most effective during the first stage of labour and helps the mother to remain in control, stay alert and considerably reduce drug intake. It represents an effective way to relieve pain without any side effects to the mother or the baby. TENS machines designed for use during childbirth present an effective alternative to pharmacological drug based analgesia. They are viable alternatives for all mums-to-be, who wish to deliver their babies naturally and as comfortably as possible and without unwanted side effects that can be caused by drugs. Childbirth TENS can be used as stand-alone method of pain relief in childbirth or in conjunction with other pain relief methods, such as gas or air or pethidine, if required.

EMS Therapy

Neuromuscular stimulation is a low volt stimulation of motor nerves. The electrical stimulation causes a muscle or a group of muscles to contract. Repeated contraction and relaxation of muscles has been found effective in a treatment of many musculoskeletal disorders and vascular conditions. Neuromuscular stimulation is routinely used in muscle rehabilitation after injuries or after stroke. During EMS therapy, targeted muscle groups are stimulated with electric stimuli to repeatedly contract and relax thus mimicking exercise and producing exercise-like outcomes. However, because the muscle contractions and relaxations are induced by electrical stimuli, there is no conscious or physical effort needed. The electrically induced exercises are passive and effortless, but in the same way as during natural physical exercise, EMS builds up and strengthens the muscles.   

  1. Low Frequency EMS: A low frequency and longer pulse duration result in purifying and relaxing of the muscle due to longer lasting single contractions. Simultaneously, the stimulation enhances blood flow within the treated muscle, thus increasing deliveries of oxygen and nutrients, whilst removing metabolic waste products more efficiently.
  2. Medium Frequency EMS: Medium frequency stimulation produces high muscle loads due to fast repetition of short contractions. Hence, the medium frequency stimulation aids strengthening and building up of muscles.

EMS with TENS: Electric Muscle Stimulators often incorporate TENS function. TENS (Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation) is used successfully in the treatment and management of acute and chronic pain. During TENS therapy, electric stimuli are applied to the body via adhesive skin electrodes. Electric stimuli delivered by adhesive skin electrodes help to inhibit the intensity of pain as well as prevent the pain signals from reaching the brain. Transcutaneous electric stimulation also enhances body's own production of endogenous pain killing substances (i.e. endorphins) that induce the feeling of wellbeing.

TENS Machines and EMS Devices background

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) with TENS machines does not cure physiological conditions. TENS therapy helps to control the perception of pain by stimulating sensory nerve endings. The stimulation blocks the pain signals from reaching the brain. Conditions that respond well to TENS therapy include those listed below:

Rheumatoid Arthritis / Osteoarthritis / Post Operative Pain / Post Amputation Pain / Back Pain / Lumbago / Sciatica / Whiplash / Sports Injuries / Neuralgia / Skeletal Pains / Muscle Aches / General Pain / Varicose Veins Pain  / Cancer Pain / Period Pain / Labour Pain - Pain Relief for Childbirth / Tension / Travel Sickness

The latest modern TENS machines with digital display screen and control push buttons are referred to as Digital TENS Machines. Digital TENS Machines are highly controllable with the user in charge of most of the stimulation parameters. In addition to pre-set programs that address a vast array of common painful conditions, most of the  Digital TENS can be customised with stimulation parameters tailor-made to the user's individual needs.    

Electric Neuromuscular Stimulation (EMS) is a low volt stimulation of motor nerves. The electrical stimulation causes a muscle or a group of muscles to contract. Repeated contraction and relaxation of muscles has been found effective in a treatment of many musculoskeletal disorders and vascular conditions. Neuromuscular stimulation is routinely used in muscle rehabilitation after injuries or after stroke as well as for maximising or consolidating of sports training and for body shaping and anti aging effects.

Interferential Current 

Interferential Current (IFC) Stimulation Therapy is often called the 'deep TENS'. Interferential therapy stimulation differs from standard TENS and EMS.

Standard TENS and EMS therapies are based on low frequency electrical signals. During standard TENS or EMS therapy low frequency electrical signals (i.e. 2 – 200 pulses/second) enter the surface of the skin below the skin electrodes.

Interferential Current (IFC) Stimulation Therapy is based on interaction between higher frequency electrical signals. Interferential stimulation depends on the interference (i.e. interaction) between 2 medium frequency electrical outputs from 2 different channels that differ in frequency. The current produced by one channel interacts (i.e. interferes) with the current of the other channel. This process leads to ‘interference current’ operating frequency equal to the difference between the 2 interacting currents.

The frequencies used in interferential therapy stimulation are much greater than TENS and EMS currents and therefore the interferential currents are capable of reaching tissues at deeper levels.

 

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